Exploring Toronto’s West End
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Exploring Toronto’s West End

Stacey Brandford
Once a dowdy working-class strip, the West End’s Ossington Avenue has been transformed into a high-style hub for galleries, shops, and restaurants.

1. Pizzeria Libretto

You may have to wait 30 minutes for a table, but the slices are worth it—even the classic margherita, made with San Marzano tomatoes, fior de latte mozzarella, and basil.

Dinner for two $50.

2. Virginia Johnson

Former Helmut Lang accessories designer Virginia Johnson silk-screens travel-inspired prints onto paper-thin merino wool shawls, colorful canvas bags, and cotton dresses. Best find: totes with whimsical camel motifs.

3. Watusi

Mad Men’s Don Draper would fit in perfectly at this retro yet intimate cocktail lounge and restaurant, where the music lineup switches from dinner-hour crooning to late-night up-tempo beats.

4. Ministry of the Interior

Toronto native Jason MacIsaac curates offbeat exhibitions (say, the work of a Parisian sticker maker) and sells one-of-a-kind pieces by design companies such as Established & Sons at his 2,300-square-foot shop.

5. Union

Although owner Teo Paul’s new restaurant is French-inspired (open for café au lait and croissants in the morning, then nonstop till closing), the food is local—elk sliders, roasted Red Bro chicken.

Dinner for two $89.

6. Jonathan + Olivia

At this men’s and women’s clothing boutique, the parquet is newly bleached, the space airy, and the hip credentials impeccable: APC, Acne jeans, and Isabel Marant are just a few of the labels you’ll find.

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