BY CRAIG MOY
The Yorkville stretch of Bloor Street gets much of the press, but farther west, a formerly industry-focused part of the strip is booming, too, thanks to an influx of art galleries, inventive restaurants and more.
1 Lofty design shop Julien Armand specializes in ultra-stylish seating, including pieces by Gispen and Pedrali. Lighting and other accessories are also available, to provide even more inspiration for contemporary space-sprucing. 213 Sterling Rd., 416-534-5665; julienarmand.com.
2 With a name that nods to the area’s industrial roots, Scrap Metal Gallery displays edgy and eclectic artworks collected by owners Samara Walbohm and Joe Shlesinger. The converted warehouse also hosts occasional performance works and other events. 11 Dublin St., 416-588-2442; scrapmetalgallery.com.
3 Canadian artists make up the majority of the exclusive roster at Daniel Faria Gallery. Among them are well-known iconoclast Douglas Coupland and Toronto-based photographer Chris Curreri, recently shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award. 188 St. Helens Ave., 416-538-1880; danielfariagallery.com.
4 Recently decamped from Queen West, the Bloordale iteration of Clint Roenisch Gallery is a bigger space for exhibiting its namesake curator’s favourite conceptual artists. 190 St. Helens Ave., 416-516-8593; clintroenisch.com.
5 Diner-style restaurant and tavern The Whippoorwill is known particularly for its brunch, which features savoury sandwiches like roast chicken with ramps or albacore tuna with celery, pickles and an egg. Boozy cocktails add to the dinnertime and late-night revelry. 1285 Bloor St. W., 416-530-2999; thewhippoorwill.com.
6 Though its name suggests otherwise, Through Being Cool Vegan Baking Co. is definitely on-trend: locals gather in the airy bakery for fresh doughnuts, scones and cookies, plus savoury take-home options like cabbage rolls and mac ‘n’ cheese. 1277 Bloor St. W., 416-998-3321; tbcvegan.com.
7 Artist-run institution Mercer Union has long been a hub for cultural contemplation. Its programming predominantly features Toronto-based artists, and often includes lectures and other events that promote further artistic exchange. 1286 Bloor St. W., 416-536-1519; mercerunion.org.
8 One of Toronto’s more affordable tasting menus is offered at Ortolan: $45 nets your table four to six tastefully plated courses. The regular menu is short and changes often, but the gnocchi is consistently popular. 1211 Bloor St. W., 647-348-4500; littledrunkbird.com.
9 Local watering hole Bar Neon has a laid-back vibe complete with a backyard-style patio. The cocktails are reasonably priced and are complemented by Greek-leaning snacks plus buck-a-shuck oysters from 5 to 7 p.m. 1226 Bloor St. W., 647-748-6366; Twitter page.
10 Homestyle Scandinavian cuisine is the stock in trade at Karelia Kitchen, whose smokehouse turns out the likes of, well, smoked salmon, pork, chicken and more. For a light bite, try a smorrebrod open-faced sandwich. 1194 Bloor St. W., 647-748-1194; kareliakitchen.com.
11 It’s hard to be all things to all people, but Odd Finds General Store pulls off the feat with aplomb—by mixing a discriminating selection of vintage clothes, curiosities and even loose-leaf teas. 1178 Bloor St. W., 416-773-2009; Facebook page.
GET THERE! Like virtually anywhere along Bloor Street, the up-and-coming Bloordale neighbourhood is easily accessed by the TTC’s Bloor-Danforth subway line. Just detrain at Dufferin or Lansdowne stations and explore at your leisure.