Welcome back to our second installment of Common Mag’s Toronto Walking Tours! If you’re new here, we’re releasing one recommended small tour of the city, featuring fun shops, cute food spots, and the best parks Toronto has to offer, for each month of the summer. Last month we explored the whimsical east end, which you can read all about here.
Our next tour will take you a little west of Toronto’s downtown core, with a fun little waterfront addition. If you’ve ever been to Liberty Village and Parkdale, you’ll know that it’s the perfect neighbourhood to live, work, and play in—only a 20-minute walk from the entertainment district. It has been accurately described as an artsy loft district with a distinctly bohemian vibe, filled with unique boutiques and great restaurants. This part of the city is the perfect blend of bustling downtown and a small quirky neighbourhood.
Without further ado, here are our recommendations for you to explore in Toronto’s (kinda) west end:
Find yourself transported into the world of your favourite childhood novel or overwhelmed by nostalgia for a place you’ve never seen before when you start your adventure at Curiosa—a fun shop full of magical odds and ends. Inspired by Harry Potter, every inch of the shop has been transformed and there’s something interesting to see in every corner. From the vintage metal typer machine that allows you to make your own custom good luck coin to the cauldrons that stir themselves, you will be filled with surprised delight at every turn.
Curiosa’s staff are also some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, and will gladly debate with you which Hogwarts house is the best (Ravenclaw all the way) or leave you to explore at your own pace. No worries if you’re not a fan of HP though, there’s still tons of fun finds the store has to offer that you’ll enjoy.
Keep the magic alive and visit Curiosa is Toronto’s west end. We promise that you won’t regret it.
The second stop in our tour of Toronto’s west end is just a quick hop across the street to the vegan ice cream shop, Not Your Mother. Not only is the menu extremely inventive (I’m looking at you, A New Hope, with your all dressed chips), but they’re also dairy-free and nut-free! Their storefront is attached to Vegandale Brewery, so you can stop by for lunch and a quick beer before ordering your dessert. Or, you can skip the food altogether and just order straight from their ice cream counter!
These tasty desserts will have you sold on vegan ice cream for good—if you weren’t already sold on their retro 70s inspired branding that is. If you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or simply open-minded about the treats you eat (because dessert is dessert after all), this is the perfect stop for you!
End your day by adventuring to this waterfront park. The 25-minute walk to get to the park itself is extremely enjoyable and will give you the chance to explore the less bustling neighbourhoods of Toronto.
With summer here, so is picnic season. If you decided to skip lunch at Vegandale Brewery, bring along some food with you and a picnic blanket and enjoy the view. Or, if you did opt for lunch, take a stroll along the boardwalk and soak up all the sunshine that you can—there’s no better way to enjoy summer than to surround yourself with nature.
With the wind on your face, vegan ice cream in your tummy, and a fun new magical curio in your hand, what more could you want? Let us know if you follow our map by posting a pic to social media and tagging us at @camnmag across all platforms.
Keep an eye out next month for our next tour!
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