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For the untourists. Our favourite little bits.

Our Toronto

This guide is not for the average Toronto tourist. It won’t show you the best place to buy tacky souvenirs or showcase the same old attractions.

Toronto's so much more than the downtown core.

We’re featuring the vibrant neighbourhoods and hidden gems around our beloved city where contemporary arts, tech and culture thrive and tolerance is celebrated. It’s a greatest hits, a problem solving tool, a cheatsheet for unlocking our city in just a few days.

Created by TWG and Wavy—our people joined forces to share their favorite local hangouts so you can experience Toronto like you live here.

Whether you prefer boutiques or local crafts, cocktail bars or dive bars, fine dining or snack shacks, galleries or street art, we’ve got you covered.

This city is a great place to build a startup, it’s home to one of the most diverse groups of people on the planet and it’s a place we’re really proud to live.

We’re so happy you’re here!

Ossington & Bellwoods

A magical neighbourhood in the West end. Perfect for park strolling, people watching, window shopping, and some seriously good food and drink.

  • Tokyo Smoke


    This walk-up espresso bar is so cute that it's won international design awards. A perfect stop before a walk or picnic in Bellwoods park. If you step inside, they've also got a selection of high-end cannabis products to browse through.

    — Wavy

  • Type Books


    This shop is a great place to find your next read or to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street. As soon as you step foot inside, you'll feel the literary magic going on. They put great care into their selection of books, so be sure to check out their staff picks up front.

    — Wavy

  • Bellwoods Brewery


    An Ossington establishment with craft beer, a great sharing menu, cozy vibes, and one heck of a patio. If you feel like some Bellwoods to go, stop by their bottle shop (located right beside the brewery) and grab a couple brews to enjoy later!

    — Wavy

  • Noteworthy Mentions

    • Communist’s Daughter · Hidden bar

    • Superpoint · Pizza joint

    • Sweaty Betty’s · Backyard patio

    • FAWN · Clothing

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This neighbourhood is known for hidden bars, street art, and bit of grunge. It’s also known as ‘Vegandale’, so there’s no shortage of plant-based fare.

  • Chantecler


    “This is your best bet for oysters with ambience in Toronto. This little French spot serves up delicious plates (get the buttermilk fried mushrooms) which are ideal for sharing and the dimly lit
    bustle behind the unassuming front will make you feel très cool. Make reservations for groups larger than two at peak times.”

    — Adrienne Marshall, Business Development Manager TWG

  • Harry’s Charbroiled


    Travel back in time at this retro dive bar that's serving up your greasy favourites, pouring simple cocktails, and blasting loud music. Their vibe is definitely old-school - with twinkly lights, diner booths, a jukebox and all. We recommend getting the plain-Jane burger (or two) and bringing some dough, because it’s cash only.

    — Wavy

  • North Standard Trading Post


    A true Canadian clothing and lifestyle shop that has cabin-worthy vibes. Whether it's sweaters, bags, blankets, or coffee mugs, they've got the goods to get your cozy on. They even have their own line of accessories! Look for clothing and caps with a bear’s face on it - he’s their mascot.

    — Wavy

  • Noteworthy Mentions

    • Milky Way · Lesser known Graffiti Alley

    • Nouveau Riche · Vintage shop

    • The Future of Frances Watson · Clothing

    • Shameful Tiki · Cool bar

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Kensington Market

A small neighbourhood with a whole lot of personality. From vintage shops, to street food, arts spaces, and tiny bars, this area is a bohemian paradise.

  • Kid Icarus


    “I always make a point to stop here when I’m in Kensington. It’s a treasure-trove of prints, cards, jewellery and handmade housewares from local artists. Great place to find a unique gift. They’re also a screen printing studio!”

    — Fiona McDougall, Designer TWG

  • Seven Lives


    This little spot is serving up Baja style tacos to a never ending line of Kensington-goers. That line is there for a reason - their tacos are damn good. Make sure you order the ‘Camarones A La Diabla’, aka the spicy shrimp with cheese and the chips and guac to go.

    — Wavy

  • Handlebar


    A local watering hole that has Ontario beers on tap and rotating schedule of live music, DJs, and karaoke. With a laid-back vibe, bicycle decor, and a cute patio outfront, we think it’s the perfect spot for some people watching in this eclectic neighbourhood.

    — Wavy

  • Noteworthy Mentions

    • Blackbird Baking Co. · Amazing bakery

    • Pow Wow Cafe · Delicious food

    • Thirsty and Miserable · Beer, and pretty much nothing else

    • El Ray · Mezcal bar and good bites

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Queen West

This vibrant neighbourhood is perfect for endless shopping at indie boutiques, dining at cozy restaurants, or rocking out at a live show.

  • Nova Cannabis


    “This is one of Toronto's newest (and more importantly legal) cannabis stores. Whether you’re wanting to buy some pre-rolled joints, oils, capsules or flowers - you’ll find a certified sales rep ready to help you once you arrive. They've got you covered for all your green thumb needs, with a wide variety of cannabis that's been Canada-grown.”

    — Taylor Jones, Community Lead TWG

  • Cosmos Records


    “This record store has been a hidden gem staple among DJs worldwide for years. They've got one shop for jazz and one shop for funk and soul (both on Queen West), with some rock and hip-hop sprinkled in. The owner, Aki, is an encyclopedia of music knowledge and I've seen records here that I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.”

    — Colin O’Shea, IT Administrator TWG

  • The bar at Alo


    “You’re never going to get a reservation at Alo but the bar takes walk-ins! They serve a mighty a la carte menu and you get the added benefit of making friends with your highly skilled barkeeps.”

    — Neha Thanki, Account Director TWG

  • Noteworthy Mentions

    • Cops Doughnuts · Hidden doughnut shop

    • Tequila Bookworm · Great bar and sharing plates

    • 401 Richmond · Art galleries, shops, and secret patio

    • The Cameron House · Live music

TWG x Wavy

This guide was produced in partnership with our friends at Wavy—whose mission is to inspire people to explore more often and find locals only experiences without the hassle.
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