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Canada's most talked about neighbourhood for 40 years and counting!
UPCOMING EVENTS
Star Triptych / Hendrik Meurkens & Jeremy Price Quintet Sep 20th @ Rex
Kevin Quain / Pat LaBarbera & Kirk MacDonald Quintet Sep 21st @ Rex
Tomacco, The Accolades, Monroe Park, Big Smoke Brass Sep 21st @ Horseshoe
Hogtown Syncopators / Hector Quartet / Pat LaBarbera & Kirk MacDonald Quintet Sep 22nd @ Rex
Pinegrove, Florist, Lomelda Sep 22nd @ Velvet
Crnkshft Sep 22nd @ Bovine
The Divided Line, Tenth Planet, Fallen Heirs, Abandoned Souls Sep 22nd @ Horseshoe
The Sinners Choir / Jerome Godboo / Justin Bachus / Pat LaBarbera & Kirk MacDonald Quintet Sep 23rd @ Rex
Melanie Brulée Sep 23rd @ Cameron
XYLØ Sep 23rd @ Velvet
NEW BUSINESSES
Tattoo (New Venue)
567 Queen St W
OPENED Aug 2017
Cool N2
412 Queen St W
OPENED Jun 2017
Nescafé Coffee Taproom
499 Queen St W
OPENED Jun 2017
Saigon Hustle
406 Queen St W
OPENED May 2017
ShotBerry
425 Queen St W, Lower
OPENED May 2017
House of VR
639 Queen St W
OPENED May 2017
Organic Nail Bar
496 Queen St W
OPENED Jan 2017
Square Fish
461 Queen St W
OPENED Nov 2016
Seduction
493 Queen St W
OPENED Nov 2016
Junked Food Co.
507 Queen St W
OPENED Nov 2016
Paranoid Print Co.
609 Queen St W, Basement
OPENED Nov 2016
Kare
553 Queen St W
OPENED Nov 2016
Vitaly
505 Queen St W
OPENED Oct 2016
Ebisu
204 Queen St W
OPENED Oct 2016
Muse Salon
204 Queen St W
OPENED Sep 2016
Pokito
420 Queen St W
OPENED Sep 2016
The Dime
538 Queen St W
OPENED Aug 2016
Bluboho
350 Queen St W
OPENED Aug 2016
Lululemon Athletica
318 Queen St W
OPENED Jun 2016
Death In Venice
536 Queen St W
OPENED Jun 2016
 BLOG
Hamilton rents out space on Queen Street West to try to get Toronto's attention
Hamilton Consulate will be May 31 and June 1 at The Burroughs at 639 Queen St. W.
May 17th, 2017 : By Samantha Craggs, CBC News
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Province plans to overhaul OMB and give more power to cities and citizens
Reformed appeals body to be renamed Local Planning Appeals Tribunal; will provide legal representation to residents for free.
May 16th, 2017 : By Jennifer Pagliaro
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Goorin Bros Video


May 5th, 2017
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New lounge space House of VR creates immersive experiences in Queen West
House of VR

Owner and general manager Jonah Brotman demonstrates how to play one of the games at the House of VR, which is the first virtual reality lounge in Toronto Tuesday, May 2. The House of VR is a futuristic arcade, gallery and event space located in the historic Burroughes Building. - Dan Pearce/Metroland

 
House of VR

Co-owners Stephanie Payne and Jonah Brotman are opening the House of VR, which is the first virtual reality lounge in Toronto on Saturday, May 6. The House of VR is a futuristic arcade, gallery and event space located in the historic Burroughes Building. - Dan Pearce/Metroland

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A new adult play experience is ready to transport Torontonians to an alternate reality in style.

The House of VR, located in Queen West, is a lounge and event space set to be a haven for techies in the city ready to experience the world of virtual reality (VR).

Its licensed content has something for everyone, including popular VR games as well as VR experiences in art and design, tourism, entertainment, education, meditation, kids-focused content and live sports.

“VR is a new technology that has infinite possibilities and we’re excited to show people that. It feels like we’re gifting the experience to people, because it’s so new and so fresh,” said co-owner and general manager Jonah Brotman, who teamed up with longtime girlfriend and artist Stephanie Payne and his brother Noah.

Brotman first got the idea for the space after visiting a pop-up VR event at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and thought he could improve the concept and experience. To help do that, Payne was tasked with creating an inviting and bright esthetic to the space, located in the historic Burroughes building, at 639 Queen St. W. This included enlisting local artists for murals and art installations to create Instagram-worthy pieces. Even the bathroom walls can be considered art pieces.

“From the moment people walk in, they’re transported into a different world that is futuristic, fun and playful. It was really important for us to make an artistic and inspiring space. Other (VR) lounges aren’t very inviting, and we really wanted to move away from that,” said Payne, the artistic director for House of VR.

The space is geared toward two types of people: the early adopters who are ready to tackle the world of VR head-on and those looking to take baby steps. It offers two floors housing five view units each. The first floor offers guests a mixed reality green screen experience, where they’re superimposed into the game with hand controllers. It also appears on a television set in the unit, so friends have a chance to see what the user is experiencing. Scattered on both floors are 360-degree viewing pods for those looking to take a more relaxed approach to VR. Here, guests can travel to the Amazon rainforest, walk among the elephants in Africa or simply sit and mediate.

“It’s great for a lot of people who aren’t as technologically comfortable with VR. There’s a bit of an uptake when you put on a headset to learn how to do all that, so it’s great for people to understand it and realize it’s not scary,” Brotman said.

The units are meant for groups of four, to ensure each user isn’t overwhelmed by long periods of “intense gameplay.” All the walls are movable in order to transform it into an event space for interactive art battles, augmented reality art shows or VR party space.

Brotman hopes the House of VR will become a tech hub for a community that’s interested in VR technology and its evolution beyond gaming.

“We are a community of people who believe in the power of art and design. For us, VR is not an Xbox; it’s not a gaming system. It’s much more,” said Brotman.

“It’s really the potential to do anything in these new virtual worlds that people are creating.”

The House of VR’s grand opening is on Saturday, May 6. To learn more, visit www.houseofvr.com

May 4th, 2017 : By Hilary Caton
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TTC taking all streetcars off Queen St. for the summer
For the first time in TTC history, there will be no streetcar service on Queen St. Over 43,000 daily riders will be moved by bus.
May 1st, 2017 : By Ben Spurr, Toronto Star
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Queen St. West to offer free Wi-Fi in new parkette
Local BIA hopes free Internet will keep people in the neighbourhood and bring "eyes in the park and eyes on the street."
Feb 6th, 2017 : By May Warren
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Queen West streetcar riders loving replacement buses
Streetcars are backed up along Queen St. in Toronto on Feb.7, 2017. The streetcar line has 43,000 daily riders.
Streetcars are backed up along Queen St. in Toronto on Feb.7, 2017. The streetcar line has 43,000 daily riders.

Queen Street West has been plagued by construction, including TTC streetcar track repairs, for months, but some area residents are singing the praises of their alternate transit.

Buses have been running on the 501 line since last summer, and while they carry fewer passengers, transit users say they’ve actually improved service.

“Oh my God — It’s amazing! Night and day. They need to get rid of the streetcars for sure,” transit user Angela Griffith told CityNews.

Ameya Deshpande takes the TTC to work every day and says she’s getting to work quicker thanks to the buses.

“It’s actually more convenient at night,” she explained. “As well, the buses are faster than the streetcars.

“Normally, (it) takes me an hour (by) streetcar, but it takes maybe 45 minutes to reach from downtown.”

Riders say the buses come more frequently and the fact that the vehicles can weave in and out of traffic makes their commute a lot easier.

Their reaction isn’t surprising to one transit expert.

“This is the most well-kept secret about public transit — that buses, in fact in many circumstances, perform better than streetcars given the flexibility that they have,” Murtaza Haider, transit expert and associate professor at Ryerson University, explained.

“Streetcars, by default, are fixed-route guided transit systems, so if one streetcar is stuck, all the ones behind it will also be stuck because they can’t overtake it. So, for all sorts of operational efficiencies, in many places buses have been much more proficient and efficient.”

But would the TTC consider ending its bid for more streetcars and return to buses? Spokesperson Stuart Green says no.

“It’s not something that we’re going to start taking away. We’ve got a bunch of new streetcars on order, as you know, and so we’re quite committed to running streetcars,” he said.

According to Green, each new streetcar delivered by Bombardier takes three buses off the road.

“If we were to replace the new streetcars with buses, we’d be having three times as many vehicles on the road, which only adds to congestion, which adds to gridlock,” he said. “It adds to poor air quality, and that’s not something we’re prepared to do.”

It isn’t just the amount of people streetcars move that make them a better choice for downtown streets, according to Green.

Streetcars last a lot longer than a buses do, which means the TTC replaces vehicles less frequently. As well, fewer vehicles are required, which means cheaper operating costs.

Plus there’s the environmental impact.

“The streetcars have no emissions the way a bus would and they actually, in their own rights of way, can reduce congestion quite considerably,” said Green.

Jan 24th, 2017 : By Ginella Massa, City News
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Horseshoe Tavern

 




Jan 22nd, 2017
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Death In Venice



Jan 22nd, 2017
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Square Fish
Square Fish Toronto

Square Fish is a little sushi restaurant in the big pond of Queen and Spadina. Located on the textile strip of Queen West that’s slowly turning over to other kinds of businesses, this place is going to have to do a lot to stand out in an area that’s oversaturated not only with other sushi options, but fast casual choices from almost any cuisine you can imagine.

Luckily, that’s exactly what they plan on doing. With a menu of square sushi that incorporates fish prepared using a variety of techniques from raw butchery to curing to blowtorching, handheld sushi burrito rolls, and doshi (donut sushi) they’re already turning heads.

Square Fish TorontoThe interior is super small but bright and colourful and not at all constricting. Murals done by Toronto illustrator Kellen Hatanaka are inspired by fishing lures.

square fish torontoThe doshi is what I’d likely most recommend coming here for. We go for tuna ($9). Two rings of sushi rice, the bottom one wrapped in cheese and deep-fried until crispy, sandwich a harmonious combo of lettuce, seaweed salad, classic sauce, mango, edamame, spicy mayo, corn, and tuna.

That’s topped with tuna, avocado and sesame. Square fish recommends slapping parchment paper down on your palm and eating it like a burger.

Square Fish TorontoFor a handheld roll we go kim chi beef ($7 for a hearty half size, $12 for full). Other diverse options include, chicken, scallop, shrimp and veggie. It’s seasoned beef combined with kimchi for a complete flavourful bite, along with mango, sweet crab meat, avocado, pickled radish and carrot, beet, tempura crumble and lettuce wrapped in sushi rice and seaweed.

square fish torontoWe do up a signature combo ($11) that showcases all the square or “mosaic” sushi Square Fish has to offer. A salmon piece is topped with fresh salmon with cured salmon in the middle, and is garnished with fish egg and basil microgreens. This and the tuna are pretty basic tasting, but yummy.

Square Fish TorontoThe same beet that's in the beef roll tops one of the sushi pieces, along with a teeny dollop of avocado puree. The beet is prepared sous vide style, as are as many items as possible, creating a contrast between creamy avocado and crunchy beet.

Square Fish TorontoA seasonal roll is incredibly enough topped with Cracker Barrel cheese and blowtorched, but the effect is pleasing and almost hamburger-y, spicy and salty.

Square Fish TorontoThey like to say that the space is divided into “square” and “fish”: there’s a ledge facing a window at the front with the murals, then up two small steps is the tiled area where you order your food and beyond that the back area where it’s prepared.

Square Fish Toronto

Photos by Hector Vasquez
Jan 1st, 2017 : By Amy Carlberg
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