Corktown is one of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods. It rose up in the mid-1800s as an enclave of primarily Irish immigrants. So it’s not a surprise that the area gets its name from County Cork in Ireland. Today, Corktown is one of those neighbourhoods that shows off its historical character beautifully—as evidenced by landmarks like the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse and St. Paul’s Basilica. Although the area is less than polished, it has recently welcomed a spate of new restaurants, stores and cafes, and is an all-around fantastic daylong exploration, especially if you’re a food lover.
The holidays are a jolly old time, but sometimes you need to simply remove yourself from it all. So step on out and get a new ‘do, complete with head massage, at the Aveda Academy, where highly skilled trainee stylists help you look and feel amazing while they learn the tricks of the trade.
If you’re up early and are generally charmed by breakfast, Petit Dejeuner and Morning Glory both offer deliciously original grub at decent prices. Try the latter’s “agent 99”: ham, cheddar, fried egg, sundried tomato, aioli and delicious homemade ketchup. Or you could head down Victoria to Prairie Girl for a giant cupcake.
You’re also in the direct vicinity of champion baristas wielding consciousness-altering espresso at Fahrenheit. They’ve got a French pastry chef who prepares fresh croissants and tarts onsite.
And if you just can’t get enough after a full day of Corktown discoveries, you may find yourself out late. C’est What on Front St. is an excellent place to end such a day. Its cozy basement feel along with the 42 seasonal brews they offer from all over Canada make it a precious find. On many nights, you’ll catch blues, jazz, folk or comedy shows.