contributing blog from S. Smith
I grew up in Parkdale in the 1990’s, back when Parkdale was considered a rougher part of the city. When I moved back to the area as an adult, it was clear that things were changing. Gentrification was in full force! With a new Shoppers Drug Mart, and hipster coffee shops popping up on every other corner, this was starting to feel like a different Parkdale than I remembered.
Today, Parkdale is home to some of the hippest restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques in the city. The Queen Street West strip, running from Dufferin to Roncesvalles, has too many neat places to mention in one blog post! So I’ll stick to places that I have found particularly useful since I became a new mom 8 months ago.
About a 3 minute walk from where I live is This Little Piggy , a children’s boutique that carries tons of great baby gear, toys, and clothes. Great for a quick pick up of diaper rash cream, or for a funky baby shower gift, this is a place where you’re sure to find what you need, and make new mom friends.
The Toronto Public Library – Parkdale Branch is always hopping, with a diverse group of Parkdale residents occupying the space for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s to take part in a library program, get assistance and information from the Parkdale Community Information Centre (housed inside the library), or to seek some refuge from extreme cold or extreme heat, this library location is well used. Oh, and did I mention you can borrow books from them too?!
If you’re looking for a great scoop of icecream, Boreal Gelato is the place to be. They serve amazing flavours of gelato, as well as great food, and you might even run into various mommy groups meeting up there, thanks to the awesome owners allowing them to use the space! I recently attended a babywearing meet up there where I met a great group of parents who share my love of babywearing.
Creating Together is another spot where you’ll find parents and caregivers hanging out and enjoying each other`s company. As a not for profit, the drop-in’s goal is to share information with parents and provide an informal atmosphere for children to ages 0-6 years old to play in. They also provide other valuable services, such as information workshops, parent relief hours, and a resource lending library.
If you’re looking for a great restaurant, you’ll find plenty to choose from in Parkdale. Whether you’re looking for Indian, Tibetan, West Indian, Thai, or just a basic burger, the Queen Street strip has you covered. We love going to Om, a restaurant that serves delicious Tibetan and Indian cuisine, and also has great prices, great service, and a great patio. If you`re looking for sweet treats on the run, Kitten and the Bear have amazing scones (and sit down tea if you`re feeling fancy), and Glory Hole serves some of the best gourmet donuts in the city.
Feel like relaxing and soaking up the sun? Plant yourself on a blanket or bench in Sorauren Park. You might meet some new people, come across groups of people working on fitness together (I just joined a Mommy Fitness group that will be working out there), or if it`s a Monday, you can shop at the Sorauren Farmer`s Market!
What are your favorite spots to visit in Parkdale?