NOW Magazine - Toronto Living - - Front Page - By Meaghan Clark toron­to­liv­[email protected] Toronto-based Meaghan Clark writes about de­sign and re­tail ini­tia­tives.

In pi­o­neer days, head­ing west was for the coura­geous or fool­ish, depend­ing on how you saw it. It was an op­por­tu­nity to start a new life in a new place but in­volved back­break­ing work. There’s new ter­ri­tory to ex­plore in Toronto’s west end, but it’s less on the stren­u­ous risk­tak­ing side, more on the re­lax­ing, fun side. If you’re on the hunt for new shops to browse and in­ter­est­ing peo­ple, check out King/Duf­ferin and Queen/Ron­ces­valles. Be­tween the in­no­va­tive new de­sign and decor stores at Lib­erty Mar­ket and the quirky shops on west Queen West, you’ll won­der what took you so long. Lib­erty Mar­ket (171 East Lib­erty, 416530-9866) is a new de­sign and re­tail cen­tre in an old fac­tory in Lib­erty Vil­lage. Other old build­ings here are be­ing re­de­vel­oped into sleek con­dos, town homes, busi­ness head­quar­ters and re­tail spa­ces, and the change has been fast and fu­ri­ous. One of Lib­erty Mar­ket’s first ten­ants was CasaL­ife (416-922-2785), whose own­ers saw the mar­ket for el­e­gant, mul­ti­func­tional and mod­er­ately priced fur­nish­ings. Be­sides out­fit­ting and ac­ces­soriz­ing your bed­room, living room, of­fice and kitchen, CasaL­ife of­fers free de­sign con­sul­ta­tions. More free de­sign info is avail­able at Dekla Scavolini Kitchens and Agape Bath­room (416961-2929). The award-win­ning show­room is full of brightly coloured, ul­tra-mod­ern kitchens and bath­rooms, the kind you see in con­tem­po­rary shel­ter mag­a­zines. The kitchen com­bi­na­tions are sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able, so if you like the idea of glossy red or or­ange cup­boards, con­sider this al­ter­na­tive to Ikea. The in­no­va­tive bath­rooms are out of this world, but their price tags are steeper. Lib­erty Mar­ket is also home to whole­salers, man­u­fac­tur­ers and show­rooms like Al­fred Sung, Gus Fur­ni­ture De­sign, DuVerre, Canadian Scooter and Cervelo Cy­cle, plus EMBA Boxing Stu­dio and King­west Fit­ness. Ar­riv­ing later this sum­mer are Oro Café, ZED Home and a brew­house/oys­ter bar. Round­ing out the list is a T-shirt man­u­fac­turer, a bou­tique ad agency, photography stu­dio, film stu­dio, pot­ter and pup­peteer. On a stretch of Queen near Ron­ces­valles called An­tique Row, old, new, vin­tage and retro fur­nish­ings, car­pets, light­ing and toys are on of­fer from in­ter­est­ing shop­keep­ers, some of whom in their pre­vi­ous lives were Je­suit priests, monks and mis­sion­ar­ies. If you live for gilt and glam­our, be sure to stop in at Era (1629 Queen West, 416-535-3305) for French-in­spired fur­nish­ings be­fit­ting a star­let or de­buante. There’s noth­ing too frou-frou or Laura Ash­ley-ish here, though. A cou­ple of doors down is rel­a­tive new­comer JDY An­tiques (1625 Queen West, 416516-9720), of­fer­ing more mod­er­ately priced pieces. Next door at 1623 is the shop (no name) be­long­ing to Al­bert, where piles of bric-a-brac re­veal hid­den gems. Al­bert will ne­go­ti­ate, pon­tif­i­cate and talk your ear off while you browse. Across the street is Jack­daw An­tiques & Trea­sures (1710 Queen W., 416-5380846), home to orig­i­nals and re­pro­duc­tions priced for all bud­gets, rang­ing from mod­est ac­ces­sories to cus­tombuilt cab­i­netry. A painted dresser with mir­ror was go­ing for $175, and signed Hey­wood-Wake­field chil­dren’s chairs for $39. Mostly Mov­ables has moved from Queen & Bathurst to 1684 Queen W. (416-531-3565) and has al­ready made its mark with re­uphol­stered fur­nish­ings of ex­cep­tional value. New to this side of street is the Painted Ta­ble (1716 Queen W., 416-915-7924). Owner Glo­ria Amos of­fers Moroc­can lanterns, clas­sic table­ware and beau­ti­fully re­uphol­stered fur­nish­ings, all of which she does her­self. An­chor­ing the neigh­bour­hood is Ar­ca­dia An­tiques (1702 Queen W., 416-534-0348), a long-time fix­ture here. More Vic­to­rian in feel, this ex­pan­sive space has great deals on wood, wicker, china and, of course, an­tiques. Retro­ma­nia (1692 Queen W., 416892-8990) owner Ge­of­frey Miller has en­tire dis­play cases of vin­tage toys. Need a retro phone for a movie set? He’ll gladly rent you sev­eral. Co-worker Cyn­thia Davis of­fers dec­o­rat­ing, shop­ping and or­ga­niz­ing ser­vices. Throw in a cou­ple of moody Afghan pooches and you’ve got an af­ter­noon to re­mem­ber.

Toy from Retro­ma­nia

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