The Junction: Hidden Gem of Toronto

Welcome to the area you’ve probably heard of a few times but never have you known where the heck it is…

Yes. And we mean The Junction here, ladies and gentlemen. Tired of the overly hipster-istically hipster-liciously hipster areas like Queen West or Ossington? Still feel like wearing those ripped jeans and that grandpa jacket from the attic and having a little too many of those craft beers? Say no more. The Junction à votre service, my friends. Located north of High Park just a few streets up from Bloor (like a 10 min walk if you walk moderately fast, rather 15 mins, though), this not-yet-in-the-condorama-world area catches your eye with its breweries, bars, restaurants, boutiques and, OF COURSE, furniture and antique stores. Not so bad for such a hidden jem like this, eh?

Blast from the past:

Back in the what seems to be the recent ’90s (when taking pics with a film camera was not some kind of a unique and super artsy experience but a usual thing), the area was still dry as there was prohibition on sale of alcoholic beverages enacted since the beginning of the 20th century. According to the Wikipedia article, the ban was lifted in 2001, which was just 16 years ago!

But what’s now?

Now, though, the area is full of parties, music shows and art events, glasses are filled with beers and liquors and boutiques are wide open to welcome their visitors. Hence, it’s hard not to explore the Junction and see the shape it transformed into during the past decades.

Our top picks for the Junction beers and eats are the following:

  • 3030. The bar presents a huge area that sometimes serves as a venue for music shows, features some craft beers on tap as well as modern Canadian cuisine eats.
  • Shamone. Free is good. And by free we mean free charcuterie boards! What’s the catch? Just come, order your drink, grab a plate at the bar and pick whatever you want to eat in any quantity! By the way, they serve Delirium beer, which is notoriously known to be “illegal” for sale at the liquor store because of its name.
  • Indie Ale House. Spoil yourself with a wide selection of craft beers brewed locally and with love just for you! At the entrance, yo
  • The Hole in the Wall. While walking down the street, by pure accident, I saw this place hidden right by the entrance to a furniture store and the stairs. Ever been to Wide Open bar on Queen and Spadina? This place is not THAT narrow (and it has a very different vibe from Wide Open) but still it looks like it was stacked right in between the two buildings. They serve a big variety of liquors and really delicious foods. It’s really dark inside even during the day since they only have one window up in the roof. One of a kind ambience for sure.

Want to know more about the top picks? We’ve got you covered! We will review those bars in a bit more detail in our “Passport Junction” article coming soon. Meanwhile, here are a few more things to note…

Feeling like it’s time to update “that old and dirty always wobbling coffee table” or that “squeaky chair”? Say no more. Junction offers a whole bunch of designer furniture stores with unique and good quality pieces some of which are made right in store. One of the reasons why the Junction gained its popularity is due to the numerous furniture stores, that’s for sure.

Moreover, if you are dreaming of that Campbell’s vintage sign or tacky lamp, head right into one of the Junction antique stores that sell pretty much everything old you can imagine. I personally felt like I was in a museum every time I walked into an antique store in the area.

In conclusion, now that you are equipped with the necessary information about this northwest Toronto neighbourhood, we encourage you to visit and explore it to the fullest and hipsterist!