As we rounded the corner at Ossington and College, my friend and I were simply hoping to find a way down to Queen Street to see more urban stuff. However, we were pleasantly surprised by some of the neat little urban gems that can be found on Ossington Street.
Now, Ossington is certainly not famous for any destinations nor is it known as a shopping street or gallery street. But that’s why we take walks. We want to find something new and unique in the city.
We saw mostly residential housing for the first part just south of College Street. There was also a large field and school off to the east side of the street. My friend really liked this little side street. There was something about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t think the photo really captures the “je ne sais quoi” of the scene, but there it is. I will say that the little brick homes are really very Toronto, though. When I first moved to Toronto in 2003, I was definitely not used to the feel of the homes. Everything felt old, cramped, and dirty. However, that same old and cramped feel is what gives Toronto neighbourhoods their unique and authentic feel.
Further down Ossington, we started to come across some shops and restaurants. Some of the shops were in old small industrial buildings while some were in really run down brick buildings – possibly old residences. One such place was a restaurant. The building, apart from the restaurant, looked really run down, but the restaurant was obviously a newer, chic, modern type eatery hiding within the building.
Another place we came across was a strange…er…shop. I’m not sure if it is a shop or gallery. However, I would say it is likely one of the largest collections of abandoned Barbie figures that I have ever seen. The place was closed on this Friday evening, but it looked dark from the outside. I could only see the window displays. And what a display it was of Barbie figures.
I also love some of the (possibly) home made signs on these buildings. One of the doorways had this little sign marking it’s street number for the two adjacent suites in the same building.
A little ways down from the Barbie place, there was another gallery with an interesting cluster of lights and a couple of pig figures in the window. There looked to be a workshop of some kind in the back. Too bad it was well after 6pm at this time. It would have been nice to actually step in these places and explore a little more deeply.
We soon rounded the corner for Queen Street West and headed east back towards Spadina Avenue. We walked through a slightly rougher part of town and I kept my camera in my bag, but I came across a Fred Perry store in what seems like the middle of nowhere in terms of major shopping. Just lot of little independent shops. They had a funky window display of the Fred Perry logo made of Fred Perry shoes.
The clouds were getting pretty ominous by the time we got to the infamous Miss Behavin’ store complete with live dancers in the store windows. It really started pouring when we right in front of the store. We thought we would wait out the rain, but after about 7-10 minutes, it was still pouring. We scurried quickly into a nearby Second Cup with hands above heads and my camera safely stowed away. Being just a little wet wasn’t bad, but we ordered a couple of hot chocolates to counter the rain. Just as we got our hot chocolate in hand and sat down to enjoy it, you could see the sun breaking out again. Timely. We just sat and chatted the next half hour away.
It was a hockey night, so we were eager to watch the game on TV somewhere. So with our hot chocolate warmly filling our tummies, we hopped back onto the streetcar to our next destination – a restaurant with food, beer, and hockey.