Islington Village

When I told M we were going to see the murals in Islington Village (since that's the next date idea we pulled out!), he thought there was an actual art show happening. And while there is art, this isn’t a temporary exhibition or photos in a gallery. It’s literally murals, painted onto the walls of businesses along Dundas Street between Kipling and Islington.

Despite M’s initial disappointment, we had a great time strolling down the street, occasionally jaywalking to the other side so that we could see every mural.

Near the beginning of our adventure, close to Kipling and Bloor, we stopped in at AF Home Bakery for breakfast. M and I got the last two bureks, a pastry filled with cheese, and "Cockta", a not-a-knock-off of Coca Cola that actually tastes way better than Coca Cola.

We felt slightly guilty when just moments later, two regulars dropped by and asked for bureks. The bakery had to give them the bad news that they were all out. M and I quickly hid any evidence that we were the guilty eaters of the last bureks by taking larger bites.

Our dessert was also absolutely delicious – M had a custard pie (krempita), and I had a strudel. With full bellies, we set off to see the rest of the murals.

John Kuna is the artist responsible for most of the murals, although a few other artists have pitched in as well. They largely depict historical life in the village of Islington, and if you read the plaques, you'll encounter many interesting stories and learn fun tidbits about the village.

For example, the mural above is a painting of a heritage building that stood in that exact spot. Despite large community support to prevent it from being torn down, it was replaced by strip malls and the industrialization of the area. 

Another thing that's changed because of industrialization? Mimico Creek. Above is a representation of what the creek used to look like. Now it's little more than a sad bubbling stream.

The building above is an artifact of the area that hasn't changed or been replaced - the Montgomery Inn. Built in 1832, the inn now operates as a museum and holds a farmer's market on Wednesday nights. 

At first glance, Islington Village is strip malls and wide roads and suburbs. But hidden behind (almost) every wall you'll find some beautiful art, and tucked between nail parlours and vacuum repair stores you'll be surprised by home cooked treats and desserts. 

A 30 minute subway ride here really isn't that long, especially when you're rewarded with gems like these.