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Where in Toronto: From Roncesvalles to Trinity Bellwoods

Our writer's going to miss the friendly confines of Roncesvalles Avenue

Each week, our intrepid interns reflect on life
and times in the big city.

For some time now there’s been talk of a housing shortage in Toronto, particularly when it comes to rental units, so when my boyfriend and I began our search for a new place, we were spooked. And yet, fortune smiled on us and gave us not only a (light-filled, two-level) space, but the very one that we’d fallen for head over heels. After a great deal of whooping and hugging, we decided to celebrate by walking from our current nabe, Roncesvalles, to our future ‘hood, Queen Street West at Trinity Bellwoods Park.

It was a contemplative stroll. I’d arrived on Roncy a year ago, adamantly resisting its charms. It seemed to me too far from the dynamic bustle of downtown, and at the time construction on the street appeared to be indefinite. But I grew fond of that little strip: the antique shops that I combed to decorate my apartment, the convenience store where I procured (suspiciously effective) Tiger Balm in a moment of need, the Polish grocers whose perogies converted me. Each new domicile accrues memories and this past year has been full of keepers.

As we walked, we started to catalogue the things we’d miss. High on our lists were the fresh produce markets, The Sister, and, for me, having a high concentration of new foodie-approved restaurants at our doorstep. Of course, restaurants such as Keriwa Café, Maialino Enoteca, and the yet-untried Hopgood’s Foodliner are worth the trek from any part of town, but it’ll be hard to replace the Easy’s take-out brunch delicacies, or having the mouth-wateringly soft crust of Pizzeria Defina’s pies within walking distance.

It'll no longer be so easy to dine at the latest Roncy restaurants, but The County General will be just steps away.

We’ll also be trading the sprawling greenery of High Park—with its springtime cherry blossoms and quaint little zoo—for the fitness offerings and hipster-watching of Trinity Bellwoods; Cherry Bomb’s incomparable date and pecan scones will be swapped for what many have alleged are the city’s best croissants (at Clafouti) and macarons (at Nadège Patisserie). It’s not fair, insists a little voice inside me, that I only just discovered Capital’s espresso. And The Mascot, with your whimsical decor and baroque rocking horse, I hardly knew ye! (Though I suppose you’ll not be so far away.) My boyfriend became very somber-faced as he outlined his pre-move bucket list, including a beer at Parkdale’s, Sun Fa, where the patrons seem permanently on the verge of a brawl, and which, I’ve been led to understand, is a chest-thumping rite of passage.

We’d fallen silent by the time we reached our Queen West dinner destination, The County General. Walking further east the streetside real estate had clearly morphed from the old familiar mom-and-pop shops into much higher-end (though still locally owned) clothing boutiques and galleries. Where were the strollers, or the bespectacled and bescarved Polish grandmothers? But good food can eclipse all sadness; after a celeriac-dressed oxtail taco we were grinning again. There’s a lot to look forward to, we agreed, and the fun we’ve had on Roncesvalles will become all the sweeter in memory.

—Alexandra Grigorescu

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