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!
St. Lawrence Market: Voted the world's best food market by National Geographic magazine, St. Lawrence Market itself is a dizzy-making mix of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, Portuguese sandwiches and peameal-bacon sandwiches and hot Italian sandwiches. Its namesake neighbourhood, meanwhile, is a mix of historic architecture, mixed market-rate/social housing, and new condo construction like the Berczy. Locals can catch a flick at the Rainbow Cinema, take visiting aunties to the jazz brunch at the Hot House, or peoplewatch on one of the many sidewalk patios. Bay Street suits converge on tiny Colborne Lane, home of long-standing pub P.J. O'Brien's and expense-account lunch spot Tom Jones Steak House (as well as newcomer Woods). Further south, Front Street brewpub C'est What has been serving up pints below street level since 1988.
Junction: The Junction was once a working-class, rough-and-rowdy corner of Toronto--so rough, in fact, that in 1904 the sale of alcohol was banned outright to try to keep the fighting down. It also kept out a lot of potential businesses and homebuyers, and when the ban was overturned in 2000 the area began to draw in both. Now, Dundas Street is lined with thriving design stores like Smash and Mjölk, boutiques like Black Daffodil, the Junction Flea and, yes, bars (board-game/pinball lounge/live-music joint 3030 will feed multiple vices). Developers are taking advantage of still-low land prices, putting up smaller-scale condos like DUKE (guys, your caps lock is on).