Hipster by Joel Bedford
If you are a young, self-respecting member of the hipster sub-culture and you’ve just moved to the great city of Toronto, you might be in danger of falling into an existential crisis of Kafkaesque proportions if you don’t see a satisfactory number of people with thick-rimmed glasses, super tight jeans, and a Jack Kerouac book in their hand, hanging around your place…
No worries, our hip, intellectual friends! The solution to these problems is more than easy to find, you just need to know where to look. Toronto is indeed a great place for hipster development — no irony there. The areas generally considered to be the most essential part of the city’s hipster geography is not difficult to identify, since it only features a few streets: Dundas West, Ossington, and Queen Street West, together with a couple of blocks further to the West and nicknamed, not too creatively, West Queen Street West.
Queen Street West would probably be the most legendary place for eternal authenticity seekers. You can walk around and pop into Criminal Records to get your original vinyl copy of Freewheelin’ or buy a vintage Joy Division poster. When you get bored there, go to Magic Pony, an art gallery and store at the same time. If you’re lucky, you might arrive during one of the numerous art performances and concerts organized in the venue. For the evening programme, make sure to check out the Horseshoe Tavern, with its daily musical guests.
Situated in the middle of picturesque Portugal village, Dundas West will surprise you with its stylish cafes, where you can relax, sip fair-trade coffee, and read your new Noam Chomsky essay collection in a “totally deck” atmosphere. Some of the best spots include Ezra’s Pound, The Communal Mule, and Ella’s Uncle.
I recommend visiting Ossington after the sunset. Discovering local bars is a must for all hipster explorers and, trust me, if Charles Bukowski were still alive, he would definitely hang around waiting to be invited for a glass of whisky. Small, cosy pubs with varied clientele and reasonable prices will be perfect for you. Check out Sweaty Betty’s, The Dakota Tavern, or The Crooked Star to feel the vibe yourself.
Finally, West Queen Street West has undergone its renaissance over the past couple of years. From the worn-down immigrant and low-income housing area, it has become a regular hipster spot, full of trendy bars, restaurants, and art galleries. Find an old Holga camera in one of the antique stores to produce the most artistic black and white pictures or find your dream home in an old factory building turned into loft apartments.