While venturing east of Yonge Street may seem like heading to a different area code to some, that’s just fine with those who live on the east side of Toronto.
In fact, we’d almost prefer to keep it to ourselves, thank you.
Here are 17 reasons why the east side of Yonge is the best side.
1. You can drive faster than you can walk
Unlike Toronto’s congestion and traffic-filled streets (King West, we’re looking at you), if you have to take the car or an Uber a few blocks, you can expect way less of a day-ruining experience. And that’s a major bonus.
2. It’s easy to eat local
Naturally, one of the biggest draws is the goodness-packed St. Lawrence Market and all of its fresh-from-the-farm offerings. Not to mention, the Evergreen Brick Works farmers’ market is a quick drive, hike or bike ride away. It doesn’t get much more “local” than that.
3. It’s an escape from the revelry and drunkenness
Aside from the absence of herds of drunken partiers Thursday through Saturday, us east-enders are close enough to the core to party like rockstars, but can leave the party scene behind after last call. It’s all about balance, right?
4. The food scene isn’t a “scene”
From the St. Lawrence Market ‘hood to Leslieville, the east side is home to some of Toronto’s best restaurants, minus the showy, often obnoxious scene of most in the core. This means spots like Carbon Bar, Copetin and “The Nose.”
5. We’re a little more mature
While most of the 20-somethings opt for the party-filled downtown core or the too-cool-for-school west end, on the east side, we’ve been adulating for a little longer (meaning, you won’t find barf in our condo elevators).
6. It has a hip hotel for out-of-town friends
If you have friends in town and no place to house them, you can send them to the newly opened, talking point-filled Broadview Hotel. With its spectacular rooftop bar, they may not want to leave (making it easier for you to entertain them).
Unlike the increasingly impossible-to-find lawn real estate in Trinity Bellwoods, you can’t beat the peaceful green spaces that characterize East River. In the east end, catching a breath of fresh air on a park blanket is easy and breezy.
8. We enjoy a slower pace
Unlike just blocks west, we enjoy a slower way of life in the east end; one with fewer rushed pedestrians, back-to-back meetings and never-ending to-do lists. That may be why we take more time to savour our morning coffees (from one of our eclectic coffee shops).
9. The Bluffs are practically in our backyard
With its stunning, crystal blue water below, the Scarborough Bluffs offer a convenient mini vacation – if only for a few hours – from the grind.
10. There’s no shortage of quality beer brewing
The east end has a thing for beer; so much so that we are home to a handful of breweries, like the new Eastbound Brewing Company, East End Brewing Company and Left Field Brewery. Cheers to that.
11. We have some of the best views in the city
Whereas an increasing number of cityscape views have become a thing of the past for those in the thick of the city, the east end still features stunning, uninterrupted west-facing views of Toronto in all of its bustling glory – whether from Riverdale Park, Cherry Beach or the rooftop at the Broadview Hotel.
12. It’s easy to be active
It’s easy to actively enjoy the outdoors for the east-enders; the scenic biking, running and hiking trails of the Don Valley represent some of the last remaining natural habitats in Toronto. This makes getting beach body-ready all the more enjoyable.
13. We have the Distillery District
Aside from all of its neatly-contained restaurant, boutiques and art-filled glory, the Distillery District offers a lesson in Toronto history that’s unlike any other spot in the city. As an added bonus, we can also forego the insane traffic and walk to the madness-packed annual Christmas Market.
14. The beach
Let’s be honest; one of the best parts about summer in Toronto is the beach. And lucky for the east-enders, a trip to the Toronto Beaches doesn’t have to include a beach vibe-killing trek across the city.
15. We’re home to the Leslieville Spit
We have a little piece of view-filled natural paradise at our doorstep with the forested and wildlife-heavy Leslie Street Spit – the largest existing natural habitat on the city’s waterfront. Connecting with nature couldn’t be more convenient.
16. Our dogs live well
If you live east of Yonge, your dog gets to enjoy the countless nature trails and dog parks in the ‘hood. Best of all, however, we have not one but two dog beaches.
17. We have the best concert venues
The east end is home to character-filled concert venues that make for some of the best memories. We’re talking about Massey Hall, the Danforth Music Hall and the Opera House, just to name a few.