My Parkdale Adventure

By: pattihenderson

Jul 22 2010

Category: Weekend Adventures


Focal Length:45mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 7D

Last weekend I hopped on my favorite 501 streetcar and headed west to the opposite end of Toronto to poke around in another eclectic neighborhood called Parkdale. Often described as gentrified or new bohemia, Parkdale is a funky place well worth spending an afternoon.

For the history buffs out there, and you know who you are, Parkdale’s early existence was tied closely to Lake Ontario and the summertime bustle of The Sunnyside Amusement Park. The Park, modeled after Coney Island, opened in 1922 and was home to the famous Sunnyside Flyer roller coaster, the Sunnyside Pool and Pavillion. Time and progress marched on and with the advent of television in the 50’s (that magical invention that tied folks to their living rooms) and the development of the Gardner Expressway soon after, Parkdale was soon cut off from its close tie to the Lake. The area inevitably fell into a decline but like many Toronto neighbourhoods, has experienced a rejuvenation of late, making it a great destination to visit. If you want to learn more about Parkdale’s storied past, please visit the local historical society here.

Today Parkdale is filled with an eclectic mix of antique shops and cafe’s. My photo adventure started in my favourite haunt, Queen West Antiques. Perhaps a better name for this west end gem is The Groovy Shop of Hard to Find Things. The store is filled with such unique items as shiny medicine cabinets, old school lockers, wall maps and old globes, and the odd Eames collectible. The shop owners kindly let me snap away, and you can take a peek at some of their eclectic items in my July Gallery.

My next stop was across the street near the corner of Queen and Roncesvalles, The Black Pug DMK. Shop owner and curator of more groovy finds, Daisuke Ito, again let me snap away at his truly funky mix of shop items, including the classic camera pictured above. Both shops are well worth the visit if you are looking for unique collectible pieces for your home or loft. Thanks to both for the generous welcome!

I ended my Parkdale adventure at an oasis of calm called The Ground Level Cafe. The exposed brick walls of this cafe are lined with bookshelves, and there’s lots of comfortable seating welcoming you to stay and relax over a cup of Joe. It was only later when I was researching this post that I found out about the Ground Level Cafe’s positive pedigree. The cafe is run by The Ground Level Youth Venture, which seeks to employ, train and empower youths with limited education.

I’m learning that in Toronto, there is a good story around every corner! My next adventure? The Beaches Jazz Festival this weekend in my own back yard.  Stay tuned for more snaps!


2 comments on “My Parkdale Adventure”

  1. Sounds like a fun day! You are a fantastic and very descriptive writer Patti. You should write for a travel mag.

  2. Hey, thanks Jen! Although I think I overuse “groovy”…

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