The Curbed Cup, our award to the Toronto neighbourhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 'hoods vying for the prestigious fake trophy. This week we'll have two matchups per day, and all the results and the full tourney bracket will be reviewed shortly. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!
Yorkville: Once home to coffee-swilling beatniks who strummed guitars and argued about Nietzsche, Yorkville now draws chai-sipping shoppers who juggle white iPhones and argue about where to park the Lambo. TIFF may have moved the bulk of its activity further south to King Street West, but there are still enough celebrity sightings here during Festival Week to draw lots of crowds, who stroll slowly alongside the Hazelton Hotel's terrace like smartphone-wielding zombies (subtle, guys!). Yorkville diners can choose from old standbys like Sassafraz and le Trou Normand, or newcomers like Dyne with its Spanish/Asian fusion. If coffee's all you're after, there's the new Nespresso boutique that took over the Cumberland Cinema's spot (that wailing you hear is from anguished cinephiles). Galleries and boutiques are plentiful here; Craft and Guile opened this year and its well-curated mix of obscure labels and high-end consignment goodies is drawing in Toronto's chicest on the lookout for Line & Dot or Louboutin.
The Beach: The easternmost end of Queen Street is where you'll find blocks and blocks of quaint shops selling suncatchers and devilsticks, health food, and running gear. The long-running Beaches Jazz Festival is here, with events running in beautiful Kew Gardens and Woodbine Park. 2013 saw some interesting openings like the acclaimed Mexican newcomer Xola, and Bagels on Fire, said to be the best place in the city for authentic Montreal-style bagels. There are plenty of pubs catering to beachgoing day-trippers, but lots of family-style restaurants to park your Bugaboo outside too. But the area's not without its share of neighbourly friction; vegan bakery Tori's Bakeshop's license application to become a biodynamic wine bar at night was strongly opposed by a neighbour across the street (the application was approved). There was also pushback from longtimers against the Lakehouse Beach Residences, a 28-unit midrise condo development at Queen and Kenilworth, formerly the site of the Lick's Homeburgers flagship. The developers won, and demolition of the old Lick's building began in November.
· Curbed Cup 2013 Archives [Curbed Toronto]