This week we’re featuring the Annex. We attempted to start out in Yorkville, but my how it has changed. It’s funny to think it was once the ‘hippy’ area of Toronto…oh how it has fallen, or risen I guess depending on your view point. Regardless, Yorkville is always an interesting place to look around. There, at the back of a cute Italian coffee shop, we watched the end of a disappointing soccer game, where Brazil was eliminated from the World Cup.
Drowning our sorrows by bike, we headed over to the Annex starting just West of Spadina at Grassroots. Grassroots is a little gem of a store and a great place to check out. Not only is it focused on environmentally friendly products-from cleaning supplies, body products, bedding, clothing and more, they are also committed to searching out local Toronto and Canadian products. This bed featured here was made entirely in Ontario!
The manager of this location is incredibly friendly, helpful and well informed. She informed us that not only can you bring in your old bottles of cleaning supplies to refill with environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, but they will soon be selling refillable environmentally and people friendly shampoos and conditioners! AND the line is Canadian. This was music to my ears as I have been searching for refillable shampoos and conditioners for awhile now!
After leaving Grassroots, we headed just down the street to a little store called the Outer Layer. Not everything in this store is local or environmentally/people friendly, but there are some pretty fantastic brands here. These water bottles pictured tell the story of how many plastic water bottles are purchased in the US each year, and how they end up filling the landfills. The Outer Layer also showcases a line of organic bath and body products. For those of you looking for jewellery, they have many nice lines. My favourite is the BIDO line which is made in Toronto!
Just south of Bloor we visited Trove, a little clothing and shoe store. There we found a few treasures and splashes of Canadian design amongst the rest. Our favourite-the Yoga brand jeans made in Montreal and fairly reasonably priced at $110.
We finished off our Annex tour in Mirvish village on Markham St just one block west of Bathurst and South of Bloor. Markham street is one of my favourite streets in Toronto. At one point Ed Mirvish had applied to tear down the old Victorian homes to create a parking lot for Honest Eds. When he was refused, at the urging of his wife, Anne, he rented the buildings out cheaply to artists, artisans and book dealers in order to help keep the art scene alive in Toronto. While we suggest you enter Honest Eds just to experience the craziness that it is, you probably won’t find too many ethical products inside. I do, however, recommend you go to the Wine Rack attached to the building which does supply a few Ontario wines, we suggest the STRUT line:)
Markham St is full of cute vintage clothing and furniture stores, galleries, restaurants and local design. Our favourite place, all be it biased as they were in our fashion show, would have to be the Coal Miner’s Daughter. This store features an array of local Toronto and Quebec designers, showcasing both clothing and jewellery. The women who run the store are exceptionally friendly and helpful. The best part is that they design some of the clothing and the jewellery in the store! I couldn’t choose a favourite in this store, but every time we have gone in someone we are with has left with something they love!
Next time you are meandering around the Annex be sure to check out
Clothing and Accessories
Grassroots: 408 Bloor St West http://www.grassrootsstore.com/
Outer Layer: 430 Bloor St West http://www.outerlayer.com/
Trove: 791 Bathurst St http://www.trove.ca/Welcome_to_TROVE.html
Coal Miner’s Daughter: 587 Markham St http://www.coalminersdaughter.ca/
For organic groceries and a vegan food bar: Noah’s: 322 Bloor St West http://www.noahsnaturalfoods.ca
For delicious Vegan Food: Live Organic Food Bar: 264 Dupont St. http://www.livefoodbar.com/
Perfect Pizza, using local organic whenever possible (they even give you an apple with your bill) Magic Oven: 270 Dupont St. http://www.magicoven.com/
Amazing Coffee and Decadent Snacks (and Wine Nights starting at 5pm Wed-Sat) Ezra’s Pound: 238 Dupont St http://www.ezraspound.com/