It may come as a surprise to some, but the house I was born and raised in until I was 18 years old is right in the King West area, and as you can probably imagine, the neighbourhood was extremely different while I was growing up than it is now. While it has always been deemed part of the “fashion district” there really wasn’t much except for studios, a few restaurants, and, of course, the WINNERS at on Spadina that’s been there for as long as I can remember.
Now, as an adult, I live on the east side of Toronto, but up until very recently I worked from an office right at King and Bathurst for 3 years. While the area still holds a lot of childhood memories for me, it’s been great to create new memories and fall in love with so many of the great new restaurants, cafes, bars and shops in the area.
Probably one of the biggest differences in the area from when I was a kid (and this rings true for most parts of the city) is the vast amount of condos that have been built in the area. With so many new ones going up each year, I’m always interested to discover what’s different about each one, and, (more importantly) what eco initiatives they bring to their building, the neighbourhood and the city.
I was very excited to hear about the collaboration between Bside at Minto Westside and Nissan Canada to offer free electric cars for condo purchasers. Bside is the second phase of Minto Westside at Bathurst and Front and the incentive includes a Nissan LEAF (Canada’s top-selling, fully-electric car) for free when a purchaser buys a parking space equipped with an electric vehicle charging station along with their new condo.
This forward-thinking partnership makes a lot of sense for Minto, which is a leader in sustainability and widely recognized for developing energy efficient design forward spaces. Since this promotion will only be available for a short time longer, we teamed up to share my city guide (aka #MyBsideJourney) to 5 of my favourite spots to eat, shop and drink in the King West area that are all just a quick walk (or drive in an electric car!) from Bside. See below for my top 5 picks!
There is nowhere on King West that I love more than Gusto 101. The amount that I frequent this restaurant might border an obsession, but if you have yet to pay it a visit, you’ll soon see why when you do. Probably what I love most is the design and decor of the restaurant – Gusto 101 has been converted out of an old auto garage and I love the industrial open-concept space with hints from it’s past all around. Whether you’re downstairs or on the upstairs patio, you’ll see vintage signs from the old garage all around. Everything on the menu is good, but I almost always order my favourite dish: The Kale Sale with Chicken, with a glass of their dollar-an-ounce house red on the side. Gusto 101 is located at 101 Portland Street. http://gusto101.com/
2. BEAUTY LINE
There are few things in life that I love more than a good, cheap manicure. For this, Beauty Line on the corner of King and Bathurst never disappoints. Judging by how busy they always are, many women in the area agree with me. With manicures starting at $10 and shellac manicure at $30, this cheap and cheerful place will always get your nails looking fresh without breaking the bank. Beauty Line is located at 645 King Street West.
Even though I love to go out to great restaurants on a regular basis, I do try to cook at home as much as possible. Not only is it a healthier option, but it’s something that I find to be very relaxing too. Fresh & Wild at King and Spadina is a regular stop for me to pick up groceries on my way home. I love that they have fresh and organic produce, along with tons of my favourite “health freak” products and brands. Their deli also offers a fantastic selection of healthy pre-made foods for anytime I want to cheat and have a semi home-cooked meal or lunch at home. Fresh & Wiild is located at 69 Spadina Avenue http://www.freshandwild.ca/
While I most often prefer savoury goods over sweet, every so often I do enjoy picking out soothing sweet from a good bakery. Forno Cultura on King Street is a total gem in the area – offering freshly baked Italian goods on a daily basis. Naturally their sweet treats are amazing, but don’t ignore their freshly baked breads and artisan sandwiches too. You will not be disappointed! In fact, you’ll be going back for more in no time at all. Forno Cultura is located at 609 King Street West http://fornocultura.com/
If you have visited the King West area as of late, there is a good chance you noticed Her Majesty’s Pleasure. The new cafe, spa and bar is exquisitely designed and every woman’s idea of heaven. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a specialty cocktail while getting a mani pedi, or your hair blown out? This is a great spot I love to visit with friends, even if it’s just for a glass of bubbly. I would highly recommend this spot for birthdays and other special occasions when you want to get pampered with friends. Her Majesty’s Pleasure is located at 556 King Street West http://www.hermajestyspleasure.ca/
What are some of your favourite spots in the King West area? Leave a comment and let me know what you would include in your own #MyBsideJourney!
For more information on Bside Condos click HERE.
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