Saturday, September 15, 2007

Toronto the Good

This is $ 200 Canadian .....


This is $ 200. Canadian.......

Toronto 's Queen Street West can soon part you with your cash. This was one stop but when you are in supply land, like all good Canucks, you stock up for winter! I spent all Wednesday afternoon on Queen Street West, in Toronto. I never made it to Chinatown or Kensington market both of which were a mere kick in the butt around the corner. I had several projects in mind for the next few months and Queen West is a veritable wonderland for beaders with several new shops appearing in the last year or two. I am still more than loyal to my regular haunts but did manage to take a look/see in one or two of the newer shops which had a few unique items but quite frankly overall they don't hold a candle to my old faithfuls. In addition, I made a must-visit to Mac Fab for their amazing buttons and Sussman Bridal for trims and millinery supplies unequalled. I even managed to grab lunch today, something I seldom do when I go alone but it's been a bit of a frenzied week and I was near one of our favourite bistros, Shanghai Cowgirl and was drawn in. I mean, who could resist an offer like this one:

One has to keep in mind that Queen West is a very old district in Toronto and the shops , on average, are quite decrepid and packed very close together. I've often pondered about the fire codes and sirens play like constant background muzak in the district. Some shops are so crowded when you get inside, you can hardly swing a cat around. Known as the Arts and Design district on the newer street signs or just the " Textile district" to us oldies, you can expect that the shops are as individual and diverse as the owners themselves. Shanghai Cowgirl is a new business in the overall scheme of things but has existed on Queen for a couple of years or more. It is an eclectic place with an old forties type bar in the front with stools and a few tables and booths at the back. The infamous Brit chef, Jamie Oliver, has graced the premises and given it his thumbs up! The staff are all quite young and all very individualistic in their uniforms here, except perhaps for the tatts which are prolific, varied and colourful! In spite of the old worn wooden floors, the place is spotless and it is a kick to sit back with a " pop" and take in the atmosphere and "people watch" while you wait for your order. I think I was the only one there not sporting a pair of PF flyers ( or a tatt)! Oh, and did I mention the food is fabulous? I had a wonderful strip loin steak on a toasted bun with crisp tasty teriyaki vegetables and a side order of sweet potato fries ( one of the house specialties.) After a pleasant laid back break from arduous shopping, I headed out into the madness and flurry of Queen Street and dashed over to my old faithful, Arton Beads. The original shop, shown to the left in the picture below, is a tiny place which is packed to the gunnels with beads and findings. On the weekends, you literally cannot move in this place for shoppers and that's no exaggeration! It's literally " bum to bum" and every man for himself! Owners River and Alice, have opened a second shop right next door where you can buy one of a kinds, crsytals and more exclusive items. It is always a pleasure to shop at Arton's and you are welcomed with open arms. River in particular has a photographic memory and knows the prices of every item in the shop. When you take your baskets of merchandise to the counter, he swiftly writes everything down in pencil on a small pad and I actually priced everything on paper once myself as a little test and he hit every one spot on, right down to the tiny charms! He's a mathematical whiz as well as an excellent purveyor of beads .

And what would a trip to Queen West be without a stop at Mokuba? The name speaks for itself. The ribbons are to die for! Their newer location is so light and bright with a wonderful skylight and a contradiction to everything on Queen W. Very classy and upscale and of course, right in the heart of the textile district where you want and need it to be!

As six o'clock rolled around and weary shopkeepers were closing up, I lugged my loot towards the parking lot where my grateful bod sank deeply into the seat cushions of my car. Physically I felt knackered but mentally I was on a high and so satisfied with the day's acquisitions and events. Now to jostle and manouvre my way into the traffic ( a feat unto itself!) joining the surge to the Gardiner Expressway for the Formula 1 rally drive home!

Gardner bound!

Farewell beautiful, engaging, energizing megacity until October!


Allison Ann Aller said...

Red gold have a rich and enticing stash addition here.
What can you be planning?

It looks like a day in heaven to me!

Leonie said...

Ah yes,rich colours indeed Allie. Still prowling for some elusive additions. I'm long range planning but stay tuned!
You are right - heaven it is and the scene is so vibrant and alive it is positively inspiring! L