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West Queen West

You Are Here: 13 West Queen West Spots to Check Out Right Now

QUEEN STREET IS SUPER-COOL FOR PRETTY MUCH ITS ENTIRE LENGTH. WEST OF TRINITY BELLWOODS PARK, THE STRETCH KNOWN AS WEST QUEEN WEST IS PARTICULARLY CROWDED WITH CACHET-ENHANCING CAFÉS, BOUTIQUES, GALLERIES AND RESTAURANTS.

West Queen West Toronto Dandylion Restaurant

Dandylion restaurant, chef Jay Carter’s recent addition to the West Queen West strip (photo: Craig Moy)

1 Partake in chef Jay Carter’s sophisticated, ingredient-focused cooking at his intimate Dandylion restaurant. 1198 Queen St. W., 647-464-9100; restaurantdandylion.com

2 The Theatre Centre is a champion of innovative new works in a historic library. From August 10 to 26 it hosts Monday Nights, a participatory drama slash pick-up basketball game. 1115 Queen St. W., 416-534-9261; theatrecentre.org

3 Chef Vittorio Colacitti’s restaurant, The Good Son, aims to please by drawing together the corners of the culinary world. The ambitiously cosmopolitan carte prioritizes seasonal and local ingredients, but uses them in varied dishes such as jerk shrimp, bulgogi short ribs and a half-dozen wood-fired pizzas. 1096 Queen St. W., 416-551-0589; thegoodsontoronto.com

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Pan Am Games: Neighbourhoods to Explore During Your Downtime

EVEN MULTI-SPORT FANATICS NEED AN OCCASIONAL BREAK FROM THE NEAR-CONSTANT COMPETITION DURING THE PAN AM GAMES’ 17 DAYS. A FEW HOURS SPENT EXPLORING THE HOST CITY’S MYRIAD NEIGHBOURHOODS IS JUST THE TICKET!

Pan-Am-Games-Toronto-Neighbourhoods-West-Queen-West

La Cubana and Fonda Lola are among Toronto’s top Latin American restaurants (photos: Craig Moy)

Although they’re definitely the summer’s main event, the Pan American Games are hardly the only, well, game in town. Get the most out of your visit by setting aside some time—between checking out the basketball tournament, cheering on the triathletes and being wowed by wakeboarders’ stunts—to get to know Toronto’s compelling history, shopping hubs and cosmopolitan restaurant scene through these four downtown neighbourhoods.

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Hot Art: Queen West’s Area for Art

Tony Taylor's Justifying the Means

SEPTEMBER 17 TO 19 The Queen West Art Crawl is back for another year of creativity, as a variety of emerging and established artists display their works at various Queen Street West venues from Bathurst Street to Roncesvalles Avenue. The theme of this year’s event is “intersections”—the unexpected mixing and mingling of art forms. As always, the main event is the outdoor art sale at Trinity Bellwoods Park (Queen Street West and Strachan Avenue), where art hunters can spot such works as Tony Taylor’s Justifying the Means, while related happenings like the Parkdale Prom dance party attract even more admirers of local art and culture.

You Are Here: West Queen West

Balancing a rough-around-the-edges authenticity with a bit of high-end hipsterism, the section of Queen Street west of downtown’s core has long been a hotbed for creative citizens of all stripes. No surprise, then, that it’s also home to many of the city’s top contemporary art galleries.

Click on any map marker for more information on Where’s neighbourhood favourites.
View You Are Here: West Queen West in a larger map

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Weekend Roundup, November 13th to 15th

A colourful cast of characters  arrives in the city this weekend: a magical princess,  a notorious former president—even Santa Claus makes an appearance!

Friday: Marvel at the National Ballet's classic staging of The Sleeping Beauty.

Friday: The National Ballet presents its classic staging of The Sleeping Beauty.

Friday, November 13th
Be enchanted as the National Ballet of Canada brings to life a beloved children’s fairytale in a sumptuous performance of The Sleeping Beauty.

Giggle and guffaw at the silly antics of She Said What, The Understudies and 46 other North American improv troupes participating in the fifth annual SketchFest comedy festival.

Sing along as country crooner Lyle Lovett performs his Grammy-winning hits at Massey Hall, a storied concert venue in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Saturday: Intrigue is everywhere in Stuff Happens.

Saturday: Political intrigue abounds in David Hare's Stuff Happens.

Saturday, November 14th
Spend the afternoon in the Market Kitchen of the historic St. Lawrence Market, where you can taste exclusive wines from local vintners and nosh on delicious nibbles supplied by the building’s vendors—all while listening to live jazz.

Speculate about the behind-the-scenes decision-making of the George W. Bush administration, following the opening-night performance of Stuff Happens, a riveting political drama by David Hare.

Spend an illuminating evening at Yonge-Dundas Square’s holiday lighting event, complete with a pyrotechnic performance by Circus Orange.

Sunday: Santa sleds down University Avenue.

Sunday: Santa and leads his team of reindeer down University Avenue.

Sunday, November 15th
Bundle up and wave to elves, snowmen, reindeer and the big man himself as the 105th annual Santa Claus Parade makes its way through the city.

Take a cue from Toronto’s trendsetters by hunting for vintage treasures and stylish one-of-a-kind pieces along the West Queen West strip. Pick up whimsical fashions from a variety of eras at Vintage 69, Cabaret and other colourful boutiques in this hip ‘hood.

Don’t miss your final chance to see a dazzling array of gems and jewels at the Royal Ontario Museum’s Light and Stone exhibition.

New York Times Spends Time in Toronto

Here at Where Toronto magazine, we’ve dedicated many years exploring this city and reporting back on the best it has to offer. Each member of our seasoned staff has his or her favourites (this editor, for example, is constantly craving chef Martin Kouprie’s cuisine at Pangaea, while a colleague can’t get enough of the timeless treasures at home-and-garden boutique Teatro Verde), but it’s always interesting to get an outside opinion. This past weekend, no less an authority than the New York Times weighed in with its selection of things to see, neighbourhoods to visit and restaurants at which to dine—all part of its regular “36 Hours in…” travel column.

Culinary hot spot Madeline's is among the Toronto restaurants noted by the <i>New York Times</i> (Photo by Neill Sturgess).

Culinary hot spot Madeline's is among the Toronto restaurants noted by the New York Times (Photo by Neill Sturgess).

In particular, the article highlights the über-trendy environs comprising the western portion of downtown Toronto—Queen and King streets west of Spadina Avenue, pointing out Where-approved nosh spots like Madeline’s, Oddfellows and Nyood, plus the contemporary art galleries of West Queen West, the Drake Hotel and more.

All in all it’s a worthwhile read—though it will take much more than a day-and-a-half to experience everything that this city has to offer. Perhaps you should start planning a return visit?