How to Spend a Day in Toronto: Geary Avenue
In our how to spend a day in Toronto series, we share how to make the most of the city’s neighbourhoods and check out places that you wouldn’t find on your typical list of must-see sites.
Geary Avenue in Toronto’s northwest end is a perplexing street of contrasts, where breweries, restaurants and art studios sidle up with mechanic garages and warehouses, resulting in something unexpected at every turn.
Unfortunately, Geary Avenue has often been considered one of the ugliest streets in Toronto—and this may indeed be true. Its industrial-style architecture leaves little to be lusted after, much less anything worthy of posting on Instagram.
But that’s what we love about it! Wandering down Geary Avenue won’t be the most picturesque moment during your time in Toronto, but it’ll be sure to be one of the most interesting. Here’s how to make the most of an afternoon on this up-and-coming strip.
To get to Geary Avenue by public transit, you’ll need to hop on the Dufferin bus (line 29) northbound from the Dufferin subway station. You’ll be on board for about ten minutes. Another option is to take the Dupont bus (line 26) or, of course, ordering an Uber or venturing on your two feet.
Start with a coffee and breakfast treat at Dark Horse Espresso. Occupying a former body shop, Dark Horse’s 80,000-square-foot café doubles as a bakery that supplies its other outposts with fresh pastries and bread. Pull up a bar stool and sip your morning cup at the counter with the locals.
Afterward, it’s time to check out some of the independent galleries strewn throughout the neighbourhood. You can diverge around the corner to Matter Gallery on Westmoreland Avenue. Matter hosts the work of contemporary artists with various exhibitions throughout the year. Take a look at their website in advance to see what’s on display.
Another one worth visiting, Canvas Gallery, is a five-minute walk away on Dupont Avenue. Canvas displays original pieces of over 80 Canadian artists from across the country. If any of the paintings catch your eye, they are available for purchase.
Design-lovers won’t want to miss taking a look at the stunning objects at MADE, a showroom brimming with modern interior decor like light fixtures, custom rugs and handmade furniture. All of the Canadian-made pieces are produced on a small-scale and focus on a high level of quality.
Feeling hungry again? Back on Geary Avenue, we recommend lunch at Parallel for some of the best Middle Eastern cuisine in town. Sample their Sesame Butter (tahini), which is house made using an ancient mill and comes in three flavours: pure, beet and smoky. You’ll see it make an appearance across the menu drizzled on salads and falafel.
For something a bit more indulgent, check out the daily lunch special at Famiglia Baldassarre. These purveyors of fresh pasta make 27 different types from scratch and serve two of their shapes with sauce from noon to 2:00 pm. There are only ten seats, and they go quick, so get there early. You can grab a gelato bar to go for dessert!
Time for a late-afternoon pint—Blood Brothers Brewing will do just the trick. This craft brewery was started by real-life brothers Dustin and Brayden Jones in 2015. Check out their website for the latest concoctions on offer in their tap room. During summer, you’ll find patrons spilling out onto the picnic tables in front of their garage-style setup, sipping on beers beneath the sun.
If a casual bite for dinner is what you’re after, grab a slice of pizza at North of Brooklyn, a local favourite that has a pop-up kitchen and order window in the bar of The Greater Good. More craft beers abound here, plus a few arcade games upstairs if you have kids in tow (or not—we don’t judge!)
Get the most of your visit to Toronto and discover the city’s lesser-known neighbourhoods on a guided tour with us! Whether you want to make some new friends on one of our group tours or do your own thing with a tailor-made private journey, our local expert guides will lead the way through Toronto’s incredible—and sometimes unconventional—hot spots.