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Canada's Next Great Neighbourhoods: Dundas West, Toronto

From coast to coast, we find Canada’s up-and-coming neighbourhoods.

Move over, Little Italy. With an ever-expanding roster of wine-forward bistros and niche bars, Toronto's Little Portugal – once better known for run-of-the-mill nail salons and sports bars – is getting its own groove on. Not just a spot for eating and drinking, the area straddling Dundas Street West between Bathurst and Dufferin streets is also a place for seeing art – or creating your own in studios that welcome visitors to try their hand at something new.

Commuting time to downtown 10 minutes (driving)
Claim to fame Many a film crew sets up shop in the neighbourhood; most recently the Lakeview diner was seen in Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz .
Local drink PBR, in any number of hipster watering holes
Noteworthy nature Trinity-Bellwoods Park
Live music The Garrison
Annual event Portugal Day and Parade, every June 


Miracle Thieves
1. Miracle Thieves
Multidisciplinary artist Tiffany Naval offers up her studio for local art shows and workshops on everything from makeup application to fine-art classes for kids and adults alike. The real highlight is the open-studio night on Wednesdays, when area residents bring wine, listen to vinyl and tinker with crayons and glue sticks. "We encourage play here," says Naval.
249 Crawford St.

2. Telegramme Prints & Custom Framing
Staff at this eclectic framing and print shop will just as happily chat about homegrown talent (Doublenaut, Alanna Cavanagh) as show you illustrations by the late Cincinnati artist Charley Harper or whimsical characters by Tokyo designer Shinzi Katoh. "Anything people want, we can usually get our hands on," says manager Matt Brown and points to the shop's extensive catalogue. For a local art experience, ask about upcoming vernissages.
194 Ossington Ave., 647-351-8998

3. Midfield Wine Bar and Tavern
A wine bar for people intimidated by wine bars – that's the basic premise behind Giuseppe Anile and sommelier Christopher Sealy's novel endeavour. The 30-plus selection by the glass ranges from New Zealand rieslings to Ontario cabernet francs, all of which the owners are happy to explain in detail. "The neighbourhood was ready for a change," says Anile. With a bowling-alley floor for a bar and warehouse lockers as wine shelves, this place is turning the haughty wine bar on its head.
1434 Dundas St. W., 647-345-7005


4. L'Ouvrier
"Not fine dining, but refined dining." That's how Justine Fowler describes the bistro she owns with partner Angus Bennett. Fowler jokes it's the high ceilings or maybe the central 12-seat poured-
concrete bar that bring in scrappy youngsters as well as older, more polished patrons, but the more likely attraction is the Ontario-centric fare, such as panko-crusted pig cheek and Wellington County beef burger, at working-man prices.
791 Dundas St. W., 416-901-9581

5. The Black Hoof Cocktail Bar
Jen Agg was famous for her barrel-aged Manhattans and other libations even before opening this bar. Watch her mix a Lavender Pisco Sour or a Vieux Carré in the country-kitchen-style room, which she describes as "kind of under the radar, kind of a date space." Still, the cozy place is not without its edgier charms, complete with metal-plate ceiling and a wall stencilled with an excerpt from Agg's essay on why vodka is stupid.
923 Dundas St. W., 416-792-7511



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