How a creative community attracts savvy shoppers and diners

A creative community bands together to offer unique shopping and dining

The Junction is one of Toronto’s most creative and historic neighbourhood destinations. Its youthful energy is attracting more and more people to explore the area, which is alive with unique shops ranging from antique and architectural salvage shops to clothiers and from art supply stores and music schools to restaurants and art galleries.

Many of the shops – all of which are within walking distance along Dundas Street West between Runnymede Road and Keele Street – have been there for years, such as Post and Beam Architectual Reclamation, Eclectic Revival , Smash, Equilibrium, Forever Interiors, Metropolis Living, Mjölk and Cornerstone Home Interiors.

With more and more shops and restaurants opening on a regular basis, The Junction is buzzing. It’s a great place to spend a sunny Saturday – scouring the shops for unique finds, enjoying a relaxing brunch, lunch or dinner, or rummaging through flea and farmer’s markets. Check out The Junction Business Improvement Area’s website to discover all there is to see and do in The Junction this summer.

I recently visited a few of The Junction’s newer shops that are owned and operated by talented local residents who are contributing to the growth and development of this young, up-and-coming neighbourhood. Here are a few of my favourite stops. Be sure to drop by and say hi to them when you visit yourself!

Simardone Design – 3180 Dundas St. W

Michael Simardone is an extremely talented cabinet maker and the owner of Simardone Design. He and his family have lived in the area for four generations. Michael builds custom furniture from architectural salvage materials on site in the Simardone workshop, while his wife, Caroline, runs a small vintage and salvage shop in the front of the shop. Michael’s work has been featured in Canadian Living several times over the past four or five years, including in the September 2011 issue featuring the pieces he designed and built for my home office (below).

A tall cabinet made from an old six-foot exterior shutter and a file cabinet made from recycled wood and an old kitchen door panel, crafted by Michael Simardone. Photo by Paul Chmielowiec.

File cabinet interior. Photo by Karen Kirk.

 

Every visit to Michael and Caroline’s quaint shop (shown below) promises new and exciting finds and inspiring ideas crafted by this talented duo. If you have a treasured antique or vintage find you’d like to up-cycle or repurpose into a functional piece of furniture for your home or cottage, Michael offers the ideas and skills to realize your vision. Call or visit the shop for a free consultation.

Simardone Design, 3180 Dundas St. W., Toronto. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Michael crafted this cabinet from a salvaged window, lumber and mouldings. The veggie-stencilled feather canvas cushions are by Caroline. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Caroline runs the charming front shop featuring Michael’s custom pieces and other salvaged finds. Photo by Karen Kirk.

An old wire basket makes an interesting shade over a bare bulb. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Michael crafted this cabinet made of old doors and painted it sage green. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Old watering cans make charming planters on a weathered column. Photo by Karen Kirk.

 

Kid Culture – 3124 Dundas St. W.

Clare Ramar, the owner of Kid Culture, is a longtime resident of The Junction neighbourhood and recently moved her fabulous shop from its Pacific Avenue location to a larger location on Dundas Street West. Clare sells locally hand-crafted and hand-sewn kids’ clothes, accessories and toys made of vintage yarns and fabrics. Visit the Kid Culture website for information on craft and sewing classes and story-time schedules.

Clare Ramar’s Kid Culture offers locally hand-crafted kids’ clothes and toys. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Clare Romar (seen in the background) fills her store with colourful hand-crafted kids’ clothing and toys. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Some of Kid Culture’s summer outfits, which are locally crafted with vintage materials. Photo by Karen Kirk.

 

ARTiculations – 2928 Dundas St. W.

I’ll never pass buy an art supply shop without going in and this one didn’t disappoint. Artists Miki Rubin and Heather Phillips, the owners of ARTiculations, run their art supply shop, gallery and studio from one of the fabulous old shops in The Junction. Visit ARTiculations or the store’s website to find out more about their supplies, courses, summer camps and workshops.

I love this entrance! ARTiculations offers art supplies, courses, a gallery and more. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Miki Rubin and Heather Phillips, artists and owners of ARTiculations. Photo by Karen Kirk.

 

If you get the munchies while spending the day visiting all of the awesome shops in The Junction, check out 3030 for a yummy snack and a refreshing Ontario craft beer. Or if you’d prefer some authentic Mexican cuisine give Playa Cabana Cantina a try.

Follow me on Twitter: @KKMe123