How to Spend a Day in Parkdale

I love Toronto, and not too long ago, I realized that the basis for that love is rooted in the immense variety of neighbourhoods the city has to offer. I have a restless heart, feet that constantly want to explore, and eyes that want to see something new and different every day (but I'll settle for every week...). 

Well, guess what? Toronto fulfills all those desires. Every neighbourhood adventure feels like a mini trip of its own. Perfect for my wanderlusty ways. 

Where to shop

It's not technically in Parkdale, but a few minutes east of there is BYOB, a Cocktail Emporium. M spotted this cute pink building as we were biking by, and motioned for us to stop in. 

Whether you're a drink connoisseur (like him) or lover of all things cute (like me), this is the perfect place to stock your bar cart. 

There's also a monstrous wall of bitters. If you don't know what bitters are, they're the spice rack of the cocktail world. Made from plant/seed/fruit/flower/etc extracts, a dash of bitters is often added to cocktails for a unique taste. They're a fun and cheap way to liven up your alcohol collection.

Parkdale has the second location of one of my favourite stores, Kid Icarus. The original location in Kensington features a print shop as well, but this location still sells adorable handmade cards, stationery, and goodies. I love to splurge on cards here, so I bought a Mother's Day card for my momma. 

If you're a lover of Canadiana, North Standard Trading Post is definitely somewhere you'll want to peek your head into. Stocked with clothes, candles, backpacks, and wilderness inspired accessories, you'll want to buy everything in sight. 

Need furniture? Art? Home goods? Jewelry? Parkdale is home to many vintage, antique, and design stores. My personal fave was the Toronto Designers Market, where various vendors have bought out booths to showcase their wares. You can find things from succulents to beard combs, and feel good about shopping local and handmade!

This is a pretty famous flower shop. I don't know why, but it's cute and sweet, and if you've got $50, you can buy yourself a plant. Damn their stuff is pretty. If I had money to drop, they would be my first choice for my imaginary wedding bouquet and centrepieces. Check them out. Coriander Girl

Where to drink

Located on the corner of Queen and Dunn, Capital Espresso is a chill and creative space to grab a coffee and a quick bite to eat. If caffeine won't do it for you and you're looking for something a bit stronger (ahem, alcohol), I've heard Parts & Labour is the place to be. M and I desperately wanted to check it out, but they don't open for drinks until 11 pm. :(  They're open for dinner at 6 pm, but we had different dinner plans in mind... 

Where to eat

I've had Grand Electric on my "to-eat" list forever. Four years ago, when I lived with a wonderful roommate, she told me to come here and check out their infamous tacos. "But Dufferin is so faaaaaar," I naively said. Good thing I've wisened up since then. 

It's far, but it's worth it. M and I got the nachos and guacamole to start, although if I come back here, I'll splurge for the nachos, guacamole, and salsa combo platter. We got two drinks to enjoy with our meal. I ordered a "G.E. Sour", which is a whiskey sour, but made with vanilla bourboun. So. good. M got the Ginger Mojito.

Collectively, we ordered (2) Baja Fish, (1) Pork Belly, (1) Beef Cheek, (1) Pork Tinga, and (1) Spicy Arbol Chicken. Rumours float around that the best of the tacos is the Baja Fish, but Pork Belly won all my love.

They do not hold back on the cilantro, which is a good thing for me since I'm not part of the population who thinks cilantro tastes like soap. The tacos also have a healthy sampling of onions, or pineapple, or radish. All the flavours work perfectly to create a delicious heavenly sampling in your mouth. 

One of the manager's of Grand Electric has a dog. The husky chills outside waiting for his owner to finish up, and he's quite the star of the neighbourhood. 

After dinner, you're gonna need dessert. Thankfully, Glory Hole Doughnuts is in the hood. As far as doughnuts go, these are fresh, handmade, and have been voted "the best doughnut in Toronto." As if you needed an excuse for something sweet. But in case you did, there you have it. 

Save some room for another sweet dessert - a cupcake at Yummy Stuff. They also make custom cakes and various other desserts, but we settled for two mini cupcakes which were the perfect size.

From Roncesvalles to Dufferin, there's tons of cute stores, delicious treats, and must-try restaurants. One day is a great start, but it's definitely not enough to see all that Parkdale has to offer.