I moved to Toronto when I was 19. My first room in the city was a third-floor walk-up in a 100-year-old brick house, tucked right in the heart of Chinatown at Beverley and D’Arcy. I remember painting the walls electric yellow. The neighbourhood was gritty, and loud, and terrifying. It was awesome. The tiny shops that butted up against one another along Dundas sold everything from colourful, plastic cellphone cases to cheap and cheerful embellished floral sandals. The Chinese bakeries, with their steamed pork buns, became a staple in my fresh-out-of-mom-and-dad’s-place diet. Today, all this remains mostly unchanged.
Chinatown was my first taste of the diversity and raw cultural energy that makes Toronto the city it is.
From there, I moved apartments every year, always looking forward to the end of my lease so I could find a new intersection to explore and call home. My father, the volunteer moving crew of one, didn’t always share my enthusiasm for changing locations.
What I looked for in a home was relatively simple—a balcony, a location within walking distance from work, a dishwasher. When I moved into the iconic Tip Top Lofts on Lakeshore, I felt like I owned the city. It was like living inside of a piece of history, and I would imagine seamstresses at the turn of the century, their arms full of the makings of beautiful garments, walking through the same ornate brass doors I did every day.
It’s taken me over a decade to scratch the surface of Toronto’s coolness. Every time I feel like I’ve discovered it all, a new cultural centre pops up, tempting me to visit, taste, shop. It’s become a passionate pursuit of mine, and I love nothing more than sharing it with visitors to the city.
Craving a mind-blowing fish taco? I know the place. Searching for a special vintage piece to add to your collection? Follow me! Toronto delivers. You’ve got to know it—an insider’s perspective is a must—but there’s certainly something for you here.
This is one of the best parts of the Toronto International Film Festival; it gives each proud citizen of The 6ix the opportunity to showcase their favourite spots to the world. It’s our city’s time to shine as bright as the lights that dot the red carpets along King Street during these few weeks in September.
For me, it’s an honour to be at the helm of a publication that celebrates not only the arts and TIFF, but also the world-class city that plays host to such a renowned festival.
I’m far from done exploring this city I call home. And I hear there’s this great new spot just down the street. Meet you there?