If you were born on the west side of Toronto, you are no stranger to the little bubble known and loved to its residents as Etobicoke. Made up of 3 dominant sectors - Lakeshore, Central and North Etobicoke - Etobicoke is regarded fondly by its populous for being a slice of Toronto near the suburbs.
If you truly know Etobicoke, you'll also know that it can feel like the smallest of towns, meaning that no matter where you go, you're bound to bump into somebody. And then somebody else. And then your 5th grade teacher.
That being said, Etobicoke's small town feel is one of many things that makes it a great place to grow up in. Here are some signs that scream you were born and raised on the end of the subway line.
1. You felt personally victimized when The Candy Hut Closed
Honestly, how dare you. As if we needed another flower shop within walking distance. I want rock candy on a stick, not a bunch of carnations.
2. And Sweet Flour
Double how dare you. Where else am I going to get a custom-made cookie this side of the city. Shame.
3. You've jammed out with the old dude at the Old Sod after too many Molsons
You know this guy. We all know this guy. He's maybe in his 50s to 60s and somehow always at the Sod every night with a great attitude and his guitar. He sees you from across the room, gives you a nod, asks you your name. And all of a sudden, it's happening. Just you, the guy and Wonderwall. Because he only knows 6 songs that somehow everyone isn't tired of.
4. You could go to Magic Spot at any given time for a burger and fries
From the outside it might not look like much, but if you were Etobicoke born and bred you know this place is the GO to for some quality grub. The lady at the cash always smiles at you, and the man on the grill just knows. One Magic burger to go, please.
5. Taste of the Kingsway was the original HOCO
Everyone you've ever remotely seen or heard of mashed together in a two block radius, drunk off of wine in Starbucks cups or their dad's gin in a water bottle. Trying to hide your drunkest friend from the cops, and not puke even after riding the Starship 2000.
6. And Ukranian Fest was a close second
Basically a repeat of Taste but with pierogis and folk music.
7. Royal York Subway Station was a guaranteed spot to find plans on the weekend
Swing by RY with a couple friends around 8-9 and you were sure to find out what was happening in Etobs that night. Whether it was a Richview house party or a bonfire at Lakeshore.
8. Cineplex Queensway was a safe nightlife staple
Just you and 10 of your closest friends on the Islington 110 to see whatever PG14 - or 18A if you were feeling dangerous - movie came out that week.
9. You got ice-cream at Tom's Dairy Freeze as soon as it got remotely warm
If there's any better place to get soft-serve in Etobicoke, please let me know. The line at Tom's speaks for itself, usually wrapping around the trailer they serve out of, spreading onto the street.
10. You knew Bowlerama West was a solid date spot
Maybe it was a 'group hang' with a bunch of kids from your lunch period, or just you and your crush. Nothing takes the pressure off like glow-in-the dark balls and crunchy af fries. Bonus points if you went to the Dairy Queen next door for a late night scoop.
11. Or Demetres if you were feeling a little more ~romantic~
Still a solid spot to go to for a girls night in, but if you brought a date here shit was reaaaaaal. One Real Nut Job, two spoons.
12. You didn't & still won't go to Sherway Gardens unless you look presentable
Danger. Fking. Zone. You went in your Roots sweats once and saw half of your high school. Never again.
13. Royal York Baseball, Etobicoke Dolphins, & Humber Valley Sharks logos were no stranger to the hallways of your school
Gotta rep right?
14. You went to/got mildly intoxicated at Friday Night Lights
Football season is short, therefore you had to make every FNL count with warm beer and screaming for players you thought were good-looking.
15. You bought $4 personal pizzas from Romi's.
Walk-in only, but it's not like you drove anyways.
16. And got casual dinners at Swiss Chalet, Kingsway Fish & Chips, Green Mango or Just Greek
Because they were chill and decently priced.
17. But not Merlot or Vibo
Because you were ballin' on a budget, and those places were for parents anyways.
18. You were hyped when Bake Sale first opened their doors
Now we can buy red velvet cupcakes for all of our friends birthdays!!!!
19. Either the Grenview or Thompson Starbucks was your designated after-school watering hole
Yes, I'll fight you for a table. No, I won't go to Second Cup. But on that note -
20. RIP to the big beautiful Second Cup on the corner of Royal York and Bloor that now houses a two-story Shoppers.
You had so much seating and natural light. Lest we forget.
21. You attended at least one jam at "The Pit"
Aka a bonfire pit in the ravine behind Etobicoke School of the Arts. You got a Facebook invite maybe every week for a solid month before the cops caught on.
22. Apache Burger was half the reason you always had cash on you
Because the banquet burger is worth every second at the ATM
23. You never understood why there are so many nail salons, but accepting it anyways
Never enough places to get a flower drawn on your big toe!!
24. You took walks by Mimico creek
To unwind from all of those pubscent stressors while dodging the under-aged smokers.
25. You had ski lessons at Centennial or swim lessons at Memorial/Norseman/The Olympium
26. You avoided the Islington Goodlife like the plague
Because seeing your ex is hard enough without being covered in sweat.
27. You know Creme De La Creme brunch is just as bomb as any place downtown
Yeah, the place is covered in ornamental roosters but no one can touch their hash-browns.
28. Dundas Street Grille can also compete
Honourable mention to their chocolate milkshakes.
29. You've been to a show, or at least invited to one, at the Rockpile
Not like the Food Basics next door screams party, but your friend's brother could really play the drums okay.
30. You have fond memories of Lambton Kingsway Pool in the summer
31. And taboozing at Humber Valley Park in the winter
Because tobogganing is for children, and you're like, seventeen now.
32. You've walked by the Crooked Cue for years, and were shocked by its patio expansion
Etobs stepping it's game up.
33. You'll still go to Magoo's, Woody's, California Sandwiches or San Remo despite the amount of times you've eaten there
Can't mess with the classics.
34. Being proud as fvck of the Lakeshore Bridge Snapchat filter
Because yeah - that's your hometown and yeah, it looks dope.
35. You had half of your friends post pictures with Rob Ford when he was mayor
36. You went to Ribfest but never for ribs
Yet another underage boozefest, but this time - with hordes of mosquitos.
37. You were/still are proud as hell that Mean Girls chose Etobicoke to film in
Sherway Gardens and ECI will always be historic, brag-gable reasons for this and this alone.
Did we miss anything? Grow the list in the comments below!
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