We took to the streets in the west end for a rip-roaring good time at the second annual Bloorcourt Arts & Crafts Festival! Bloor was shut down between Dufferin and Montrose, and the neighbourhood was singing its own praises at the event, which was organized by the Bloorcourt Business Improvement Area.

Chances are if you live there, you already enjoying the stunning Bloor Gladstone Library, Dufferin Grove Park, Dufferin Mall, and more within a vibrant residential community still close to downtown. (Shh – sorry y’all, the secret’s out.)

A wide array of cultural diversity flowed through the streets in this multi-cultural and eclectic neighbourhood, making for a fun afternoon. To explain this scene a little more, strong family communities with Portuguese, Italian, East African, Ukranian, Japanese, Greek, Caribbean and South American roots co-mingle with a newer wave of young artists and students (and people who are young but do not make art or go to school) which makes for an all-encompassing fun mix.

Only in its second year, the community was eager to please and entertain the crowds all day long and stretching into the night. The afternoon had festivalgoers checking out a (comedic) Wrestling Match, dancing around the streets to live bands outside coffee hub Saving Gigi’s, or taking your kid to a bouncy castle. Before, after or in between you and your grateful mouth had lots to taste and sample, like BBQ corn, sugar cane juice, churros, spanakopita, samosas, tacos, falafels, baklavas, injera, jerk chicken, roti, pulled pork, craft beers and more, all within a few blocks.

Hand painted and one-of-a-kind signs using reclaimed wood by Awesome Fortress might make your living room walls super happy, don’t ya think? We ran into our favourites at Hot Pop Factory, the awesome couple that prints out 3D jewelry you can design and custom order, and they were also selling (and wearing) glasses made out of cardboard boxes! So cool. The Hot Pop machine was out on display in all its glory and working away, like the craft robot that it is. The decorated vintage housewear pieces and accent pillows by Sass & Ginger would brighten up any drab couch. A booth like nothing else sold leather face masks by Andres Murillo, some slightly spooky, perfect for that costume party, or sexy night in if you’re into that sorta thing? Very eyes wide leather. Vegans need not apply. A special message to craftician Kalpna Patel, who crafted the beautiful Stay Gold necklace pictured below in the gallery: we throw “Stay Golden” parties that someone needs to wear that necklace to; it’s meant to be!! Tattooed fire-breathing busker with a heart of gold Ryan Opar of Oparty Stunts brought a moment of danger to the scene, and it was needed after walking by the kiddie play area.

One of my faves of the day was some kind of girl scout/woodsy day-long installation, the Carl Wagan Bookmobileby Shannon Gerard of OCAD. It featured a tiny ‘campfire’ that guys gathered around playing ukuleles, and marshmallows being roasted for s’mores over a single flame. Sooooo cute! It was like every best moment you had at summer camp come to life, with adults, on the street. Plus lots of books. Toronto, how I love thee. Oh dear, this list could just go on and on, there was so many arts & crafts to ogle, each booth as unique as the next. Bloorcourt, represent.

~ Becca Lemire

Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)