Words and photos by Jeremy Freed.
Long the neglected sibling to the buzzing scene of next-door Leslieville, Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood has recently emerged as a destination in its own right, with more than its share of unique restaurants, cafés, and shops. Plan your visit around these local landmarks.
Opened in summer 2017 following an extensive renovation, this 126-year-old building is the foremost symbol of Riverside’s newfound destination status. Formerly home to a strip club and low-rent hotel, the new Broadview Hotel boasts 58 boutique hotel rooms, a fine dining restaurant, event spaces, and a lobby café-bar. The jewel in the Broadview’s crown, however, is the rooftop terrace, with panoramic city views and a whimsical menu including boozy shaved ice and house-made marshmallows. Since word is definitely out about this spot, the crowds are in, and reservations are definitely encouraged.
From a glance at this heritage brick building on an industrial stretch of Eastern Avenue, you’d never guess at the treasures within, but behind the modest facade is some of the most beautiful furniture and home decor in the city. Whether you’re in the market for an Oscar Neimeyer rocking chaise or a set of intoxicating Cire Trudon scented candles, fans of luxurious modern design will find something at Avenue Rd. they can’t live without.
Local and handmade are the name of the game at this boutique, whose stock includes unique tote bags, enamelled pins, stationary, clothes, and accessories from a wide variety of indie brands. With over 400 artisans and designers on their roster (and new ones being added regularly), Brika is constantly updating its range of gifts, home accents, and kids’ stuff.
Eastbound Brewing Company
No neighbourhood can truly be considered cool until it has its own craft brewery, and this fully equipped brewpub checks that box for Riverside. Eastbound’s beverage offerings include house-made IPAs, porters, and lagers, as well as wines and ciders from great Ontario producers like Kew, Stratus, and West Ave. Stop in on Sunday nights for beer and oysters, and grab a couple of growlers from their bottle shop to take home.
White Lily Diner
Classic diner fare gets the homemade treatment at this neighbourhood favourite, which proudly makes everything from bacon to bread to preserves in-house. While their turkey club and pastrami Reuben is always popular, the real star at White Lily Diner are the donuts, made fresh every morning, in an ever-changing variety of delicious flavours.
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