Canada's Condominium Magazine
It must follow that if you aren’t familiar with the “hallmarks of hipness” that Vogue magazine mentions in naming Toronto’s Queen Street West the second-coolest street in the world, then you just aren’t cool. But don’t worry. Just spend a while on Queen West and you can’t help but become a little more hip. Vogue is just discovering a street that Torontonians have known and loved for generations—it was one of the first streets laid out when the first survey was done in 1793, and it has been a shopping, dining, strolling, artsy mecca almost ever since.
What’s it got that makes it so cool? The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art for one. It’s “modest in scale, impressive in design,” say the people who run it, with 6,000 square feet of gallery space forming a “nucleus of energies for cultural production and exchange.” Locating it on Queen West made perfect sense, given that the Ontario College of Art and Design, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, are both just up John or Beverley Street from Queen.
Vogue also names the Drake and Gladstone hotels, some of the stores and boutiques (Bicyclette vintage clothing for one) and the Soho House restaurant. They also mention Graffiti Alley, where street art is not only celebrated but legal (remember Mayor Ford’s anti-graffiti campaign?). It’s one of the streets where Rick Mercer films his rant for the Rick Mercer Report on CBC, which is extremely cool itself.
Queen West stretches a long way, and it seems that every storefront presents something interesting and fun to look at. It’s the kind of street that you just want to walk on. Sidewalks in some sections are extra wide, so there’s room for cafe tables, street vendors and performers of all kinds. Much of the architecture along the street is Victorian, which adds even more to the coolness of the area; it has the feel of an old small town, smack in the middle of one of the greatest cities in the world.