6 ways Torontonians are succeeding – by being different

6 ways Torontonians are succeeding – by being different



In Toronto, “good enough” is rarely good enough. In this city, where millions of people compete for literally everything, getting by requires ingenuity, which often means reinventing things that seem like they should have been perfected long ago—things as basic as eating, drinking and buying clothes. Here, six ways Torontonians are making it work by doing things differently.


When the time comes to stock up on wine, the average Ontarian heads to the LCBO. But there is another option now—one that doesn’t involve going anywhere at all. WineWire.ca, a creation of oenophiles Nelson Abreu and Adam Bekhor, deals with wine agents to ship fine vintages directly to Ontario doorsteps, by the case. Check out their selection of Portuguese wines, for a start.


This Queen Street West restaurant stretches the definition of “finger food” with Chef Rudy Boquila’s Sunday-night kamayan feasts. The Philipino meals consist of 18 elaborately prepared elements (purple yam bread, pickled adobo egg and garlic fried rice, to name a few) served on a plate of banana leaves. The spread comes without utensils of any kind, leaving eaters to pick up even the messiest items with fingers alone. Diners quickly discover that a fork, when the food is good, is really just a crutch. Napkins, on the other hand…


The Atlantic
The Atlantic’s website sums it up nicely: “We don’t have a menu,” it says. Not only the does the Dundas West seafood restaurant not a have a printed bill of fare, it doesn’t even have set prices. Customers eat whatever chef Nathan Isberg feels like serving them (cricket charcuterie is among his odder inventions) and then they pay whatever they feel like paying. Cash is accepted, but so are bartered goods or services. Isberg claims the laissez-faire approach to billing “averages out pretty nicely.”


The Kitchen Library
Living in a Toronto condo means dealing with a tiny kitchen, which has traditionally meant foregoing bulky prep tools like stand mixers and food processors. The Kitchen Library, founded by Dayna Boyer, a marketing pro, is hoping to change that. For $9 a month, library members can borrow everything from the practical (a slow cooker) to the preposterous (a cake pop maker). The seven-day loan period is more than enough time to complete the average cooking project, and there’s no need to store the appliances afterward; the library takes care of that.


Fashion Trucks
Torontonians will line up for hours to eat tacos from a truck, and so it was only a matter of time before non-food-related businesses began trying to capture some of the four-wheeler magic. The city is now home to at least three fashion trucks—giant vans that take clothes shopping curbside at street fairs and other types of public gatherings. Mala Boutique, in North York, and Life of Manek, on Dundas West, both have trucks that are on hiatus for the winter. Fashion Truck Canada, the vanguard of the fashion-truck trend in this city, will continue hawking clothing until Christmas Eve. Starting November 28, look for proprietors Emily Dobbie and Ashley Barber at the Adhoc holiday market, at Yonge and Gould streets.


Surfset Toronto
Aside from the maniacs who ride Lake Ontario’s modest waves in the dead of winter (water temps don’t matter if the wetsuit is thick enough, bro) nobody gets much surfing done in Toronto. Surfset Toronto, a new midtown business set to open in December, dares to wonder: what if surfing didn’t require quite so much water—or, for that matter, any water at all? Using a fleet of stationary RipSurfer X boards, Surfset offers customers a completely dry, completely in-studio surf experience. It’s not quite the same as riding a wave, but it’s said to be great exercise all the same.


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