For us the only thing better than talking about how much we love Old Town Toronto is hearing other people talk about how much they love it! After all, OTT has a lot of different things for all types of people, so hearing from folks about what makes the area special to them is always going to be fun.
So this week we decided to get a couple of expert opinions and reached out to some of the city (and the country’s) best and brightest. These are food writers, drinks writers, authors, and historians who all have their own favourite places in Old Town Toronto.
Kelley Keehn, Best-Selling Author of Talk Money to Me and Personal Finance Educator – www.kelleykeehn.com
“Toronto is my home away from home. I absolutely love everything this city has to offer, and there is no shortage of great places to frequent whenever I visit. I cannot wait to be back again! I don’t drink much coffee, but sometimes when I just need a delicious cup of java, Fahrenheit Coffee knows how to make a mean Americano. And after a long day of media interviews, relaxing at Terroni‘s beautiful restaurant over a glass of wine is just what a busy author needs.”
Jordan St. John, Beer Educator & Tour Guide – www.saintjohnswort.ca www.torontourbanadventures.com
“The St. Lawrence Market is always impressive to tourists, but when you explain the context of it, how the city grew up around the Mercantile quarter they designated, people start to understand how integral it was to the city. When you show them the variety of vendors on the bottom level, it helps them understand how diverse Toronto’s population is.
You could drop C’est What anywhere and it would read as a craft beer bar. The fact is that it’s Toronto’s OG craft beer bar. The selection of beer on tap rotates pretty frequently and is always quality. The jambalaya is a 90’s holdover as a menu item, but it survived for a reason. Also, Jeff Buckley played there. What more can you want?”
Bruce Bell, Toronto Historian & Tour Guide – www.brucebelltours.ca
“In the late 1950s and early ’60s upstairs at 105 King Street E. was the art studio to one of the most celebrated painters in Canada, Tom Hodgson. Tom was a founding member of the highly influential group of abstract artists known as the Painters Eleven which included Jack Bush, Alexandra Luke and Harold Town. Dubbed ‘The Pit’ 105 King E was the coolest place to be in the pre-hippy era. In the early 1960s when visiting Toronto, American pop art icon Andy Warhol, would spend time at the Pit.”
The Pit may be gone, but these days you can grab a monster Ceaser next door at Score on King, or enjoy a pleasant stroll at St. James Park across the street.
Suresh Doss, Food Writer – www.sureshdoss.com
“The most charming part of Old Town Toronto, a neighbourhood I called home for over a decade, is its relative sense of serenity. Despite being a stone’s throw from the financial district, you feel a calmness in the air from the moment you walk eastward. Sure, it may not boast the hustle and bustle that other corners of the city can claim, but it remains as one of the most charming quarters. I found respite at George Street Diner‘s counter, as I dug into sun-coloured fried eggs with pieces of soda bread. Or an iced cold latte at Neo would start the day. The full romance of a neighbourhood restaurant on display at the Sicilian Ardo’s. Of course, there’s the St. Lawrence Market, whenever I was in a creative rut I would spend hours wandering the bottom floor, meandering through every aisle. Summer evenings were always spent on the back patio of Betty’s, arguably the best and most chill bar in the city.”
Want to find out what your own favourite Old Town Toronto spot is? Check out our list of businesses that are currently open and plan a day trip!