At the start of one of my classes last month, someone said that there were no good places to go in the neighbourhood. We all jumped in and started listing our local favourites. Which got me thinking that we needed a proper list with links. I mostly move around the southwest area of Scarborough and the neighbouring areas of The Beach and The Danforth. I’ll break this down by area to make it easiest for everyone.
I’m also looking for more recommendations so please comment on this post or tag me on social media with your ideas.
Why is it important for us to do this? It is hard being an independent business. They don’t have the buying or advertising power of the big box stores. They can’t discount like an online store – local businesses have pricier store front rents to pay. And they can’t offer you bonus entertainment or travel points. What they can provide is a community focused experience while supporting themselves, their families, and their staff. They will love and dedicate themselves to making the neighbourhood you live in (or live near to) an amazing space to walk around. So by supporting local, you are supporting your community.
Kingston Road Village – Kingston Road between Victoria Park and Main Street
- Collected Joy – my go to place for Canadian made gifts. The owner Sharon Smyl has a passion for beautiful locally made items including some of my favourites like Blondie Apparel, Da lish Cosmetics, and Smash + Tess.
- Courage Foods – homemade goodies to fill our tummies from hot soup to sweet lemon tarts. And they sell Mad Mexican chips and guacamole which makes my daughter ridiculously happy.
- The Sweetest Things carries a variety of goods but I go in for the British chocolate.
- Pegasus Shoppe and The Great Escape Book Store help us work through our 3Rs by providing a place to donate good quality items we don’t need and to purchase already loved items. Need an idea on how to gift pre-loved items? Buy a pot and plant an aloe, like I did for my daughter’s teacher or pick up a scarf to wrap up your presents.
- Ella Minnow can keep my daughter busy for ages looking through the shelves of books. If you have a baby or toddler, then head to Ava’s Appletree.
- If our hunger strikes, I need no excuses to visit No Bull Burgers or Bowl of Karma.
- I’ve just started going to Lawlor Pharmasave (previously Bingham Pharmacy) and the staff are lovely …which is essential when you are grumpy and sick.
- When I’m grumpy and sore, I head to Omega Health and Fitness to see my chiropractor.
- If you are having a party, get yourself prepared at Star Nails, prepare a cheese platter from Art of Cheese, and decorate your table with the help of the Flower Centre.
- I’ve heard good things but haven’t tried: Somun Superstar, Fearless Meat, and The Porch Light.
The Danforth – Danforth Avenue between Woodbine and Carlaw
- Looking for a toy or game for a child and have zero idea what to purchase? Head to Silly Goose Kids and they will offer some amazing suggestions. We have been introduced to some great items – that our daughter has loved – that I probably would have never known about if it wasn’t for them.
- Little Robot Friends is helping fuel our daughter’s interest in coding and technology. She had a terrific time at their November P.A. Day camp, has a “Little Robot” in her stocking so she can code at home, and I’m sure she will be going to more camps in 2020.
- So, after I dropped her off to that November P.A. Day camp, I may have slipped next door to Celina’s Bakery and enjoyed a coffee and treat.
- Slightly north of the Danforth is the community-oriented Old’s Cool General Store. This is one of my favourite stops on summer bike rides – iced americano, ice cream, or a baked treat. No matter the time of year, they have an eclectic selection of small gift items. And they really believe and support their community.
- If I’m looking for a more filling meal, then Pizzeria Libretto will fill my belly with beet salad, pizza with house-made sausage, and tiramisu for dessert.
Cliffcrest/Cliffside – Kingston Road between Fenwood and Danforth
- Did you know that I worked in a used bookstore for five years of my youth? So I’m picky about the locations I support. Genevieve of Cliffside Village Books has made the space welcoming and bright; she supports the local neighbourhood with her writing group and providing space to local artisans (every book needs a bookmark!).
- After I have dropped off a stack of just completed books – and purchased some new to me adventures – I can fill my belly next door at the Victorian Monkey. Our usual orders include Kid’s Sliders, Pot Roast Yorkie, Backyard Burger, Buffalo Chicken Caeser Salad, and Chicken Pot Pie.
- Jannine and John at Jay9 Dance Centre not only provide lessons on various dance styles but provide a community space for children’s musical programming by Music Together in the Village and yoga (aka my class on Friday night!)
- The sustainable living shop Green and Frugal can set you up with earth friendly soaps and the reusable containers for them too. While you are working to becoming more eco-conscious, don’t forget to buy your bulk goods in reusable containers at the local Bulk Barn.
- I recognize that there are multiple chains that have made breakfast their business. But if I want the classic eggs, bacon, and breakfast potatoes, then I drop into Seraphia.
- Instead of breakfast foods, you feel like Indian, Vindaloo has hit the spot for several takeaways. One of these days, I will actually dine in!
- While in this stretch, don’t forget to use the Toronto Public Library, Cliffcrest location. These services are important to our communites!
- To finish out this area of Scarborough, I have to mention my hairdresser Susie of Susie’s Shears. She has taken care of these locks for nearly 25 years!
- Most weeks are not complete without a visit to Montmartre Bakery for pretzels, muffins and danish.
- Sultans of Samosa satisfy the taste buds of vegans and carnivores alike.
- Family night dinner at Jawny Bakers involves burgers, salads, and Maria’s pasta.
- Neighbours eco+amour and Bead Dynasty make me feel good. I purchase the majority of my beading supplies from Maryanne at Bead Dynasty. Her energy makes the place feel welcoming and good. Sarah of eco+amour has this same amazing energy.; she has introduced me to their wonderful shampoo, conditioner, and face lotion.
The Beach or Beaches (depending on who you ask!)
- There are so many restaurants on Queen Street. Our favourites are Green Basil (Chicken Green Curry and Coconut Rice please!) and Green Eggplant … I feel like I need another restaurant that starts with Green.
- If I’m going home, I drop into Bagels on Fire and Rowe Farms.
- I teach at least ten classes a week so I don’t get much opportunity to visit other classes. Beach Pilates is my go-to place, especially for owner Laura-Lynn’s workshops. If you get an opportunity to take her foot-care workshop, do it.
- It is the holiday season as I write this. This afternoon, I will be heading to the Fox Theatre to watch my favourite seasonal movie, White Christmas.
Durham Area (my not so local, local stores)
- Pickering – Look at any birthday summary on my blog and you will find cake, cupcakes or cookies by Tianna of Coco Cake Co. While picking up those goodies, you can fill your bellies with Mayan food from her brothers’ restaurant Chuuk.
- Whitby – After my neighbour hit my car (that’s another story), the insurance company required that our booster seat be replaced. I ended up at the Baby Shack and walked away with a gift for our friend’s baby and the replacement seat. While out that way, the Oakridge 1847 can fill your belly with bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, or a good burger.
- Port Perry – My Great Aunt lives outside of Port Perry so we venture up every 6-8 weeks to see her. While there, my parents like to drop in to Brock’s, Hank’s Pastries, and The Wee Tartan Shop. If you visit in December, make sure you see the community built gingerbread town at the Scugog Library.
- Bowmanville – This isn’t a store front but an online business. I met Natalie of Fledgling Studios through her sister Annya Miller our photographer.
To be 100% clear, these are businesses that I support and spend my hard earned dollars in. I have not been compensated in anyway for this post.
The title picture includes items from these businesses:
- Blue Poncho Scarf by Blondie Apparel, purchased at Collected Joy
- Mountain range mug by Fledgling Studios
- Pin from Lil Robot Friends
- Gift Card from Victorian Monkey
- Antler Display from Pegasus
- Necklace created by me! Items like this can be purchased in my etsy store or contact me for a unique for you creation.