Cheap and chic: Fabulous finds in Leslieville
Hopscotch Queen East’s hot spots with this introductory guide to easy living in the east.
Queen East, also known as Leslieville, is rapidly becoming the fashionista’s destination for cool, left-of-the field finds. Art galleries, restaurants, bars and boutiques are quickly taking over grimy auto-repair shops and sketchy local bars. For the frugal and fashionable budget, here’s a list of must-dos when you find yourself east of Broadview St on the Queen streetcar.
Value Village, 924 Queen Street East (by Carlaw).
Absolutely one of the best Value Villages in Toronto. Its accessible by the 24-hour Queen streetcar, open till 9pm everyday except Sunday (open till 6pm), and constant raiding by the stylish-in-the-know keep goods fresh. If you like a good rummage this is your zone. It stocks furniture, electronics and tons of accessories in addition to clothing for the whole family. Work your creativity on gently used garments that are cheaper than buying a roll of fabric.
Bonjour mon ami!
Bonjour Brioche, 812 Queen St East (by Winnifred)
Not exactly budget, but quality finds require quality fuel. This French style bakery has potentially the best butter and chocolate croissants in the city at $1.25 each. They also have prepackaged sandwiches for those on the go. My personal favorite, the vegetarian, is a massive, rosemary foccacia bread stuffed with olive pate, grilled peppers and mushrooms, goat cheese on a bed of fresh spinach at approximately $7. They are closed on Mondays and goods sell out by early afternoon.
Sushi Marché, 1105 Queen St East (by Jones)
A great sushi take-out, known only by word of mouth, lies further east. Chef John Lee has trained under the Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and both Eye and Now Magazines have favorably reviewed Sushi Marché. He doesn’t have a big menu or seating capacity, but his quality rolls and sashimi are worth the little walk over to Greenwood Park (5 minutes) for a picnic bench. A Maki Lunch A will set u back $12, for 12 rolls of salmon and tuna, 1 kamikaze roll and a soup/salad.
Unfurl your creativity!
Purple Purl, 1162 Queen St East (by Jones)
Knit in the shade of a tree or while you listen to your friend complain (again) about her new man. But first, learn to knit ($50)! Needle-less to say (pun intended), you'll save oodles on new clothes with your crafty new skills. Knit entrélac or even spin fibre into yarn at the Purple Purl. They sell a huge variety of yarns, books, and patterns and have workshops with materials provided.
Identity, 1735 Queen St East (by Coxwell)
In the grey zone between Leslieville and the Beaches, lies a stylish menswear oasis. Identity primarily caters to the stylish street-wise, from skaters to creative artsy types with some money. Carrying brands like Artful Dodger, Ice Cream and Millionaire Boys Club in small quantities ensures you the freshest threads when standing out from the crowd. It also has a womenswear section, but the menswear is where its at. Exclusive lines, limited editions (as in, 250 pieces worldwide) are at decent prices, considering the hard-to-get factor. Identity also has fantastic seasonal sales, at about 40-50% off.