Monday, December 27, 2010

Neighbourhoods of Toronto


I moved to Toronto in 1997 and have since lived in 9 different neighbourhoods.  Below I have listed them in order of preference..
By the way, this is me.

1. Parkdale
2.  Kensington Market
3.  Roncesvalles Village
4.  South Annex
5.  Little Portugal
6.  St. Clair / Bathurst
7.  Bloor West Village
8.  York University
9.  Sheppard / Bathurst

Parkdale, my current neighbourhood, wasn't always at the top of the list.  Years ago when I was looking for an apartment I remember seeing a reasonable place around King and Jameson but then a friend of mine talked me out of moving there saying that Parkdale was an awful and dangerous place to live.

We wound up moving to Bloor West Village instead.  Wow, big mistake.  I hate that 'hood.

I guess I learned very quickly not to judge a neighbourhood by its repuation and definitely not by its cover.  I LOVE Parkdale.  I love everything about it.  Even the things that drive me crazy about it, I love.  I love it so much that I want to get to know it better in some meaningful way.
Meet the Bald Racoon of Parkdale.  Our mascot!

Unlike Kensington Market, where you get to know around 50% of the residents by your third month there, meeting people in Parkdale has become a bit harder than before.  Maybe it's because I'm two steps into my 30s and making friends seems to get harder as you grow older...or maybe Parkdalians aren't as friendly and community oriented as the Kensington folk.  Regardless, I felt like I had barely scratched its surface.

One day, as I was walking around Queen West with my fiance Jessica, I suddenly noticed how many restaurants that I, well, never noticed before.  Perhaps I fear the unfamiliar but it was really amazing how many restaurants existed in my neighbourhood where it would just never occur to me give them a try.  Little hole in the wall places.  Places without an English version of the menu.  Places with barely a sign indicating that it was, in fact, a restaurant.  Hmmmm....

This got me thinking about that incredibly overrated photography series by Ed Ruscha named "Every Building on the Sunset Strip" (btw, I work as a commercial photographer and I have a photo-based art practice).  It's a pretty brilliant conceptual piece but really hasn't aged well and also says basically nothing about the Sunset Strip (although I don't think that was Ruscha's intention).  So, in light of that, how else can one get a better, ahem, taste of the place you live (you're allowed to groan). 


I will spend a year and go to every single restaurant in Parkdale!


Ok.  So Jess, my fiance, wants me to say the real reason  I wanted to do this project.  I get very depressed during the winter.  Not too uncommon but it drives her crazy to see me so sad.  Vitamin D supplements definitely help, as do Greens+, but what really turns a horrible dreary winter day into a big-fucking-hug is the thrill I get when I have a really good meal - especially with friends.  Also a sense of adventure and purpose really does make those dark days pass by easier.

So, along with the help of some guest bloggers, this weblog will review every single restaurant in Parkdale.  A few rules.  First!  The restaurant has to have received a full pass from the Toronto Public Health Board.  Second!  I will ask the servers to recommend the house specialty (otherwise this blog might very well be "Every Hamburger in Every Restaurant in Parkdale").  Third!  As often as I can I will bring along a guest or two so we can try a wider variety of foods in order to give each restaurant its fair shake (btw, if you care to join me on one of these dinners, please let me know).  Fourth!  We will use the map to the left as a boundary guide -  which outlines Parkdale as Bloor Street West south to the Gardiner Expressway and between Dufferin St. & Roncesvalles Ave. (I will include the West side of Dufferin and the East side of Roncesvalles as well....I that right?).  Fifth!  I know I'm a photographer and all but I'm just going to photograph the meals with my iphone.  Sorry.  I just don't want the process to become too cumbersome.

Anyway, I hope whoever reads this will enjoy it.  And if you have any questions or suggestions please don't hesitate for a moment to speak up.  As you well know, comments are a bloggers heroin.

1 comment:

  1. I think the "the Bald Racoon of Parkdale" needs some explanation.