Bloor-Yorkville is definitely open for summer

Bloor-Yorkville is definitely open for summer

Head over to the neighbourhood with the most—to shop, hang out, pick up a gourmet meal, or enjoy the warm weather on a patio

Photo by Hugh O’Brien

There’s no other place like it: Bloor-Yorkville is a hub for great style, culture, art and wellness, with more that 700 designer boutiques, restaurants, hotels and galleries located within its few city blocks.

Now, more of the mainstays of this eminently strollable neighbourhood are open for business again—just in time for summer. Here’s a roundup of some of the must-visit spots.

Great Dining and Takeout

The quintessentially English gastropub The Oxley (121 Yorkville Ave.) is a spot for cask-conditioned ales and Pimm’s cups (available now to go, along with a commendable wine list) plus a fish-and-chips fest that takes place every Friday starting at noon. You can also take away the comforting house favourites—lamb curry, hand-chopped burgers, and fish and lobster pie. Three patios are open to serve you: The Front, The Courtyard and The Terrace.

Yamato (24 Bellair St.) has served authentic Japanese cuisine since 1983. For that entire lifespan—until the recent pivot to takeout—scores of regulars have celebrated special occasions at the lively teppanyaki tables or nestled into a seat at the sushi bar. Come for the delicate grilled sea scallops, sukiyaki and kobe beef, and the uncommonly good nigiri, including uni (sea urchin) and kinmedai (golden eye red snapper). Patio is set to open soon!

For more than 35 years, Summer’s Ice Cream (101 Yorkville Ave.) has served up gourmet homemade ice cream, in delicious flavours such as lemon meringue, cherry cheesecake and Credit River turtle—made with premium Callebaut chocolate, pecans and creamy caramel. Best of all for social distancing, you can order by a sidewalk-mounted speaker and they’ll bring the order out safely to you.

The arrival of Eataly (55 Bloor St. W.) was one of the culinary highlights of the last year in this city. The Italian marketplace with restaurants has made its fresh produce, artisanal pasta, freshly churned gelato, Neapolitan pizza and Italian and pantry staples available for delivery and takeout.

Great Culture

Photo by Steve Jackman Creative

Art galleries have been populating Yorkville since the culture boom of the 1960s. One of the oldest is family-owned Loch Gallery (16 Hazelton Ave.). Established in 1972, the gallery specializes in Canadian and European historical works and in established contemporary artists, with an emphasis on paintings and sculptures.

LUMAS Toronto (159 Yorkville Ave.) is focused on museum-quality, limited-edition photography re-prints, including those from fashion shooters like Michel Comte, greats like Berenice Abbott and a roster of up-and-comers.

Yorkville Murals (July and August) is an annual festival celebrating contemporary mural works and public art. You’ll see new murals and artistic initiatives—including panel sessions, exhibits and screenings—throughout the summer, adding to the murals that already beautify the Bloor-Yorkville area year-round. During the month of July, a brand-new mural will be painted at 87 Yorkville Avenue by mural artist Ben Johnston with a special exhibition at Taglialatella Galleries (99 Yorkville Ave.). In addition, there will be a mural installed in the Village of Yorkville Park in collaboration with Summer Music in the Park and three Bell utility boxes in the area will be painted by local artists. Yorkville Murals concludes with a celebratory event from August 28 to 30.

Hanging out in Bloor-Yorkville while listening to great, live summer music is an annual tradition in the city. This year (with social distancing measures in place) the area will once again host another season of the Summer Music in the Park music series (July to September in the Village of Yorkville Park).

It’s a great time to take in a host of free performances by some of the city’s best artists, reflecting a range of genres. There’s jazz with the Tiffany Hanus Trio, flamenco with Jorge Miguel, traditional Cuban with Guaracha y Son, plus guitar virtuoso Lucian Gray, the Farrucas Latin Duo, pop vocalist Candace Sand and David Leask’s Celtic music.For a full list of performances, see here.

The result of an international design competition, the Village of Yorkville Park (115 Cumberland St.) is the heart of the neighbourhood—a place to sit with a coffee, unwind and take in the beautiful weather. A compendium of unique garden plots that echo the diversity of the Canadian landscape, the park includes Scots pines set inside doughnut-shaped planters, tall and slim lampposts, and the famous Big Rock—a climbing hub for everyone.

Black Goat Cashmere (131 Bloor St. W.) is a destination for hand-finished garments including pure cashmere scarves, sweaters, cardigans and gloves for men and women. The brand is super-attentive to fit, quality and finishing touches such as mother of pearl buttons and leather trim.

Trend-conscious and eminently wearable, the clothing and accessories at Aritzia (50 Bloor St. W.) bring in a cross-generational fan base of discerning shoppers who like quality, day-to-night style.

The Italian men’s sportswear brand Stone Island (104 Yorkville Ave.) is not only chic, it’s obsessive about high-tech fibres and textiles that add durability to the adventurous looks. The Yorkville boutique, opened last fall, and is the only Stone Island standalone store in Canada.

The house of Dior (131 Bloor St. W.) has a gleaming, two-level palace on Bloor Street West. Sprawling over more than 13,000 square feet, the Canadian flagship houses the latest collection of clothing, footwear, accessories and fragrances from creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, plus a stunning piece by British abstract painter Ian Davenport.