REAL LIFE STORIES
A neighbourhood is all about relationships. Relationships old and new inject energy and optimism. And West St. Clair West is a place where you will find both. From local retailers that have called the area home for decades to new businesses that see the untapped potential, this neighbourhood has a unique flavour that needs to be discovered.
NICKEL 9 DISTILLERY
Yet another gem of the ‘Aleyards District’. This distillery is famous for its small-batch spirits made from 100% Canadian apples. Created by two high school friends, Chris Jacks and Harris Hadjicostis, Nickle 9 also doubles up as a bar and an uber cool event space. The place is certainly worth a visit.
EARTH + CITY
West St. Clair West has always been a hotbed of flavour. And this fact is not lost on these seasonal food experts. “It’s great to see such strong Italian and Portuguese communities here – these cultures are so centered around food. You can have a drink on the patio and enjoy yummy food or get together and make food.” discloses Ashley Sweetman, Project Manager. The neighbourhood’s love for food and changing character has been a big draw for small businesses like Earth + City which prepares healthy, plant-based foods in tandem with Ontario’s growing season. According to Operations Manager, Alexandra, “I love the options here, there are baby stores, great gluten-free options, and Nations. It’s so inclusive and diverse. It’s great not to be too into the city”.
SIDEWALK RESTORANTE + PIZZERIA
When you run out of dinner ideas, fret not. Going to Sidewalk is like stepping into Mamma’s farmhouse. “What we’re doing here is trying to bring back that traditional food, nobody’s doing home cooking anymore.” Right from the décor to food, Tony Didiano is passionate about recreating his mother’s cooking. And if you’re looking for a recommendation, he suggests you try the Rigatoni Sidewalk. “It’s a dish that I made 20 years ago and is still the biggest seller to this day.”
A multicultural grocery store in a multicultural neighbourhood seems like a perfect match. And it is. Although relatively new, Nations totally recognizes the area’s diversity and potential. “Size and the diversity of the community, and of course, we see this is an area that has a lot of potential to be developed in the future and we wanted to be the first to capture this opportunity. We’re definitely excited,” says Lilian, Business Director. Fresh. Affordable. And they even have dim sum.
VINTAGE HOME BOUTIQUE
“We think that side of St. Clair West. has so much potential. There’s such great diversity, in terms of the communities. That section reminds me of the Junction before the development and investment – and it can be that same type of place.” says Keith. This Mid-Century design enthusiast finds ‘that’ side a perfect home for his furniture store. It’s easy to see why he loves the place so much. “This is a true neighbourhood, where if you take care of your customer, support them, and earn their trust, they will continue to shop with you. We love having this dialogue with great people – you can’t beat that”.
Carlos Rodrigues is a man with vision. He along with his artist wife, Tanzina are the owners and curators of the neighbourhood’s newest art gallery. An avid art enthusiast who believes in providing a platform for emerging and established artists, he also has an opinion on city planning. When asked about SCOUT, Carlos said, “I think it’s great… We cannot only focus on urban sprawl, we have to be building up.” One of the main reasons that brought the couple to the area was its proximity to transit. “The area has a lot of potential. We wanted to be on the transit line because people don’t usually drive by choice.”