There was a point in time, not too long ago, when many of us were itching to escape the city. Yes, we were looking for “more space” both inside and outdoors, but we also felt like the Toronto we once knew had changed so much, that we didn’t feel the same sort of desire to be there. The restaurants we frequented with friends had closed, we could no longer browse the offerings of our favourite stores, and all of our go-to weekend destinations just ceased to exist. The Toronto we all fell in love with, the one we poured our time into day in and day out, had changed in an instant and we were all left wondering when we were going to get it back.
Well, that day has come and all of us feel a sense of relief. The comeback of Toronto may still have a long way to go, but each day we feel it returning to what it’s meant to be: one of the greatest cities on earth. Our streets are no longer ghost towns at night, our bars are filled with chatter and laughter once again, and the city as a whole has that infectious energy that we all just want to be around. Some Torontonians may have migrated to the suburbs for a period of time, but we’re seeing more and more people moving back to the city to be a part of its rebirth.
After being cooped up in our homes for as long as we have, we want to experience life again, like it was pre-pandemic. We want to socialize with friends, attend concerts or sporting events, eat good food in an atmosphere other than our family room or kitchen — we’re eager to make up for lost time. Now that some sort of normalcy has returned to our lives, employers are calling their workforce back to the office too. In person meetings are resuming, team socials are being organized, and office spaces are being redesigned to accommodate for those who’re returning. Whereas before people could live further away from work because they weren’t going into the office as frequently or at all, people want to be closer to their company’s offices again to avoid long commutes.
All in all, the advantages of living in Toronto have returned to what they once were — convenience to some of Ontario’s top dining, retail and entertainment destinations; close proximity to some of the region’s top company headquarters; and an energetic atmosphere that’s not easily found elsewhere. Now you just have to ask yourself: are you ready to make the move?
134 Avenue Road
Osteria Giulia is one of Toronto’s newest Italian restaurants on Avenue Road, serving only the freshest pasta and seafood. Visit if you just can’t get enough of prawns, octopus, scallops and sardines.
4 Matilda Street
Looking for some dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth? Toronto’s newest doughnut shop — Cops — is a welcomed addition to the city, loved by locals and visitors alike.
265 Davenport Road
Mimi Chinese will easily become your new favourite restaurant with its curated menu and classic yet old-school atmosphere. It focuses on Southern Chinese cuisine, but also features traditional dishes from other regions.
90 Portland Street
Vela is one of King Street’s newest and most noteworthy restaurants, wowing with its interior design inspired by the city’s most luxurious hotel lobbies. It’s home to an expansive weatherized patio that’s perfect for eating al-fresco, no matter the season.
Piccolo Cafe e Vino
111 John Street
Piccolo Cafe e Vino is the go-to spot for coffee, wine and food. The location on John Street is a coffee house by day and a snack bar by night. Sit indoors or on the outside patio as you indulge in a glass of vino with friends.
54 The Esplanade
Bar Cathedral is an intimate venue, lounge and bar that’s open daily from 8pm until late. Enjoy live entertainment when you attend one of their various events, and sip on your cocktail of choice.
607 College Street
Bar Pompette is Little Italy’s new French cafe and bar, serving up freshly-baked goods and small plates. Visit for a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a speciality cocktail, and grab a seat on their back patio.
505 College Street
Once you enter Bar Raval, you’re immediately transported to the heart of Barcelona. Gaudi-inspired interior design and a Spanish tapas menu are what this bar is most known for.
Good Goddess: The Nest
101 Yorkville Avenue
Good Goddess is your all-in-one destination for everything wellness. They offer game-changing services like acupuncture and lymphatic drainage, nutritional foods like bone broth and their signature coconut cloud puffs, and clean beauty products too.
837 Queen Street W.
Chive is one of Queen West’s newest and best plant shops, offering everything from vases and vitamins to gardening tools and potted plants. They have an expansive collection of greens that are both large and small, pet-friendly and faux.
415 Roncesvalles Avenue
Good Neighbour sells a little bit of everything — apparel for both men and women, items for the home, kids’ toys, as well as bath and body essentials. It’s a great place to find a gift, or those miscellaneous items you didn’t know you needed.
Coffee and Clothing Gerrard
841 Gerrard Street E.
Calling all thrifters — Coffee and Clothing Gerrard is a recent addition to the Leslieville area, specializing in vintage apparel that’s suitable for everyday. If you’re searching for new lived-in denim, look no further than this one-of-a-kind shop that also makes coffee in-house.
Explore Empire’s communities in Toronto to find your dream home. It’s time to soak up everything this revitalized city has to offer.