I used to call my area “No Man’s Land” when describing its location to friends. Situated between bustling Dundas Square and charming Leslieville, it has homeless shelters, addiction clinics and a somewhat sketchy park – not exactly an inviting destination.
But that seems to be changing. With the construction of towering new condos, hundreds of people will be moving into the neighbourhood, and with that, new amenities to cater to them.
It’s a beautiful, 15º February day and the perfect opportunity to see what’s already come to the area, with my friend and neighbour, Alex.
Our first destination was Sumach Espresso, a fairly new coffee shop in a former run-down convenience store. The staff was friendly, our coffees were delicious and I was very happy with my peameal bacon breakfast sandwich. And unlike other cafés in the city, the patrons weren’t all creative types on their laptops, providing a glimpse into the diversity of this new community’s residents. With its sliding garage door, it’ll be a great place to grab an iced coffee in the summer.
Our next destination was Second Voyage, a new boutique with vintage housewares and clothing, as well as new and handcrafted items. The owner, Kyle Burton, clearly takes pride in his work as the store is filled with a well-curated collection of pieces, from his handmade live edge tables to fully-functioning typewriters, Edison bulb fixtures and vintage crystal barware – all at very reasonable prices.
While our adventure could have continued to Acadia Books, a cozy bookstore with a great collection of art prints, and Leaves of Trees, a natural skincare brand that’s made right in the shop, both are closed on Sundays.
From now on, I think I’ll remove “No Man’s Land” from my description of my area. It already has enough to merit a visit and with even more residential developments in the works, I’m excited for what else is to come.
Have you visited Moss Park and Regent Park? What are your favourite spots in the area?