There’s no shortage of up-and-coming neighbourhoods in the Toronto’s west end, but Bloordale Village is one that truly stands out. Slow but steady development in the area has recently given way to a surge of trendy yet low-key restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries. Put simply: this west Toronto community has never been livelier. While its desirable location and easy accessibility through transit have helped put Bloordale Village on the map, the area has also managed to retain much of its undiscovered charm.
If you’re thinking of moving to Bloordale, here are a few things you should know about the neighbourhood…
1) It’s becoming a foodie haven
Bloordale Village boasts a number of must-try restaurants. Burdock is one of my favourites. Known to many as a brewery, bottle shop, and music venue, this cozy spot on Bloor also serves up creative bar food (like pickled mushroom and rarebit nachos). Nearby, Seoul Shakers also specializes in inventive snacks—this time with a Korean and South American twist. This moody space, which features a distinctive cantina feel, also offers some pretty impressive cocktails. If Italian is more your thing, you’re in luck. There’s a friendly little joint in the neighbourhood that serves up pitch-perfect Italian American staples. Head to Sugo for veal parm, spaghetti, or stuffed peppers (of course, the red sauce is to die for). Last but not least, try the Emerson for hearty comfort food in a hip, family-friendly environment (think pork tenderloin and bicycles as decor).
2) It’s home to an innovative space for artists
Many residents living in Bloordale Village aren’t aware that they’re living near a mainstay on the Toronto art scene. Mercer Union, described as “a non-profit, artist-centred space,” was founded in downtown Toronto in 1979. The organization moved to Bloordale in 2008, where it now holds exhibitions, talks, workshops, and other events. Most importantly, it provides a supportive environment for innovative Canadian and international artists. If you’re new to Bloordale Village—and a fan of contemporary art—I highly recommend checking out Mercer Union’s bright, clean gallery space. Other must-visit spots for art lovers in the area include Scrap Metal Gallery and Daniel Faria Gallery.
3) It’s a hotspot for antiques, oddities, and rare finds
The shops in Bloordale Village are treasure troves of antiques, vintage clothing items, and curious objects. First up, there’s the iconic Monkey’s Paw—a bookshop that sells a wide (and fascinating) selection of old and rare books. The store is also home to the biblio-mat, a coin-operated machine that distributes old paperbacks.
If you’re more of an audiophile, you’ll want to check out Dupe Shop. This little store offers dubbing services, as well as a selection of cassette tapes and records. Bands who use the services at Dupe Shop receive shelf space there, so you’re bound to find something interesting. Lastly: for all things vintage, check out Ransack the Universe and Odd Finds General Store. Between the two of them, these shops provide a massive selection of antique decor, clothing, jewellery, records, and knick knacks.
Along with Bloordale’s more eccentric stores, you’ll find an assortment of other boutiques. My personal favourites are Zebuu (which sells a carefully-curated collection of global home decor) and TOWN (where you’ll find an eclectic mix of cards, gift wrap, and paper products).
4) It’s great for bar hoppers
Along Bloor Street, you’ll find a lively little collection of bars that are definitely worth exploring. One of the best things about these watering holes is their close proximity to one another (which means you can move comfortably from one to the next, even in the dead of winter).
Bar Neon is one of the local go-to’s for a drink, and it’s easy to see why. This cozy spot is known as much for its oysters, tapas, and low-key atmosphere as it is for its cocktails (which are great, by the way). A short jaunt away, you’ll find the 3 Speed. This hole in the wall is a favourite for local beer lovers, who enjoy sipping their pints under strings of twinkle lights. Pro tip: the chicken with mac n’ cheese is a 3 Speed specialty, so do try it if you’re feeling peckish. Grey Tiger is another hotspot in the area. A homey cafe by day, this little space transforms into an intimate bar that serves drinks and vegan snacks at night.
5) It’s easily accessible by transit
It may not be the most exciting point on this list, but it’s definitely worth mentioning: getting around the city from Bloordale is a breeze. The neighbourhood’s main drag is conveniently located between two major subway stations on the Bloor-Danforth line—Lansdowne and Dufferin. The area is also served by the 29 Dufferin bus, which runs 24 hours a day. If you’re a new or prospective resident of Bloordale Village, you can rest assured that getting where you need to go will always be convenient.
Still looking for your perfect house or condo to buy in Bloordale Village or want to learn more about living here? You can check out recent listings in the neighbourhood here. If you have any questions about the area, feel free to get in touch!