CBC does God’s work, tracking the hipsterfication of Spadina Avenue

CBC does God’s work, tracking the hipsterfication of Spadina Avenue


Trigger warning for hipster content.

Have you walked up and down Spadina Avenue lately? If so, you’re probably a hipster, trawling the Chinatown strip, turning crummy t-shirt wholesalers into board-game cafes as if by the sheer force of fickle taste-making willpower.

Yes, Old Chinatown has a problem. And that problem is hipsters. But the CBC, ever vigilant, is keeping a watchful eye on the trendification of the street with a new interactive feature.

CBC’s Spadina’s Hipster Makeover asks readers to submit “examples of traditional Spadina shops transforming for a new clientele.” The accompanying graphic features a Spadina street sign decked out in a fuzzy beard (because hipsters love beards, and will go to insane lengths to acquire them) and sunglasses (because hipsters are extra-sensitive to the blinding tyranny of the sun, probably because they’re always hungover from drinking bespoke IPAs all night—or possibly because they’re vampires). It basically looks like if Zach Galifianakis was a street sign.

The project itself indexes Chinatown’s changing landscape, business by business. It’s hard to get a bead on what the CBC’s angle is, though the use of “hipster” always presumes the presence of predatory gentrifying agents, driving out mom-and-pop merchants to open up stores selling nothing but fixed-gear cogs and Hario kettles.

As it stands, a lot of the new and upcoming Chinatown businesses the CBC has noticed so far (like Lucky Red and People’s Eatery) seem to represent a new generation of Chinese and Vietnamese cooks invigorating the neighbourhood with Asian fusion and dressed-up bahn mi subs, while also preserving its culinary DNA. Oh no!