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MY TOWN // Leanne Presents Toronto

February 3, 2014

“My Town” is a feature wherein friends and family of Brownswood, from around the world, give us the lowdown on their home town – favourite bars, restaurants, record shops and more. Forget Time Out – this is the only city guide you need.
On This occasion we travel over to Toronto for a wonderfully intricate insight into everything from cake to BadBadNotGood.
 
Leanne is a Canadian artist/designer and dj. She lived in London from 1991-2004 and in that time worked behind the counter of Honest Jon’s Records and on Patrick Forge’s Kiss 100 Radio show. As one half of Wadada she designed the t-shirt line inspired by iconic musicians, as well as record covers and brand identity for luminaries like Talkin’ Loud/Innerzone Orchestra, Bebel Gilberto, People Records / Main Squeeze, 2000 Black, Bugz in the Attic, the mighty Coop Sessions (West London Massive stand up), Charlie Dark’s Blacktonica, Benji B’s deviation and of course, Brownswood Recordings.
TORONTO GUIDEShttp://www.blogto.com is a great resource and http://www.nowtoronto.com also includes gig listings. 
 
CHILL OUT:
For me, chilling out usually involves being outside (there are some great parks in Toronto – High Park, Trinity Bellwoods, Harbourfront, Evergreen Brick Works) or spending real time in a gallery. Some of my favourite galleries in Toronto are: Angell Gallery, Diaz Contemporary, MOCCA, The Power Plant, The Art Gallery of Ontario (check out work by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven – Canada’s brilliant impressionists) and there’s a whole slew of smaller contemporary galleries on Queen St West and Dundas Street West like the Cooper Cole Gallery.
  
RAVE:
There’s a real range of nights in Toronto:
Pressure Drop - a heavy, monthly reggae session at the Magpie
Shindig - a great shake-a-leg at this monthly, vinyl-only soul/r&b party
 
Queen West and Dundas West once again is a hotspot for venues, smaller bars and clubs like The Great Hall/Blk Box, The Hoxton, Wrong Bar, Drake Underground, Bambi’s, The Yukon
 
EAT/DRINK:

Poetry Jazz Cafe , This intimate spot in Kensington Market is a favourite place to go for a ‘pre-drink’ where young, emerging jazz musicians are given an enthusiastic audience to play to.

Great cocktails too (recommended – Bitches Brew).
Another great little spot (923 Dundas West). Fantastic cocktail concoctions and a beautifully curated interior
Toronto is a true multi-cultural city which also means we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to food. I could eat for hours, so here’s a hit-list of some of my favourite spots:
A-okcool,friendly canteen-style, asian mash-up on Queen West
Bent, Lee - for fancy asian, Susar Lee is the don
Fresh - really yummy veggie restaurant – has locations around the city
veggie chinese in kensington
Odd Seoul - great for a late Korean snack, drinks and sometimes dis (Ossington)
416 Snack Bar - a bit of everything (Bathurst St)
Big Crow - for a taste of open-fire Canadiana
Vietnamese: both Pho Tien Thanh and Golden Turtle on Ossington are good for vibe and pho
TEALISH - toasty almond tea!!! (Queen West)
DuffletCAKES! their Belgian Chocolate -ok, pretty much ALL of their cakes are amazing. Three locations around the city to feed your addiction.

 

 

BUY MUSIC:
Cosmos Records - not cheap but worth a flick through Aki’s overflowing selection of jazz, soul, latin, house, hip hop etc
Play De Record - a staple stop on Yonge St
Planet of Sound - also a tad expensive and also sells sleek equipment for audio design geeks (Queen St East)
Kops on Bloor – dusty, old school emporium, huge selection of 7′s
 
SHOP:
There’s a triangle I always walk on Ossington Avenue:

Jonathon and Olivia - a boutique for both the boys and girls (labels like Acne, Isabel Marant, PAM, Surface to Air)

Miss You - nicely curated vintage
Parlour - if you’re in need of a trim, this is one of the friendliest salon’s I’ve ever encountered; and they’re really good too (ask for Jay!)
For The Boys:
Uncle Otis - in swish Yorkville (we used to sell Wadada tees here)
Lost and Found: otherwise known as ‘coffee and clothes’ because they sell coffee and well, clothes (Ossington Ave)

 

For The Girls:
Imelda - 10 points for guessing what kind of shop it is (Roncesvalles Village)
Love of Mine: fantastic bespoke costume jewellery (Queen West)
69 Vintage - Queen West
 
Kicks:

Toronto Only Experiences
Bike culture is big in Toronto. In June, July and August this art/bike crawl sees over 300 people on bikes touring specially curated performances and galleries across the city – one of the bikes even carries a full-on sound systerm.  ().
In the winter, ice skating on outdoor rinks seems like a typically Canadian thing to include. There’s a great outdoor skating trail at Colonel Sam Smith Park that weaves amongst trees and the rink at Harbourfront enlists some great dj’s (like the Footprints crew – General Eclectic, Stuart Li and Jason Palma).  http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/djskatenights/
This international, multi-arts festival takes over Toronto for 10 days in June (June 6-15, 2014).
  
Sum up your town in 3 words?
Friendly? It might be a bit of cliche, but I do think it’s true – we’re generally pretty nice.

 

LOCAL DELICACY: Mmmmaple  Syrup

 

LOCAL TALENT:
Be sure to check output from my good friend Koray Ozel’s label: Istolethesoul Records. He’s always championing quality, emerging Canadian talent.
Leanne Wright: