When I say I grew up downtown, I’m not kidding around. I literally grew up in one of those rare Victorian townhouses, now hidden amongst the many condos at King and Portland. The area, for the first 18 years of my life, was my playground, and I was devastated when my parents decided to sell our family home after my first year of university. Even worse was when they told me we were moving to the east side of Queen Street.

At first I was outraged that we would even consider moving to the area of Corktown (aka “Cracktown”) nevermind the fact that it felt like being re-located to the middle of nowhere. It also didn’t help when, on moving day, a drunk old man reached through the car window and started grabbing the box I was holding and demanded beer. I swore I’d be out of there as soon as I could afford a rent.

But eventually I began to settle in, and came to love the area for its sleepiness, and the characters it attracts. Little by little, I could see it start to transform right in front of my eyes. First, a Shoppers Drug Mart, then a TD Bank, a cute coffee shop (Redline, my favourite!), a trendy gluten-free pizza join, and the best boutiques for antique interiors.

Now that it has been six years of living on the edge of the east side, I honestly couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The area feels like a best-kept secret amongst those who live there. But the biggest sign of a flip from west to east, came this week when my friend, Katelyn Joliat, opened the doors of her first boutique, Far Away Eyes, at Queen and Berkeley.

I’ve known Katelyn for years, mainly from when she worked at Delphic and Klaxon Howl, but also from being a huge fan of her jewellery line, K8. If anyone who knows me well can recall the silver bow ring I always wear, that’s hers. But the store doesn’t just focus one her line (although it is stocked!), she’s got everything from candles, natural body products, t-shirts, to more jewellery.

When I popped in on Sunday to say hello, I ended up leaving with a new Adieu tee (pictured above), and an order for a new K8 ring, and Scorpio candle from the Zodiac collection. I’ve also got my eye on a necklace, and a black skull candle as a gift. I guess what I’m trying to say is… venture slightly east and check it out, before I buy everything she’s got in stock!

Far Away Eyes is located at 295 Queen Street East (at Berkeley) http://www.shopfarawayeyes.com/