Fodder for Daydreams: Local spots to visit post-pandemic

Quarantine puts many things in perspective and is a constant reminder of how easy it can be to take the people, places and things we love for granted. “Once this is all over” has become a common phrase over the last few weeks, as people daydream about what they would be doing if they weren’t stuck at home or while planning what to do after the worst is over.

While we’re all working from home, we realize how much we miss the special places in our own neighbourhoods, whether that’s a local coffee shop, great independent restaurant or even the park. These local pillars are what give a neighbourhood character and with most of them inaccessible under social distancing, it’s important to appreciate them more after the pandemic.

We asked our fellow teammates which local spots they can’t wait to visit once it is safe to do so, and their suggestions created an inadvertent travelogue of fun places to explore in Toronto and Montreal. If you need fodder for daydreams or are looking for some new spots in two of Canada’s most vibrant cities, check out some of our favourites!

If you miss local cafes and baked goods:

As an unspoken rule, most of the KLC team runs on good, strong coffee and decadent bakery treats. While we are seriously missing those morning (and afternoon… and early evening?) americanos, we know that all this waiting will make that first post-pandemic cuppa taste that much better.

With so many special cafes in our cities, here are a few suggestions from our team:

Croissant Croissant, Montreal

Raphael: I can’t wait to go back to my favourite coffee shop on the avenue du Mont-Royal. Their croissants are so delicious, maybe the best in town.

Eve’s Temptations, Toronto

Fleur: Fortunately, the majority of the stalls in the St. Lawrence Market (my favourite place in Toronto!) are still open, but a couple of them have decided to stay closed until further notice. One of them is Eve’s Temptations, with great pastries and chocolates. I can’t wait to go there when they reopen and buy a delicious Nanaimo bar.

Les Co’Pains D’abord, Montreal

Chloe: I miss this small bakery and coffee shop in my neighbourhood, the staff are super nice and they always put on old songs and sing all day (plus the fresh and handmade pastries, of course).

Bakesale, Toronto

Gwen: In my hood… so yummy.

–  Ave Maria Latin Cafe, Toronto

Angela: The first place I visit will definitely be Ave Maria Latin Cafe! Located in the Annex, it’s the best Latin eatery/grocery store in town.

– Anywhere, Anytime

Diana: Any coffee shop. Love trying new ones on the weekends. My current fave is Elvy and Flo on Gerrard East.

If you miss being active or being outside:

Social distancing and isolation are definitely challenging, especially if you live in a small space. Spring is usually the season to get outdoors and engage in more physical activity. While we might not be able to go to the gym any time soon, we can take this time to discover new ways to be active once life starts returning to “new normal”. (In the meantime, check out our recent blog about how to stay healthy and fit during isolation!)

With many days of gorgeous spring weather ahead of us, we can look forward to being more active and assuaging our feelings of restlessness with some inspiration from these  recommendations from our team:

Port Union Village Common Park, Toronto

Janine: I’m looking forward to taking my kids to the playground. There’s a fantastic park by the Rouge Hill Go Station that’s always packed in nice weather and the kids can play while watching trains pass.

Barry’s Bootcamp and Spokehaüs, Toronto

Catherine: I’m most looking forward to getting back into my fitness routine.

Humber River trails, Toronto

Gwen: Looking forward to more frequent walks along the Humber River.

Abilities Centre, Whitby

Joyce: Miss my Zumba class – online just isn’t the same!

Anywhere outside, Toronto

Maggie: Honestly, just hanging out in a park with my friends and going on hugely long walks on the weekend. It’s so nice to find yourself in a corner of a neighbourhood you’ve never been in before and find a yummy brewery or café. Miss exploring my city.

If you miss going to restaurants:

Going out to eat and drink with friends, family, colleagues and clients is a favourite activity for a lot of us and a great way to unwind. We’re especially thinking about hanging on a patio with a hand-crafted cocktail as the weather gets warmer. Here’s where our team is headed once the city starts re-opening:

– Anything around Bloor and College, Toronto

Maggie: All of the Korean family restaurants on Bloor and Pour Boy for cheap beers and a pub quiz. The local bar at my corner, Dog and Tiger, Bar Raval for a fancy cocktail and The Walton for a romantic cocktail.

Bar Isabel, Toronto

Jen: I’m really looking forward to buck-a-shuck oysters, patio brunches with friends and enjoying delicious dinners at Bar Isabel on College.

Paupers Pub, Toronto

Kelly: I can’t wait for Paupers’ rooftop patio[3] to open, they have the best happy-hour deals and such a laid back atmosphere! I really like going there with my friends after work.

The Olive Board Wine Bar, Grimsby

Keera: The place I miss the most is a place called The Olive Board Wine Bar. It’s this adorable little restaurant that is walking distance from my house, so it’s perfect for date nights. They specialize in wine and charcuterie boards and even have a beautiful breakfast board for family brunches!

If you miss shopping and entertainment:

Saturday strolling, window shopping, Sunday matinées… so many things to look forward to! From enjoying a casual peruse through Toronto’s Leslieville shops to spending time at a local theatre, here are some spots we recommend checking out if you miss shopping and entertainment:

Token, Toronto

Janessa: I will be heading to Token, a really cute gift shop in Leslieville. They have some of the best birthday cards, lots of sustainable products and a tiny record store in the back! It’s my favourite place to shop for unique gifts and records.

GP Bikes, Whitby

David: While not in my daily routine, as the weather warms up I start thinking about getting back on the motorcycle again. I can spend hours poking around the store, looking at new bikes and all sorts of accessories!

Canadian Stage, Toronto

Jen: I cannot WAIT to step foot back in a theatre and see a play, musical or comedy show. I miss live storytelling.

While we all wait for social distancing measures to be gradually lifted, we encourage everyone to support the small businesses in your neighbourhood as much as you can. Whether it’s ordering takeout or delivery, shopping local online or engaging with your favourite stores’ social media, a little support goes a long way. Our communities wouldn’t be the same without these places.

Is there a local spot in your neighbourhood that you miss the most? We’d love to hear about the hidden gems in your community! Drop us a comment on social media and let us know where you’ll be headed once we’ve all made it through this pandemic together.