There’s nothing like hanging in a blazing inferno of an apartment to make you want to, well, leave. So I’ve started exploring my neighborhood, the Junction, more, and I’ve fallen in love with it all over again. There’s a lot to do around these parts, but it’s still low key enough that you don’t have to throw bows to make your way through the sidewalk. This hood was made for weekend strolling and window shopping. Here are a few reasons the Junction rules.

A sweet and sloppy history

The junction was a manufacturing village up until the late 19th century. Think: nail factories, mills, and furniture assemblies. A lot of the buildings are old and full of character, gargoyles included. The hard working peeps who slaved away making nails and putting together writing desks naturally appreciated a stiff drink after their work day, and they so loved them that by the time 1903 rolled around, the streets were basically flooded with drunken fiends. According to Wikipedia, they were such a spectacle they could be seen by passing trains. I can practically see the scowls of the disproving transit-taking downtowners.When town officials could no longer stomach their municipal embarrassments, they put a ban on liquor in 1904 which lasted pretty much until 2000. The next time you have a drink in the Junction, pour out some liquor for our historical west end decency.

Coolest antiques

It takes a ‘hood with a story to have really awesome antiques. The antiques in the Junction are the kinds you’re hesitant to put in your house because you’re scared they’ll bring ghosts with them. That’s when you know you’ve found a really good antique dealer. Am I right? Or am I right?

There’s a seriously picturesque Starbucks (3077 Dundas St.) and great coffee at Locomotive Café

If you’re in the Junction and need a triple shot, no foam, skim, vanilla latte fix, go here. It’s a treat for the eyes. The walls are covered in rustic tin and look like they were ripped out of a Victorian house. (Wouldn’t put it past Starbucks corporation to do this.) But if you’re up for an indie coffee adventure, walk a little further to get to Locomotive Cafe (3070 Dundas St. W). It’s my Junction pick. 

The Rue Morgue House of Horrors is my Future Wedding Destination

The Rue Morgue House of Horror, is a former chapel that’s now the headquarters of the Rue Morgue magazine, podcast, the Festival of Fear convention, CineMacabre movie night series, and clothing line. It’s also a wedding locale for those who dare. There’s a pew-lined cinema mostly used for press screenings, and aid pews come from a funeral home. The founder of the Rue Morque brand lives in the attic. I say lives, but he’s probably a ghost.

Bunners Bakeshop is the stuff of dreams

Bunners Bakeshop: a much more appetizing source of fun a few blocks east. These vegan and gluten free treat slingers just moved into this cool building last year. Bunners was started by a couple, Ashley and Kevin, who are probably the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. They make magical cookies (supersonic gypsy is a personal fave, since you asked).

Margret is where I want to party all the time for the rest of my life

I took a friend of mine here once and we sat down on the retro couches and he said “I’m glad to know you hang out in heroin dens.” The aesthetic of the Margret (2952 Dundas West) is seriously saucy. It’s a place you can come and drink 40’s of OE, dance your face off and feel like you’ve been sucked into a time warp. But they had me at the OE. There’s no other late night establishment in the city quite like Margret.

~ Kait Fowlie