As varied as it is vibrant, the East End’s gritty working-class roots have given way to trendy eats, chic boutiques and an active arts scene – only thats just the tipping point. 

By Chris Metler

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY


Hotel Delilah Toronto already counts its fair share of cutting-edge snack bars and boutique hotels. This recently opened hotel on Gerrard East brings both concepts together under one roof. Overseen by chef Marcus Monteiro, its bohemian eatery slings flavourful meat- free favourites, including a buffalo cauliflower waffle roll, gnocchi stir-fry and shishito pepper roulette, in addition to a slew of signature craft cocktails. Alternatively, the lodging upstairs resembles an avant-garde, Airbnb-inspired bed and breakfast guided by the fundamental principle of unwinding and having a good time.

GRAFFITI AS ART & CULTURE


Beach Skatepark, located across from Ashbridges Bay Park, marks its 10th anniversary with a mosaic of murals from Toronto’s graffiti maestros. Organized through a Toronto Skateboarding Committee and StreetARToronto partnership, the project is the largest of its kind in Canada, covering 5,000 square feet of the recreation ground’s surface — ledges, banks, stairs, rails, hubbas, gaps and all. Inspired by a surrealist piece that evokes Salvador Dali, contributors were given free rein to design and create what moved them, the idea being to bring intentional, eye-catching art to a location so frequently tagged. Mission accomplished.

EVERYTHING YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WANTED (OR NEEDED!)


With venues in Leslieville and Riverside, the Arts Market gives artistic entrepreneurs a permanent place to sell their work and get noticed. No red tape. No commission. No long-term contracts. There are always new vendors making their way here, meaning there will always be something new to find. Acquire handmade items like jewellery, pottery and photography from over 150 artists, designers and creative souls. Then pay a visit to nearby Good Neighbour, a hip general store set in a converted bungalow that remains a mecca for fashion, home goods and more.

CUT, COLOUR & CHILL


Untitled by Flaunt Boutique was carefully conceived to connect made-to-measure hairstyling ingenuity with a responsible, eco-friendly consciousness. They collect, recycle and repurpose hair clippings, used foils, colour tubes, excess hair colour, papers, plastics, glass and waste, diverting them from land fills and waterways. Entertain your senses upon entering the environment, erected within the walls of a 19th-century brick and mortar building. As you await your tailored service from one of the stylists, request a cocktail and settle in.

FROM LANDMARK TO LUXURY


To say the meticulously restored Broadview Hotel enjoys a colourful past would be an understatement. Housed in a 127-year-old building, the salvaged brass pole in the lavish sixth-floor Dominion Suite and its Moulin Rouge-lite ambience are all the clues we’re giving you. The 58-room inn — a gateway to Leslieville, Riverdale and more — incorporates classic Victorian elements with unexpected eclectic accents. Be certain to rendezvous for an Elderflower Smash and some frosé on the expansive rooftop terrace. Its 360-degree glass facade and pyramidal skylight help showcase one of the most breathtaking views of the Toronto skyline.

NEW KID ON THE CRAFT BEER BLOCK


At Queen and Carlaw’s Scandinavian- inspired Avling Kitchen & Brewery, head brewer Brandon Judd approaches beer from a culinary perspective, endeavouring to create ales as seasonal as the ingredients that go into them. Take Avling’s eponymous IPA. Lush tropical aromas of orchards and citrus groves mesh seamlessly with notes of honey and biscuit, backed up by a sturdy but soft bitterness. Or the Avling Saison, in which hints of citrus zest, pear and black pepper hover over a pleasing acidity. Sparkling and sleek, it’s surprisingly complex.

COFFEE CULTURE


Exhibiting care and precision in the preparation of all manner of espresso drinks, Dineen Outpost is the most rustic of the architecturally inclined Dineen locations. Come for the lattes and cortados, stay for the superbly stylish interior design. Instagrammers welcome! Or, if you’re seeking a little transparency from farm to cup, Te Aro in the Studio District was built on the core values of sourcing ethical direct trade coffee. It operates as a specialty café and micro-roastery, supplying equipment, training, technical support, consulting services and Pilot Coffee Roasters beans for new café owners across Toronto.

A PLACE THAT FILLS MANY NICHES


A go-to for neighbours, families and friends to meet up for a full-service meal, a glass of wine, a pint of beer or a cocktail? Check. A spot to procure freshly brewed coffee, house-made pastries and grab-and-go sandwiches? Check. A market to pick up pantry essentials and fresh bread? Check. Bodega Henriette in the Upper Beaches definitely ticks the boxes for all your favourite things. Even a mouth- watering weekend brunch! Served on mismatched vintage china, how does Eggs Benedict over a house-made cheddar, chive and stout biscuit sound?