Sunday 11 December 2016

24 hours in Toronto: A perfect day in West Queen West

Canada calling

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

The Drake - a boutique hotel in West Queen West.
The Drake - a boutique hotel in West Queen West.
Tour Guys, Toronto
Trinity Bellwoods Park
The Lakeview restaurant

West Queen West is where Toronto is trending, says Thomas Breathnach. Here's where to get stuck in.

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10 am: Brunch at The Drake

Nothing says West Queen West morning like a lazy brunch. For the best in the 'hood, head for The Drake (above): a boutique hotel wunderkind and all-round Toronto institution.

Amid its funky industrial scape, you'll find urban creatives chowing on a menu that ranges from superseed granola to fried chicken, waffles and fresh Niagara cherries. Want a side of sunshine? Hit the Sky Yard roof-patio.

How: thedrakehotel.ca; drake breakfast C$15/€10.50

2pm: WQW art crawl

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With such creative curb appeal, it's little surprise that West Queen West also houses Toronto's art and design district. Set your artistic compass with a WQW graffiti tour taking in Toronto's edgiest street art.

Or, simply mosey around the eclectic range of galleries from Propeller (propellerctr.com) to the Birch Contemporary (birchcontemporary.com) and the recently opened Ellephant (ellephant.org).

How: See tourguys.ca (free, but tip what you think the tour is worth). Not an art lover? Join their beer or bacon tours!

5pm: Chill out with Toronto Parklife

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May in Toronto means sunshine and maple trees. Trinity Bellwoods park, flanked by West Queen West, is the city's true alternative green-space - you'll feel right at home here with your fedora, rescue pug or ukulele. Head over in the early evening and join the locals for some yoga, bocce or slack-lining (that's tightrope walking for hipsters). Oh - and there's an indoor pool too, if you fancy a cool down.

How: trinitybellwoods.ca; farmers' markets on Tuesdays.

8pm: On the edge at Ossington Ave

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Once notorious for shoot-outs in karaoke bars, today, super-gentrified Ossington Ave surely ranks as Canada's coolest block. For nightlife, explore the quirky hide-outs that sandwich its funky concept stores: from Reposado Bar for its freshly-squeezed Margaritas to Sweaty Betty's, WQW's original dive bar. Come closing time, grab a booth at funky 24hr Lakeview Diner for a chaser of disco fries and poutine!

How: ossingtonvillage.com; reposadobar.com; facebook.com/sweatybettystoronto; thelakeviewrestaurant.ca.

Do it

Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies direct to Toronto. Visit seetorontonow.com for more info.

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