As we enter the holiday homestretch, I thought it would be nice to finish the year identifying things I love about Bayview from a business perspective.
Here, in no particular order, are 10 things I love about Bayview:
Boutique La Muse
I first wrote about Sarah Barr’s new women’s clothing store in July. At the time she was working 15 hours a day hopeful business would remain brisk so she could hire additional staff and cut back on her draining schedule. Since then, I’ve been in several times with my wife and each time the store’s been filled with shoppers and staff, a sign that Leasiders are supporting one of the newest entrants to the Bayview fashion scene.
The Bagel House
What would the weekend be without a trip to the local bagel shop? While I hate waiting in line for anything, The Bagel House’s bagels are worth it and I’m pretty sure all the people waiting with me in line Saturday morning feel the same.
Lit Espresso Bar
Although I’m a Starbucks guy and have been since I lived in Vancouver in the mid-’90s, the street is stronger because it has an independent coffee shop providing competition and a good alternative to the corporate behemoth. Owners Nicole Stone and Joe Angellotti celebrated their second anniversary this past summer. Here’s hoping the duo have plenty more and their cash registers continue to get lit up.
If you want excellent bread, COBS is the place. A franchise operation originally from Australia, the company opened its first Canadian store in 2003, and the Bayview location in 2005. It was originally a corporate store until bought by current franchisee Fiona Boylan in 2010. Pretty tasty.
De La Mer Fresh Fish Market
It’s hard to believe our local fish market’s been open seven years. But when you have a good idea like the one owners Blake and Dave had back in 2010, combined with a love of food, it’s easy to see why they’ve now got additional stores on the Danforth and in Roncesvalles. Seven years on, it’s hard to imagine Bayview without a fishmonger on the street.
My home away from home, come rain or shine, I’m there twice a day, sometimes more. Adam, Melissa, Martin, Karen and the rest of the staff are always smiling and having fun behind the counter. It’s great to see from a corporate chain. Big doesn’t necessarily have to be bad.
If you haven’t been to the cold-pressed juice store wedged between Hero Burger and Pagnello Antiques, you should go, if only to say hi to Nadeem and Mohamed, the uncle-and-nephew team behind the operation. Two of the nicest people you will ever meet, they’re moving south in December to the spot formerly occupied by Tinto. With a bigger space and a patio for customers in the summer, Refuel’s success should continue to percolate.
While I could do without the carcasses of beef hanging in the front window – my wife’s a vegetarian and I’m a pescatarian – there’s no denying the butcher’s created a beautiful store, arguably the finest renovation on Bayview I’ve seen since moving to Leaside in 2009. The size of the lines on the weekend suggests they won’t be disappointed in the return on investment.
The Bayview-Leaside BIA has come a long way in just two years. It’s got a very professional website, is running events like the recent second annual Apple Festival. And of course, who can forget the job the Bayview Pixies are doing to keep the street beautiful? Two requests: First, keep your directory up to date. A number of businesses listed no longer exist, like the long-gone Elegant Garage. Second, how about setting up a Bayview-Leaside BIA e-commerce site where people can buy products online from all the different stores in one shipment? Obviously, large items like BBQs have to be shipped separately, but if it can fit in a box, it can be part of an integrated e-commerce product.
Bayview traffic (yes, traffic)
This Christmas, as I walk out my door each day and see all the traffic backed up on Bayview, I’ll remind myself it’s the price a city pays to get with the times.
Leaside, like so many communities along the Crosstown LRT, is experiencing short-term pain for long-term gain. Once the crosstown is built, we’ll have a quick and easy route to the Yonge and Spadina subway lines.
Happy holidays to everyone who makes Leaside such an interesting place to live!