It seems like every corner you turn, there’s a new condo popping up. Developers get a bad rep for tearing down long-loved establishments to make way for more “affordable housing” but, there is a Toronto-based developer who’s tearing down that stereotype.
Streetcar Developments has a serious commitment to communities. They’re in the business of building bonds, partnerships and relationships. Their latest venture, The Southwood Ravine Collection in the Upper Beaches, is based on those values and hopes to provide “an urban oasis” for people looking to plant their roots. We got a tour of this little known, gem of a neighbourhood and want to tell you about some of the people who call it home and a few spots we think you’ll love!
The first stop was The Art of Cheese. The cozy shop was overflowing with every kind of cheese you can imagine. We were treated to a special kind called, “San De Oro” which words can do no justice to describe its deliciousness. We met Bill Miller who owns the joint and is known as the “grand fromage” around town. He can (and will) tell you everything you ever wanted to know about cheese— history, production, pairings and more. Aside from his vast knowledge on the subject, the most memorable part was Bill’s genuine passion and incredible sense of humour!
A few doors down we dropped by Yellow House Gallery owned by Christina Kostoff. It’s a quaint fixture in the neighbourhood which specializes in framing and exhibiting local and regional artists with unique niches. Themed exhibitions and workshops are held regularly and open to anyone who’s interested.
There were two establishments which stood out because the owners actually left their 9-5, corporate jobs to pursue their true calling.
Sharon Smyl of Collected Joy says there is no rhyme or reason as to what she chooses to sell at her store, simply saying, “I only include stuff that I would personally buy”. And a lot of what she likes to buy is quality goods made by entrepreneurs. The shop is stocked with beautiful, artisan-style goods, from tea to stationary. For pretty much every item, she can tell you the name of the creator, their story and the last time they spoke. She makes it a point to build those relationships. Her store emanates a very positive energy and a lot of that has to do with her genuine intentions.
Like Sharon, Robert Maxwell, Founder & Owner of The Beech Tree restaurant, is all about quality. He left his corporate job where he was steady in front of a computer, crunching numbers, to open up this business. He said, ‘I didn’t know anything about the restaurant business, only that I know I like to serve people good food and be a part of a close community.’ He treated us to some amazing eats which are made of the strictest organic ingredients. To them, it’s the best or nothing and you can taste that throughout their incredible menu.
But the food didn’t end there. We also visited a charming little pizza place called The Stone Pizza where we tried Apple Jack pizza. Yes, that’s pizza with apple on it and it is phenomenal! They specialize in 8 gourmet-style pizzas with customizable toppings which are so fresh, there isn’t even a freezer on-site! We washed everything down with super refreshing juice by Sanna’s Farmacia. It’s a small, Toronto-based juice bar started up by Steve Sanna, a former personal trainer who would concoct specific juices for his clients. The organic juices are blended by the belief that getting the right nutrients in your system, can help remedy and prevent certain health issues. You’ll notice him cruising down the streets on his mobile shop!
And if that isn’t enough, all this and more sits along the Glen Stewart, an 11-hectare ravine alive with all that nature has to offer; the perfect blend of community and greenery. We’ve officially fallen in love with this nook of the Upper Beaches— can’t wait to come back!
Posted by Samira
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