9 local Toronto businesses to check out ASAP
Hello, sweet summer! Finally, the city is opening up, and it feels so good to be out and about enjoying the beautiful sunshine.
It was a long and lonely winter for many. But it was especially hard for local business owners. Ontario experienced some of the harshest lockdowns in North America, which understandably had a profound impact on our community.
So we’re putting the spotlight on a few fantastic Toronto businesses that have pivoted, innovated and reiterated throughout the pandemic. Let’s celebrate the summer season and show these entrepreneurs some love.
While the pandemic has been undeniably challenging for the service industry, Caribbean-Asian soul food hub Patois pivoted by upping their take-out game with Heat n’ Serve meals. These include tasty dishes like the Whole Juicy Jerk Chicken and kits to make their signature rum punch at home. The patio is now open and taking reservations, and trust us – you’ve got to pop in.
Bonus: owner Craig Wong just opened a seafood and wine sister bar upstairs, Bar Mignonette.
2. ATS Store
You’re on your way to a socially distanced hang when the dread sets in – you forgot your mask. Luckily for all of us, ATS launched personal protective equipment (PPE) vending machines at 11 TTC stops.
ATS will soon have its very own clothing store on Queen Street a little later this summer, and we can’t wait to visit.
3. The Auld Spot Pub
This long-standing Danforth gem hosted holiday pop-ups and served delicious take-home pub-style meals and local brews throughout the pandemic.
The Auld Spot’s patio is open and is worth a trip to the Danforth. And if it looks a little too packed, you can always get your meal to go and visit nearby Riverdale Park to watch the gorgeous sunset.
Bonus: you can also order freshly shucked oysters any day of the week.
This Queen Street jewelry staple is all about uniqueness, which is why we love it. BluBoho’s pieces are ethically sourced with raw and refined materials and are focused on spreading love and human connection.
Celebrate the peaks and valleys in life with its stunning new ocean-inspired collection that will have you feeling a little closer to the ocean breeze.
5. Labour of Love
The eclectic and community-focused Labour of Love is constantly evolving. Based in historic Cabbagetown, the gift boutique features Raymond Biesinger city silkscreen prints and layered jewellery by B.C artist Hailey Gerrits. The store also offers LOL’s curated mix of teas and bitters, quality paper goods, elegant gold cutlery sets, and zero-waste collections.
Now that in-store shopping is back, Labour of Love is your perfect destination for gifting others (and yourself!).
6. Mamakas Taverna
If you’re a lover of Greek food, you need to check out Mamakas Taverna on Ossington. Their delicious, authentic eats and adorable patio make it the perfect Mediterranean culinary destination.
Influenced by the open markets of the Aegean, the elegant taverna is built of white concrete blocks. So if you’ve been missing travelling, a seat on the Mamakas patio will have you feeling like you’re (almost) in Greece.
7. Pure Yoga
Attention yogis! Pure Yoga’s classes are officially back on. After a year and then some, we could all use a little more zen in our lives. Following all the appropriate safety measures, you can easily book your classes online. No matter your skill level, it’s time to return to the studio and start to feel good again.
Bonus: check out Pure Yoga’s intro month – $60 for new customers.
8. Hair by Banks
Salons are finally open, and it’s time to get rid of those covid cuts. Look no further than Hair by Banks on Queen West – Toronto’s premier salon with a little something for everyone.
Their online shop kept us going throughout the pandemic and made it a bit easier to care for our hair at home. Whether you’re in need of fresh colour, natural hair care, or something nice for a special event, the talented stylists at Hair by Banks have you covered.
9. The Broadview Hotel
The summer can’t pass by without a trip to The Broadview Hotel. The beautiful outdoor patio overlooks Toronto’s breathtaking skyline, and the hotel’s refined menus feature locally sourced southern Ontario produce and fabulous specialty cocktails.
Bonus: if you’re looking to plan a larger celebration in the future, make sure to check out The Tower set on the 7th-floor rooftop. The Tower is a gorgeous yet intimate setting to host a private dinner or reception with an extraordinary vaulted ceiling, warm wood tones, and historic arched windows.
A final word
That just about completes our list of unique Toronto businesses to check out this summer! We know there are a ton of other gems in the city and that’s why we’re so passionate about helping fellow entrepreneurs.
Feel free to let us know and comment your favourite Toronto businesses below. Here’s to a safe and happy summer.
Learn more about Carte Blanche Studio
We’re Toronto’s leading creative agency, working to build a more connected future. We love the city we live in and the vibrant businesses that make it. Visit us online to learn more.