Neighbourhood Watch: The Annex

By: Lora Maghanoy, FW Editor

Toronto’s Annex district has a rich history that dates back to the 1800s and is now
commonly known for it’s affluent reputation. But as the years have gone by, the Annex has
become a common stomping ground for young professionals and starving students alike –
thanks in part to the University of Toronto’s St. George campus.
With a number of cheap-eat restaurants and quaint boutiques lining the streets, the
Annex neighbourhood is certainly an area worthy of your Friday nights.

Future Bakery
483 Bloor Street West
In the mood for a quick bite or a
delectable dessert? Then head on over
to this cafe/bakery which serves up
something for every meal of the day
and a great cup of coffee. The desserts
have become especially popular with
the younger crowd and those with a
sweet tooth (several cheesecake choices
and pie are common fare!). It’s next to
impossible to snag a seat on the patio in
the summer time, so try your luck before
the season ends.

Honest Ed’s
581 Bloor Street West
I’m not going to lie- the interior
of this place kind of scares me.
Overwhelming fluorescent light and
mannequins, adorned with 80s hairstyles
have become the subjects of my many
nightmares, however, this institution is…
well, just that- an institution. Founded
by the late, great Ed Mirvish, Honest
Ed’s is a virtual haven for all things
cheap. With everything from clothing
to groceries, the store has your basics
covered – with the added bonus of
random chotchkies. Everyone loves a
random chotchkie, right?

Sonic Boom
512 Bloor Street West
A warehouse filled with a vast
selection of CDs, DVDs and records – old
and new, Sonic Boom is the Annex’s
go-to spot for audiophiles searching for
that one rare find.

563 Bloor Street West
I’ve never heard of this place-up until a few months ago, that is. It was a nice summer day and we were lured by the music (I forget what was playing, but it was appealing) and the fact that it was a Thursday night. And Thursday nights at Insomnia mean one thing – Martini Night. With a wide selection of drinks, and a pleasing food menu, it’s a hip spot to spend a low-key night. Bonus: the staff is extremely nice and very accommodating.

The Madison Pub
14 Madison Avenue
Often called “The Maddy” by the U of T crowd, The Madison is a laid back spot for those searching for a cold pint and cheap food. The patio, which consists of 5 levels, is the common attraction and is usually packed in the summer evening, filled to the brim with university students looking to unwind from the educational grind.

Sushi On Bloor
515 Bloor Street West
Walking down Bloor Street, you’ll
notice that the stretch is peppered with
a number of Asian restaurants, which
should come to no surprise, since
Korea-Town is just a couple of blocks
west. Sushi seems to be the name
of the game on Bloor West and after
perusing through the many restaurant
menus (and being warned about couple
of establishments), I settled on Sushi
on Bloor and was pleasantly surprised.
The menu offers the usual Japanese fare
(sushi, sashimi, tempura) and the staff
is very friendly. While in recent days,
the establishment has been rivaled by
another sushi spot, New Generation, I
think there’s always room for more cheap
(and good!) sushi spots in the city.