It sometimes feels like the west end of Toronto gets all of the credit. Sure, they've got Queen West shopping, Trinity Bellwoods, and King West partying. But I think it's time that the east end got some attention. We have greek food, Riverdale Park, and a bunch of fun pubs, among tons of other things to do. Plus, the east end is constantly evolving. Over the years, we've seen hip restaurants like Pizzeria Libretto and Globe Bistro pop up and have watched the Danforth Music Hall become one of the coolest venues to catch live music in the city.
There's also a distinct way of life in the east end that those west of Broadview just don't get. We're more laid-back and life seems to move at a slower pace here, which is just the way we like it. Best of all, we don't deal with the crowds and chaos of downtown Toronto. There's always that little sense of relief when you're crossing back over the Bloor Viaduct to the more peaceful Danforth.
That said, living here definitely has its ups and downs. But we wouldn't want to be anywhere else, right? Whether you've lived here all of your life or are a new east-end convert, here are some classic Danforth-isms you can probably relate to.
1. You know that Taste of the Danforth is both the best and the worst time of the year.
Yes, the gyros, souvlaki, and pastries are incredible. And the live comedy, dance and musical performances are pretty fun to watch. But trying to navigate your way through hundreds of people wielding pointy kababs just to get home is not ideal.
2. Even after living here for years, the one way streets are still so confusing.
Be honest, you’ve turned down the wrong way before. One second you're on Logan Avenue and everything is going alright until you mistakenly turn onto Bain Avenue, realize you've made a huge mistake but can't figure out how to turn around on the narrow street so cars start honking at you and all you can do is cry. It happens to the best of us!
3. You know the best view of Toronto is 100% from Riverdale Park.
At any given time, there about ten people trying to get an insta of the #views, at least a couple photographers trying to get *the* shot, and sometimes even a wedding party staging photos in front of the skyline. You're used to it by now.
4. ...And that you’re never too old for tobogganing (or taboozing) at Riverdale or Withrow Park.
When you were a kid, you probably started off at the much safer and less intimidating Withrow Park before graduating to the steep, "dangerous" hill that was Riverdale Park. Fast forward to today and a slide down Riverdale Park still makes your heart race just a little. Last time I checked, there was no age limit on fun!
5. You love walking through Evergreen Brickworks no matter what time of year it is.
Okay, this place is simply the best. They have a farmer's market, a GARDEN market and tons of walking trails through their massive property. Who hasn't used a walk along their trails as an excuse to gossip with their BFF?
6. Even if you’re not Greek, you probably live beside someone who is.
Though the neighbourhood is growing more and more culturally diverse, it’s definitely not called Greektown for nothing. It's awesome to live in a community that is so proud of their different cultures and also so willing to share them with their neighbours.
7. And you’re probably extremely knowledgeable about Greek food.
It’s pronounced moo-sah-KAH, not moose-akah.
8. Family dinners were always at Astoria, Il Fornello or Globe Bistro.
Greek food, Italian food, fusion food...did we mention Greek food? Along the Danforth, it seems like there are more restaurants than people, meaning we never went hungry when we were younger.
9. But deep down, you know that Messini's is always #1.
Messini's is known for their gyro sandwiches, which are packed with vegetables, fresh meat, delicious sauces and, oh yeah, FRIES. They have fries INSIDE their gyro sandwiches! Who can compete with that?
10. For dessert, you get Baskin and Robbin’s and sit by the fountain at Logan and Danforth.
Okay, not very original but it's a classic.
11. You secretly take pride in the fact that Degrassi is set in your hood...
Even though they stopped filming it here a while ago, be honest, you can’t help but get excited when you pass De Grassi Street. And who hasn't hummed "Whatever It Takes" while walking up De Grassi at least once?
12. ...And you’ll brag to anyone who will listen that Gord Downie lived here for 10+ years.
Maybe you passed him on the street once or just enjoyed knowing he was here, but who didn't love having a Canadian hero living in our midst? Gord sold his Riverdale house last year but we *hope* that he will always consider the east end home.
13. You love being close enough to downtown without having to actually live downtown
The Eaton Centre is only 20 minutes away when you need it and you're only about 10 minutes from Bloor-Yonge, the centre of Toronto. Yet lucky for us, we don’t have to deal with any of the traffic or congestion of downtown. It’s a win-win!
14. But for some reason, it feels like the TTC is ALWAYS doing track repairs on our line.
Pape to Saint George is out…again? This summer, it seemed like we were perpetually doomed to ride the weekend shuttle buses. The repairs seem to have slowed down (for now) but I'm praying for a shuttle bus-free winter.
15. During the summer time, you frequent the Allen's patio like it's your day job.
Grabbing pints on pints under the giant trees on their back patio is probably the best way to beat the summer heat in the east end. Plus, their burgers are so good it's worth visiting the cozy pub year round, patio or no patio.
16. You were getting coffee at the Rooster before all of the hipsters.
Before everyone was instagramming their soy matcha lattes from the Rooster, you were there grabbing your morning macchiato. The Rooster is definitely in the running for the best coffee in Toronto, and the fact that Daniel Radcliffe has filmed a scene in there is just further bragging rights.
17. Skating in Withrow Park was the bomb when you were younger.
And still kinda is, right? When the whole park is blanketed in snow and kids are taking their first loops around the rink, it can be a pretty magical place. Growing up, who didn't love those "neighbourhood skating parties" held at Withrow?
18. After a night out, you can always be found at the Broadview Mcdonald’s.
Conveniently located right beside Broadview Station, this Mcdonald's is THE spot for when the drunk munchies come calling. You’re also guaranteed to run into everyone you know doing the same thing you are.
19. Your inner child was heartbroken when the candy store Suckers closed.
Your allowance probably went straight to their “Emergency Chocolate” every week. Plus, who could forget their wall of "candy pills" which had titles like "Total Bitch" to "Pepto-Bimbo." Now that I think of it, I'm not sure my parents should have let me spend so much free time in there.
20. You feel guilty if you don’t recycle.
Between the "Save the Trees" bumper stickers and the wood heated homes, this has got to be one of the most eco-friendly neighbourhoods in Toronto. Though we all try to do our bit, sometimes we just can't help but slack off once in a while. Just as long as the neighbours don't catch us putting compost in our garbage bins.
21. You’ve tried all of the beers on tap at Louis Cifer and the Only Café.
The Danforth is quickly becoming a hot spot for craft beer and you're pretty effing excited about it. With almost 50 beers on tap between these two spots, you're proud to say you've sampled almost all (or maybe even all) of these craft beer offerings. It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it.
22. You get offended when your phone picks up the Scarborough Snapchat filter.
No disrespect to Scarbs but we are definitely in the 416 and proud of it.
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