Stroll down the street and encounter the hottest trends side by side with vintage finds in Bayview village
There are a couple of bayview villages in the city. above the 401, where Bayview and Sheppard meet, one of the city's swankiest plazas bears that name. We're all up for breaking from the style section's usual south-of-Bloor shopping habit, but we're not heading that far north this Toronto Living. We're Metropass- dependent, and the weather is still nice enough for an outside-the-mall stroll.
This Bayview village (officially called South Bayview on its cobalt-blue street signage and part of Leaside's north Toronto territory) is a quick zip through the wilderness of the Don Valley up the Bayview Extension from downtown (or an almost equally fast 11 Bayview bus ride from Davisville station). And while there's no food court or acres of parking on Bayview between Millwood and Eglinton, the boutiques and restaurants are dense enough to match those of its namesake mall a few kilometres north.
The mall analogy ends there, though, because this area's businesses are a closely knit group of independent neighbourhood boutiques. There are a few chain addresses like Neoset furniture (1643 Bayview, 416-932-0440), Write Impressions stationery (1515 Bayview, 416-322-5834) and Cobs Bread (1539 Bayview, 416-322-0521).
Shop for fresh fruits and veggies at one of the markets.
And the nabe has the most rambunctious Starbucks (1545 Bayview, 416-322-5519) we've ever visited, where a gaggle of toddlers catch up on preschool gossip over child-sized hot chocolates. Otherwise, it's older mom-and-pop shops and new stops tailored to Bayview's homey taste.
Homefront (1579 Bayview, 416-485-2305) gift and accessory stores (its second location is on Eglinton in Forest Hill) create a cozy look for kitchens, bathrooms and tabletops. Ambitious holiday entertainers shop shelves of glassware and crockery that tend toward the contemporary side of comfy decor. Stacks of rubber doormats can handle an unending flow of seasonal drop-ins.
Photo By Ethan Eisenberg
2-5. Find cool clothes and accoutrements at Cornflower Blue.
Also on the gift front is Whatever Lola Wants (1625 Bayview, 647-350-1833), which already earned our Store Of The Week treatment this fall with its mix of jewellery, handbags and other fashion-fan-friendly present picks. Owner Rhonda Fruitman and manager Kathleen Wilkinson are among the neighbourhood's newest arrivals and have instantly earned a loyal shopper following with their sassy manner and impulse-shopping-friendly merch. Monster Factory plush characters and bins of rolled-up flannel pyjamas are no-brainer buys.
On the furniture front, South Bayview's strength is in the antique department, and its must-stop shop is Inquisitive (1646 Bayview, 416-481-8819). The double-wide store has the same treasure trove feel of rural roadside antique malls and almost as much stuff. Intricately carved wooden tables are topped with collections of vintage globes and brass telescopes. There are fine silver tea services, retro metal patio gliders and multiple wall sconces and coat racks.
Across the road, Pagnello's Antiques (1635 Bayview, 416-488-8080) is a smaller but equally well stocked space, while the Country Store (1657 Bayview, 416-322-8883) focuses on the barnboard table and whitewashed hutch look. For the holidays, the window's a gallery of festive wreaths and those hutches are loaded up with gold and silver ornaments for a gilt-filled season.
Tam Nguyen creates bright bouquets at the Flower Nook.
East York's homes must be blooming, because these few blocks of Bayview are full of florist shops. Flower Plus (1709 Bayview, 416-485-1167), Van Nes Flowers (1622 Bayview, 416-481-1641), Horticultural Design (1610 Bayview, 416-488-7716) and the Flower Nook (1524 Bayview, 416-482-8200) are all arranged with bold stems and lush greens.
If your taste in literature gravitates toward the mystery genre, the Sleuth of Baker Street (1600 Bayview, 416-483-3111) will be your favourite find. Behind a ye olde facade, climb the rolling library ladders to browse stacks of oak shelving packed tightly with "crime novels, detective fiction, Sherlockiana, spy and thriller novels." After their hot chocolates, the neighbourhood's kiddie klatsch head north to the Flying Dragon Bookshop (1721 Bayview, 416-481-7721) for a flip through fantasy picture books.
Photo By Ethan Eisenberg
Sally serves up the best at Jake's Specialty Sandwiches.
The last thing left to do is grab a bite to eat. Your can down Duff's Famous Wings (1604 Bayview, 416-544-0100) dipped in Armageddon sauce or grab rice and noodles at Fine Asian Bowl (1634 Bayview, 416-481-4900), Lemongrass (1630 Bayview, 416-322-8202) or Riz (1677 Bayview, 416-487-8388). There are gourmet sandwiches galore at Jake's (1581 Bayview, 416-483-0107), hearty pumpkin loaves at Happy Grain Organic Bakery (1517 Bayview, 416-485-2253) or plump peanut butter cookies at Epi Breads (1526 Bayview, 416-488-1952).
Photo By Ethan Eisenberg
1-3 . Owner Marian Misters (top, middle) has many mysteries at the Sleuth of Baker Street. 4-7. Check out the Roadshow-worthy items at Pagnello's Antiques.
If you're a cook-it-yourself type, load up on utensils at the Academy of Culinary Arts (1703 Bayview, 416-486-1859) and raw ingredients at meat mecca Cumbrae's (1636 Bayview, 416-485-5620) and the new northern outpost for St. Lawrence Market favourite Alex Farm Products (1578 Bayview, 416-322-0368).
And there's always Hollywood Gelato (1640 Bayview, 416-544-9829), with enough best-in-the-city endorsements printed on it storefront to suggest it's worth the trip to Bayview alone.