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Entries in our neighborhoods (29)


our neighborhood: toronto

The history of Toronto began not long after glaciers created the Great Lakes thousands of years ago—including Lake Ontario, the eastern most of the five.

Soon various Indian tribes settled its northwest shore including the Mississaugas, Huron and Iroquois—Toronto is most likely Iroquois ‘tkaronto’ for the ‘place where trees stand in the water’, or a man-made natural corral to easily catch fish.

In the late 1700s, the British monarchy purchased the land from the Mississaugas and Toronto was incorporated as York in 1834. In those many years, British loyalists fled America for Canada as did escaped slaves and immigrants from Ireland during the great famine.

Since then, Toronto has become the largest city in Canada and the capital of Ontario—and with just over 50% of its population native-born, it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world.

By the 1860s the Gooderham and Worts Distillery is said to have become the world’s largest whiskey factory and the industry established the Distillery District. While many significant architectural structures were demolished in the 60s and 70s to make way for modern buildings, the district maintained many of its Victorian era industrial architecture. 

The city has seen its share of natural disasters—most notably the Great Toronto Fire of 1904 and Hurricane Hazel in 1954—which create opportunities to rebuild and modernize.

The distinctive CN Tower was completed in 1974 and is not only a key feature of the city’s skyline, at just over 1,815 feet (553 metres) it’s still the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Thankfully the city’s street car system from 1891 remains—and as renovations of buildings and neighborhoods are done—the mix of the old with new is unique and charming.

Today, the Toronto Public Space Committee protects the city’s many public spaces including city squares and parks and its revitalized waterfront.

Besides its fifty-plus ballet and dance companies, Toronto has been home to the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1958—and the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the original six clubs of the National Hockey League. And since 1995, the Raptors are the only NBA team outside the US.

With the cold winters come inside activities including sports and movies. Home to the first permanent IMAX, the city has been seen on the big screen in Atom Egoyan’s Chloe and David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch and the soon to be released Cosmopolis.

It’s also the home of CB2’s first location in Canada—where many remember theBig Bop music venue—at Queen West and Bathurst. 

Special thanks to darryl, store manager Queen West, for the photograph.


our neighborhoods: minneapolis

photo by: chadly Thousands of years ago, receeding glaciers created the Great Lakes and Lake Itasca in Minnesota—the source of the Mississippi River.

Minneapolis—a combination of ‘mni’, Dakota Indian for water, and ‘polis’, Greek for city—this metropolitan area is not only divided by the river, it’s combined with the state capital of Saint Paul giving it its Twin Cities nickname.

Various lakes, ponds, wetlands and rivers make up about six percent of the city, provide a livelihood and recreation for many residents—and in 1855, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the author of The Song of Hiawatha, named Hiawatha’s wife in honor of the 53’ Minnehaha Falls.

Abundant natural resources fueled the growth of Minneapolis—forests supplied wood, the vast landscape supplied wheat and fed livestock, and the great river supplied power to wool, flour, paper and saw mills.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the city saw remarkable growth as it became the world’s capital of flour and a key resource for timber. In addition, railroads to Chicago opened in 1867—the year the city was incorporated—and provided easy distribution of these semi-processed raw materials across the country.

German and Scandanavian immigrants adapted comfortably to the climate and job prospects and today their descendants make up over 40% of the population. Its Native American community is also strong as descendants of Chippewa, Sioux and Dakota tribes not only make up sizable portion of the population, their heritage can be seen and felt in many aspects of the city.

During the 1950s and 60s, unfortunately the city’s Gateway District was razed—along with many other architectural landmarks—however historic preservation of other buildings followed as a direct result.

And rebuilding has granted exciting opportunities for current architects to create modern works such as the Weisman Art Museum, or WAM. Designed by Frank Gehry it’s a teaching museum for the University of Minnesota. The modern works wing of the Walker Art Center—designed by Michael Graves in 2006—is home to 100,000 works of art and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Printing and publishing naturally came to the area as an extension to the paper milling industry and includes Open Book—the largest arts center of its kind in the US.

In other arts-related fields, Prince is not only Minneapolis’s most famous musician, but with other local musicians he helped create venues which encourage musical experiences. Local listeners also support three not-for-profit public radio non-profit stations. And a statue of a fictional TV character—played by the real Mary Tyler Moore—commemorates the Emmy Award winning Mary Tyler Moore Show which was based here from 1970-73.

The perfect marriage of the city’s strongest interests—the arts and sports—perhaps came about in 2004 when architect and hockey player Frank Gehry designed the World Cup trophy for the NHL.

Before moving to LA, the Minneapolis Lakers became the NBA’s first dynasty during the 40s and 50s. In 1961, the Vikings—an NFL expansion team—and the Twins—the relocated Washington Senators—played outdoors in the Metropolitan Stadium until 1982.

Since 1982, the Metrodome is the only stadium in the country to have hosted championship games for football, baseball, and basketball. In addition, concerts, trade shows, community and religious activities are held throughout the year here.

Besides a form of exercise, biking is highly encouraged. Kiosks for bicycle sharing and pedicabs operate downtown thanks to Nice Ride Minnesota. In addition, many former railroad lines within the city have been converted for bicycle and pedestrian use—not to mention roller blading which began here as the Rollerblade company.

photo by: Mulad


fat cat bar

In Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, check out Fat Cat Bar. Stop in soon so you don’t miss their refreshing summer cocktails—especially the Uptown Lemonade and Hi-Hat.

Beyond cocktails, wine and beer, they serve appetizers, brunch and dinner—think corn doggys, reuben balls, mancakes, a Thanksgiving Day sandwich—and don’t go home at 3am on a Saturday night without some of their homemade spicey vinegar.

Thanks to seth, lincoln park sales, for this submission.


la carbonara

photo: la carbonaraIn Chelsea you’ll find not a ‘hot spot’ but definitely a place that’ll warm you up during these cold winter days.

La Carbonara features some of our favorite Italian comfort foods—try not to drool as you review their photo gallery and menus.

Bon appetito!

Thanks to our soho team, for this contribution.


the griddle cafe

The Griddle Café features plate size pancakes, and lines around the block—this is the place to be on weekends. The small café also serves great coffee…French press for everyone!

Pancakes range from Red Velvet and Good Ol’ Fashion, to Eye Wide Open—with chocolate chips and a shot of espresso in the batter. Make sure to get an order of brown-sugar baked bananas on the side, they are killer.

Don’t sweat the wait, it’s always worth it.

Thanks to nikki, west hollywood sales, for this submission.