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For a lot of reasons, moving just sucks. And that goes double for when you’re leaving a neighbourhood you love. So it’s with a heavy heart my partner and I are packing up our Mount Pleasant apartment and heading for more space via Commercial Street. It is what it is, and while I’m excited to destroy my finances and cardio at Flourist every day, I will miss many things about living a few blocks from Fraser and Broadway.
For this list, I decided to keep it to stores. The area has a ton of awesome parks and outdoor spaces, but you won’t find them here. And, for the sake of not getting anyone jealous, breweries were barred (that’s right) from the discussion. I also tried to keep things east of Main Street.
And if you’re also in the process of moving, we want to hear about it for our upcoming real estate issue—email our assistant editor Alyssa Hirose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here we go.
This area really is convenience store heaven, which is music to my ears—I’m pretty sure I was single-handedly responsible for the Circle K’s constant lack of Blue Gatorade. And while that place was a go-to snack spot, it’s hard to put it over Noor, which is a couple steps away and features shawarma as well as regular convenience fare.
I don’t want to do this, I really don’t. Believe me, no one would have been more excited about Dallas Pizza being good than me. I love pizza. It was a few blocks away. It could have been a beautiful relationship. Alas, it was not to be. This might be the worst pizza in the city—save for the big chain monstrosity that recently rolled into the neighbourhood a few blocks down.
Right off the beaten path of Main Street lies a small coffee shop called Kranky. If you’re familiar with the place, you know the owner is anything but. (Can’t say the same for another coffee shop in the hood—if you know, you know.) And there’s a reason people line up at 9 a.m. for her muffins and chai tea lattes. An absolute gem of a spot.
I told you I love pizza. And it was impossible to ignore any of these three, as they all have their calling cards to go with great pizza. Wanna watch the game and drink good beer in a cosy environment? AJ’s. Wanna make it a little more fancier but still smash awesome ‘za? Barbarella. Wanna grab a few slices for the road that are actually good? Straight Outta Brooklyn. It’s the Italian trifecta the Godfather 3 dreams of being.
I probably took the Lido for granted. And now I regret it. There isn’t a more chill, do whatever you want with whoever you want bar in the city. Sure, it only takes cash and has furniture from a bygone era. But where else are you going to get bespoke drinks while hanging out at Wolf Parade’s after show?
Korean delicacies you can’t get anywhere else and insanely cheap prices on everything from fresh noodles to rice to produce, I could spend hours in Kim’s Mart. My cooking ability has grown leaps and bounds just by rolling into this place, looking something up and seeing what I could make with it.
It’s almost unfair, because nothing else was going to take top spot on this list. There is no retail spot in the area (or, very likely, in the city) I’ve spent more time in than the Kingsgate Mall. And sure, it’s almost definitely going to be knocked down in the coming years. But I won’t soon forget the very weird and hilarious mix of stores that make up the most interesting (and, for my money, the most convenient) mall in the city.