Next Stop: The Danforth
Whether stranded at a bus stop waiting out a delay in one of our winter storms, or stuck on the subway due to yet another signal issue, at some point we have all found ourselves cursing the TTC. But while we all like to make a good jab at Toronto’s public transit system, the fact is that it keeps people connected. In a city bursting with so many one-of-a-kind neighbourhoods, the TTC makes these places accessible to people inside and outside the community. The Danforth is a great example of one of these districts.
Connected by the Bloor-Danforth subway line, the Danforth can be easily accessed through Pape, Chester, and Broadview stations. So, taking full advantage of my Presto card this weekend, I hopped on the TTC and explored Toronto’s beloved Greektown.
Douce France – Just around the corner from Pape station is a quaint café called Douce France. While my mochaccino and pastry were absolutely delicious, what I really fell in love with at this spot was the founder, Christel. A breath of fresh air from the moment you walk in, Christel’s energy is so contagious it almost removes the need for that cup of coffee. Over breakfast, she was happy to chat, sharing with me the story of the French tradition, La Gallette. According to Christel, for the month of January they serve La Gallette des Rois (The King Maker Cake) to celebrate Epiphany. Small tokens and charms are hidden in some of the slices of this delicious pastry, and those who find one are crowned a king or queen. I myself didn’t receive royal status this weekend, but I did get to witness someone else’s coronation.
Re: Reading – There is something seriously therapeutic about spending your morning getting lost in stacks of books. Which is exactly what I did after breakfast at Douce France. Just a short walk from Pape, I stopped at the used book store, Re: Reading, as I made my way down the Danforth. Offering a wide variety of books in every genre imaginable, I was able to find everything I was looking for and more! So mesmerized by the shelves, it took me nearly an hour of exploring before I reluctantly moved on from this cozy spot.
Lukumum – After a morning of pastries and storybooks, it was time for coffee number two. And trust me, Lukumum did not disappoint. Experts in coffee and chocolate (a perfect combination, if you ask me), I had their Belgian mocha with a couple of Belgian truffles. If I hadn’t spent the morning eating La Gallette, I would have also loved to try their honey balls, but I’ll have to save that for next time!
Mezes – Did you really think I would go to Greektown without hitting up at least one Greek restaurant? While there were so many options on the Danforth, I am glad that I went with Mezes. Based in age-old family recipes, Mezes believes in making a visit to their restaurant more than just a meal. By offering dishes that encourage sharing, lunch at Mezes is meant to be an interactive experience with friends and family. Although, I can admit that I would have liked to have the Patates Gemiste and Loukanika all to myself.
Allen’s – According to visitors and locals alike, Allen’s is an essential stop while on the Danforth. One meal later and I can confirm that this is, in fact, true. A never-ending beer menu, locally sourced food, and fantastic staff, I couldn’t imagine a better way to finish off my day on the Danforth. I ordered the basic burger (medium rare, as suggested by our waiter) and I was shocked at how impressive they could make something so simple. The server did tell me that they have the best burgers in the city, and by the time I was finished I couldn’t argue with him.
A full day on the Danforth, and I didn’t even scratch the surface of all the amazing things that this community has to offer. One of Toronto’s most cherished neighbourhoods, it is a great spot for both tourists and locals of all ages to hangout. And I hope that you have a chance to find all of this out for yourself. So, all aboard: Next stop, the Danforth!
Feature Image by Jessica Thevarajah
Video by Alexandra Cutler