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Toronto/Fashion District

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Greater Toronto Area : Toronto : Fashion District
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The Fashion District is in Toronto, Canada. The intersection of Queen Street and Spadina Avenue was once the centre of Toronto's textile industry; however, the jobs have long since left for cheaper places. These days the area is pretty much entirely gentrified and is losing its hipsters to up-and-coming neighbourhoods with fewer Starbucks' and lower rents further west such as West Queen West and Parkdale. The neighbourhood is centred along Queen Street running from University Avenue to Bathurst Street. The section of Queen from University to Spadina has become something of an open air Eaton Centre with chain clothing stores such as Roots and The Gap dominating; despite this, there are still enough diverse restaurants and quirky independent shops to make this section of Queen a worthwhile visit. The stretch of Queen from Spadina to Bathurst is quite another story; the area immediately west of Spadina still contains the remnants of the textile industry: a great many fabric shops. There is also a bit of encroachment on the part of the chain stores with both Urban Outfitters and American Apparel on this side of Spadina. Further west towards Bathurst, Queen starts to feel more like a residential neighbourhood, with a few cafes and grocery stores. This stretch is due to undergo significant revitalization, as a large parking lot at the corner of Portland Street is being developed into a mix of retail and residential units and a burned-out stretch of street further west is rebuilt in the spirit of what was lost.

Get in

By public transit

The Queen streetcar (number 501) runs through the neighbourhood, however it runs with traffic and can be extremely slow, to the point of being slower than walking, it can also be extremely overpacked. It is necessary to always take a transfer upon boarding this route as random ticket inspections can occur, as a result of this, if you already have a valid transfer, you can enter through the rear doors, this is only the case on this route. The 510 streetcar runs from Union Station along Queen's Quay in the Harbourfront neighbourhood and then Spadina where it bisects the neighbourhood, it ends at Spadina subway station on the Bloor-Danforth line. The 510 runs entirely in its own right-of-way and makes less frequent stops than the regular lines, making it significantly faster than the Queen streetcar, getting off at Queen Street will place you right in the middle of the neighbourhood. The 510 is extremely convenient as it connects Union Station, the Harbourfront, Clubland, the Fashion District, Chinatown, Kensington Market, the University of Toronto, the Annex and Spadina subway station. The 511 streetcar runs along Bathurst Street from Bathurst subway station on the Bloor-Danforth line to Exhibition Place in the Harbourfront, getting off at Queen Street will also place you in the centre of the neighbourhood, however this line runs with traffic making it very slow and it can become extremely overpacked. The University subway line Osgoode station at the corner of Queen Street and University Avenue is located at the eastern end of the neighbourhood.

See

  • Campbell House, 160 Queen Street West (501 streetcar to University Avenue or University-Spadina subway to Osgoode Station), 416-597-0227, [1]. Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:00 to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12:00 to 4:30 p.m., between Victoria Day in May and Thanksgiving Day in October. This is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Toronto. In 1972 it was under threat of demolition and a campaign started to save the house. It was at this time that it was moved to current location, restored and opened as a museum. Adult: $4.50; Student: $3.00; Senior: $3.00; Child: $2.50; Family: $10.00.
  • Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West (501 streetcar to University Avenue or University-Spadina subway to Osgoode Station), 416-947-3300, [2]. Mon-Fri: 8:30am-5pm. This beautiful building was originally built in 1832 to house the Law Society of Upper Canada. It now houses the Ontario Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of Justice in addition to the Law Society. The building is open to the public, call ahead to arrange a tour.
  • Canada Life Building, 330 University Avenue (University-Spadina subway to Osgoode Station or 501 streetcar to University Avenue). This building, built in 1931 by the Canadian Life Insurance Company, is one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in Toronto. The building is perhaps best known for its weather beacon, installed on August 9, 1951. The beacon shines red for rain, white for snow, and lights running up or down it indicate a change in temperature. Unfortunately, the building is not open to the public.

Do

  • Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond St W (501 Streetcar to John Street, then one block south on John), 416-368-5600, [3]. first films start at noon; last films start at 10:30pm. This is one of central Toronto's few large cinemas. It has several screens and shows mainly major, first-run films. It also has an IMAX screen.


Eat

  • Queen Mother Cafe, 208 Queen St. W. (501 streetcar to McCaul Street or University-Spadina subway to Osgoode station), (416) 598-4719, [4]. Mon-Sat 11:30am- 1:00am; Sun 12:00pm-12:00am. This place at the eastern end of Queen West follows the Toronto trend of Victorian-Bohemian cafe-bars. It serves mostly pan-asian cuisine. Dinner Entrees $12-$21; Lunch Entrees $9-$12.
  • Queen Street Market, 238 Queen St W (501 Streetcar to John Street), 416 599 6111. This historic building was once a fresh market. It is now something of a food court, it contains around ten take-out joints, of varying type and quality. You can find pizza, sushi, fried rice, bubble tea, ice cream and sandwiches here, just to name a few.

Vegetarian

  • Fressen 478 Queen Street West; 416-506-5127

Drink

  • The Cameron House, 408 Queen Street West (501 streetcar to Spadina Avenue), (416) 703-0811, [5]. Open at 4pm. This is a Queen West institution and has featured some of the biggest names in Canadian music before they became famous.
  • The Bovine Sex Club is a Queen Street institution at 542 Queen west of Spadina. It has no sign or visible window, but can be recognized on the north side of the street by the large selection of metallic junk welded together as what passes for their sign. It caters to an extremely eclectic crowd of people - some with mohawks, some who wear their mohawks inside their head - and plays an eclectic range of music. If you are not scared by the term 'punk' then you should be right at home. Note that the 'Sex' in the bar's name is purely provocative - this is not a strip club or swingers bar.
  • The Horseshoe Tavern is another Queen St. W. institution just east of Spadina, which specializes in quality modern live music. Assorted bands and artists perform almost every night of the week, at a range of ticket prices. Although the name suggests country and western, the entertainment rarely has any relation to that genre, falling instead into the broad category of Alternative Music.

Sleep

  • Beaconsfield Bed and Breakfast, 38 Beaconsfield Ave., Queen West area of downtown Toronto., [6]. An artist-and-actress couple runs this fun and welcoming 1882 Victorian B&B. C$95 to C$170.
  • Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. West, 1 (416) 531 4635, [7]. An interesting alternative to standard hotel-chain fare is the newly renovated, turn-of-the century Gladstone Hotel. It has a number of truly unique, artist designed rooms. Rates from $150.
  • Sheraton Centre, 123 Queen St W (501 Streetcar to Bay Street), (416) 361-1000, [8]. checkin: 3:00pm; checkout: Noon. This is one of Toronto's largest hotels and has recently been voted the ugliest building in the city. While it may appear horrid from the outside, it is the complete opposite on the inside. The lobby is full of wood panelling and dark red and the rooms are reasonable pleasant. Rooms on the north side of either tower provide wonderful views of Nathan Philips Square and City Hall. $130-$200/night.
  • The Rex, 194 Queen St W (501 Streetcar to Simcoe Street), 416 598 2475, [9]. This hotel is nearly a Toronto institution, with the restaurant playing host to some of the greatest jazz performers. $75-$100/night.

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