The well-known television personality and long-time Danforth-area resident took a break from her demanding duties as a media maven, professor, wife, and mom to talk with us about why she loves the Danforth right now, what she anticipates it will become in the future, and what she hopes will never change.
Liz West has been a staple on the Danforth for years – 15 to be exact – and like countless other residents of our proudly cultural neighbourhood, now that she’s lived here, she wouldn’t dream of having it any other way. As she says, “As long as I’m living in the Greater Toronto Area, I’ll be living here.”
A nationally-recognized news and entertainment reporter, Liz loves the Danforth for many reasons, as she explains: “Apart from the wonderful retail, this area has a real sense of community, and is a haven for young families and dog-lovers. Withrow Park is the most famous dog park in the GTA! There’s also a large artistic community here, which I love being around.”
There are so many things that draw Liz to the area – no matter the season or the day of the week. When asked about what she loves about summertime in the neighbourhood, she says, “Walking the Danforth on a summer night is like being in no other part of the city. Passing patio after patio filled with the laughter of friends and families, smelling the aroma of souvlaki, and hearing the chant of “Opa!” is second to none. Did I mention I love saganaki?” And while the Danforth is the best place to be on a warm summer evening, winter holds a special place in her heart as well. “I love the vibrancy of the store windows lit up at night, and the throngs of people that come out even in the dead of winter.”
And though mornings can be a time of the day that many an individual dreads, with the help of the wonderful cafes in the neighbourhood, Liz looks forward to them too. “I’m a coffee-a-holic, so I hit my favourite spot every morning. Sometimes I bring my 3- and 5-year-olds. They are now hooked on lattes – with extra foam.”
It seems that the lure of the Danforth can’t just be classified by a time of year or a point in the day, however. As Liz explains, “The beauty of the Danforth, for me, is that I can leave the car at home and walk to grab just about anything I need. From groceries, to a mani-pedi, to my kids’ paediatrician, or even to find a great outfit, everything is on the Danforth. I love to shop locally!” She adds, “This is a place where you can actually work, play, and shop, and that you can call your home.” It’s this all-inclusive, one-stop shopping character of the neighbourhood that boosts the sense of community as well. “I now know many of the owners and their staff,” says Liz.
When asked about where she sees the Danforth in ten years, she answers, “My fingers are crossed that it is still filled with successful small businesses that keep the chains away. I see it prospering! I see the Danforth Music Hall open and thriving!” Something she hopes never changes? “I hope it never loses its patio licenses.”
It’s all of these amazing aspects of the Danforth that make it so unique and so dear to Liz. But if she had to pick only one thing to tell a visitor or someone new to the area to do? “Eat!” She doesn’t even hesitate.