Hangout Handbook The Casual Businesses of Toronto
In our annual Hangout Handbook, Exclaim! asks some of our favourite artists to discuss their favourite hometown haunts. Here, Charlotte Cornfield outlines her picks for Toronto.
I almost always eat breakfast at home when I'm in the city, but I love stopping by Wallace Espresso (188 Wallace Ave) or Dark Horse (120 Geary Ave.) for an Americano in the morning. Both spots have a heavy neighbourhood vibe, make wicked coffee and always have a fresh stack of newspapers to sift through. Great way to start the day.
I've spent a lot of time on Ward's Island. It's a beautiful escape by ferry, an artsy enclave full of funky houses and winding pathways. It's also a great beach hang, and if you're in the know, you can catch a bonfire or a marina dance with a live band. Also, Artscape Gibraltar Point (443 Lakeshore Ave.), over towards Hanlan's Point, offers very affordable artist residencies for those in need of some focus time by the lake. I spent a couple of weeks there in 2014 and got a bunch of songwriting done.
Burning Off Steam, Literally
Exercise is my main way of burning off steam and dealing with stress and anxiety. I do hot yoga at Moksha Yoga Downtown (577 Wellington St. W.). The classes there are awesome and often very full so it's nice and steamy. I also go to the West End YMCA (931 College St.) — it's a clean, straightforward, well-maintained gym and I dig it.
Friends, Fun and Food
I live and work close to Dufferin Grove Park (875 Dufferin Park Ave.), which is the jam as far as I am concerned. I go there to throw a frisbee, meet up with friends and grab some lunch. They've often got food carts set up that serve fresh baked bread and salad and a variety of other cheap meals, and on Thursdays there's a farmers market from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Buried Treasures and Guilty Pleasures
I really don't like shopping for clothes, so I try to find places where I can get a bunch of stuff at once so I don't have to do it again for another year or so. Sub Rosa Vintage (16 Kensington Ave.) has never failed me in the jeans department. And I can't talk about my Toronto without mentioning the Galleria Mall (1245 Dupont St.). It's a big part of my life. Everyone should hang out there before they turn it into condos. It's unpretentious, it serves an important role in the community, and it's vibey as heck. Also, I might get hung out to dry on this one, but I love the Dufferin Mall (900 Dufferin St.). I've been going there since I was 8. Winners, Marshall's: good selection and mega deals.
East Coast Eats
Fancy dinner is not a big part of my life, but I have been to Hopgood's Foodliner (325 Roncesvalles Ave.) a couple of times and it is awesome. They do fresh, sustainable, Maritime seafood very well.
Home Court Advantage
When I'm in town, most evenings I'm at Burdock (1184 Bloor St. W.), where I book and manage the music venue. Obviously I am biased, but I think it is a freakin' great place to see a show, drink a delicious house-made beverage, eat some really good food and hang out.
I live pretty close to a 24-hour Sobey's and I think that's the best late-night thing going. I can roll up on my bike at 2 a.m., get some fresh fruit for the morning, and then be home in two minutes.
Charlotte Cornfield released her sophomore album, Future Snowbird, earlier this year on Consonant Records.