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Tell me about Queen Street West in Toronto

Tell me about Queen Street West in Toronto

Jun 29th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,523
Tell me about Queen Street West in Toronto

I live near Toronto and am having company for a week. I have lived here all my life and have entertained many visitors. I know all the touristy spots and love them all.

But I'm really baffled about why every one is so keyed up about Queen Street West. I must admit, I haven't been there for a few years, only qickly passing through. BUt what am I missing?
I seem to remember there werwe some quirky clothing shops, suitable for people on the fringe, but as a young at heart senior, I'd like to know if it's the place to take another young at heart senior.
What is the attracion down that end of town?

The Distillery District sounds like a great area. What about it?
kodi is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 09:42 PM
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Hi, Kodi - I can tell you a bit. I lived in Toronto until last September and worked some of the time at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre which is in the Queen Street West area.

I wouldn't suggest that as a tourist destination for anybody over 35, quite frankly. Yes, there are some shops that are much as you describe. In the area where QSMHC is, there are a lot of galleries with truly interesting work, and a couple of excellent restaurants. Further east, in the Queen/Spadina area, is the quirky clothes-shopping stuff. I think what's attracting interest these days is that the neighbourhood around the hospital (Queen/Ossington) used to be horrible and it's gradually being gentrified. It's artsy and a lot nicer than it was. However, I'm not so sure that a "young-at-heart senior" would like it much.

The Distillery District is very pleasant to walk through on a nice weekend afternoon. The merchandise for sale is very, very pricy but nice to browse through, and there are some restaurants where you can enjoy a nice, not-too-desperately-upscale lunch. There are people strolling around playing music and selling various things. Sometimes there are events of various kinds. I'd choose that over Queen Street any time, quite frankly.

Or, you could do what we did and move to Victoria!
Meesthare is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 05:15 AM
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I'm not a senior, almost one though, and I still enjoy a long walk on Queen West right from Spadina over to Dufferin - a friend in the same age bracket and I spent an afternoon last summer starting at Spadina and ending at Dufferin, on foot, poking into every shop that caught our fancy - there are several good furniture shops, fabric stores, lots of shops with "stuff" you don't need but like anyway, clothing, restaurants, bars (have a drink at the Horseshoe), the Drake and the Gladstone are worth stopping at - the Gladstone's restaurant and bar always seem to be busy. It's pleasant to not window shop or stroll in a place where there are very few of the big chain stores.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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Meant to mention the Distillery - it's a super place to look around - lots of art galleries including an incredible glass gallery (with prices that make you gasp), restaurants and a good place for coffee - we sometimes walk over after work just to enjoy it.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 05:49 AM
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Queen Street West, as defined by people who know these things, in the orurist senses, does not include the loonie bin area.

Originally -- past 20 years -- it's been the stretch of Queen Street West from University AVenue over to Spadiona, and perhaps a block past.

More recently, rising rents in theis area have inspired retailers to also set up shop over to BAthurst, and, as mentioned above, even closer to Dufferin.

Theoriginal principal attraction was the mix of, usualy, owner-ioperated fashion and lifestyle retailers mixed in with industrial and commercial, and garmet industry, retailers.

Over the yeras, name-brand retailers moved in, especially between John and Spadina. Guess. Gap, Club Monaco, Mac Cosmetics, and more of the old commercial retailers moved out, or revampoed. Active Surplus is now only on the second floor of its building.

But you can still buy an industriual grade chop saw between Duncan and Simcoe, if you want one.

Noew, howev er, west of Spadina looks like east of Spadiona looked a decade ago.

West of Spadina is still the best place for fabrics in Canada, and you can buy an industrial sewing machine, or a consumer sewing machine from a VERY knowledgable sewing machine retailer. There are used book stores --either dumpy places with old stuff no one elese wanted or fascinating teasure troves of words to entertain, educate and expire. Depends on your brain.

The houseproud, especially Americans, love, Caban, a two-storey retailer of desinger house products, at all prices. Queen West at Beverley.

There arer a couple of good new books stores, some excellent magazine stores, and good low-medium priced restaurants.

A good walk has you starting at the City Hall parking garage, west on Queen past the new opera house, Campbell House, lots of stores, over to Spadina and then a couple more blocks. Retrace your steps to Spadina and go up (north) on Spadina to Chinatown and Kensington Market, back down to Dundas, east on Dundas past the Art Gallery of Ontario (under construction) and back over to City Hall.

A lot more intereting than The Distillery District, but not as fancy. The Distillery District is home of the Sandra Ainsley Gallery, which I think is the best combo of art (all glass-based) and architecture I've ever seen.


BAK is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Oh , guys as usual you are great at coming through with information. Meesthare, you pretty well confirmed what I thought.
Haha, I'd love to come to Victoria!! Ot sounds like you are enjoying it.

Sally and Brian, thanks , too, for the info. It really is just about what I expected.... but didn't know if I was missing something. I'm originally an east end gal, so this area doesn't seem to me to be the area of the city I want to show off.
I'll stick to what I know best.
I much prefer to show off Bloor and Avenue Road, Yorkville area, even if I can't afford to shop there.

I used to like walking along Front Street east from Yonge to St Lawrence Market.....but not sure if it's changed.

I think Yonge Street is still hopeless.

Brian, I haven't been to Kensington Market for years, so may do your walk.

We may even go along the Danforth one day. Good idea? or no? Or up to Yonge and Eglington area?

YOu can tell I am WAY out in Burlington now.... and I'll be a tourist myself!
kodi is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 05:20 PM
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I don't really have much to add accept that last year I took my "Vermont countyside born and bred" nephew to Toronto for the day last summer. He loved Toronto, but got his biggest kick out of the couple walking down the street (QSW) in black leather.

The female was walking the male, who had a dog collar around his neck! I thought it was hysterical.

I personally think it's the people watching that makes it a fun place for locals and visitors!
BuffaloGirl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 08:10 PM
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BuffaloGirl, that is too funny. It makes me realize it definately would be a good area to go to people watch, but not to show off Toronto!! I'll skip it.

I know you come to Toronto occasionally. Unfortunately Lord of the Rings will be closing. I really enjoyed it and had not seen , or been interested, in the movies. I'm sorry it's closing.
kodi is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2006, 12:00 PM
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Here's a good website that focuses on Toronto neighborhoods:

GeoNit is offline  
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