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!
Waterfront/Harbourfront: Toronto's Waterfront may be lined with condo towers, but its parks and cultural attractions bring the rest of the city to the lakeshore. Harbourfront Centre is a year-round draw, with arts classes, summertime concerts by the water and a small but picturesque skating rink in winter. Cycling and walking trails get heavy use all year long (stop to catch your breath at Sugar Beach or on the Simcoe WaveDeck). The Waterfront Marathon happens here every year, as do a whole lot of festivals; Tall Ships, Authors, and Hot & Spicy Food, among others. Queen's Quay Terminal offers a variety of restaurants and coffee shops, and the north side of Queen's Quay has more options like sushi and Thai.
Kensington Market: Just try to find a more loyal, involved community of residents than Kensington Market's. Some even say the ghost of Al "King of Kensington" Waxman haunts Baldwin Street on moonlit nights. Narrow streets are packed with vintage shops like Courage my Love and Bungalow, and you'll find Latin American bodegas, clothing wholesalers, army surplus dealers, health-food stores, bakeries, cheese shops, fishmongers ... you get the picture. If you're hungry, check out El Trompo or Seven Lives for tacos, Amadeu's for Portuguese, or Supermarket for tapas and DJ sets. Since the Kensington Market neighbourhood is a National Historic site, development is minimal; housing in the area is pretty much exactly as it was a century ago—mainly blocks of Victorian row houses.