Nothing beats an evening at the theatre. Except maybe an evening at the theatre preceded or followed by dinner, drinks, and/or a spot of shopping. Each week we will share our top picks for enhancing your theatre experience at venues across the city.
This week: Streetcar Crowsnest
After thirty-four years as a nomadic company, Crow’s Theatre found a home in Streetcar Crowsnest, which opened its doors in January 2017. A collaboration that began in 2011 between Crow’s and Streetcar Developments the Crowsnest houses three different venues for artistic performance, community events, kids programming, and social and corporate functions. Crow’s calls themselves a “content-led company” and focuses on the development of emerging and mid-career Canadian playwrights.
Dining & Drinks
Gare de L’Est
Yes, this French brasserie is part of Streetcar Crowsnest, conveniently neighbours with Crow’s Theatre, with a Pre-Theatre Prix Fixe menu on offer to facilitate the dining experience of anyone taking in a show. But that’s not why it’s on our list. It makes the cut because of its welcoming atmosphere, the care it shows in making sure its customers have a great night from appetizer to curtain call, and, most of all, because of its food—modern takes on classic French dishes—which are hearty, delicious, and of excellent quality.
Address & Hours: 1190 Dundas Street E. Walking distance to the theatre: 33-56 seconds, depending on how quickly you walk. Café: Mon-Fri: open from 7 a.m., Sat-Sun: open from 8 a.m.; Breakfast: Wed-Fri: 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sat-Sun: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner: Mon-Thurs: 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m., Friday: 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m., Sat: 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Sun: 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
If you have any respect for food, design, or yourself, you will eat here. Eggplant lovers, get the fried eggplant. Non-eggplant lovers, get the fried eggplant. The babaganuj is also perfection, and the cocktails are refreshing and delicious. Best to go in a group so you can share and taste a bit of everything. And if you have no friends to go with, I can always make myself available.
Address & Hours: 810 Queen Street E. Walking distance to the theatre: 11 minutes. Mon-Thurs: 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Fri: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat: 12 p.m.-11 p.m., Sun 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
The Real Jerk
Okay, so I’ve never actually eaten here. But this is where Rhianna filmed her Work (work work work work) music video with Drake, so it’s basically the Wailing Wall of Toronto. By all accounts – if for some reason Drake’s opinion doesn’t cut it for you—the food, authentic Jamaican recipes adapted and perfected by owner Lily Pottinger from the recipes of her childhood—is bursting with spice and flavour. So if you’re looking to add a little zing to your night at the theatre, look no further.
Address & Hours: 842 Gerrard Street E. Walking distance to the theatre: 4 minutes. Mon-Tues: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Wed: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m., Fri: 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m., Sat: 12 p.m.-1 a.m., Sun: 2 p.m.-10 p.m.
A sunny patio, buck a shuck oysters on Tuesdays, a wall lined with books, and an elderflower martini that’s basically a summer day in a cocktail glass; what more could anyone want? That’s a rhetorical question. Obviously nothing.
Address & Hours: 1008 Queen Street E. Walking distance to the theatre: 7 minutes. Mon-Wed: 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Thurs-Sat: 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Oysters: Mon-Wed: 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Shopping & Activities
A few years ago I might have struggled to think of where to direct people in Leslieville. Now it’s hard to narrow it down. For a morning coffee Te Aro is an obvious stop, or, if a fuller breakfast is what you’re after, head a bit west to Bonjour Brioche. Maybe you want a healthy morning sandwich, in which case the Healthy Morning Sandwich (add the hot sauce) from Leslieville Pumps is a great bet.
Not to focus exclusively on food, but the Leslieville Cheese Market has an excellent selection, AND they offer Night School for Cheese Fans. (If you need to find me that’s where I’ll be, both during class and during the days working on my tasting skills for extra credit.) Want some bread to go with your cheese? Head to Brick Street Bakery. Had enough of food? Too bad! Because a list of Leslieville stops isn’t complete without mentioning Ed’s Real Scoop for some inventive and delicious ice cream.
If you like books, check out the lovely Queen Books, a great independent bookstore with a wide selection of books, a genuine love of literature, and a willingness to order what you’re after if they don’t have it in stock. Pop into Arts Market to check out a wonderful selection of products from local artists and designers, or Good Neighbour for something trendy, be it fashion or design-related. Looking for a new pen? Wonderpens is amazing, and it also offers calligraphy workshops if you’re looking for a unique activity.
Transit & Parking
The Streetcar Crowsnest is located at 345 Carlaw Ave, at Dundas St.
There is a paid parking lot located beneath 345 Carlaw Ave., located via the north laneway beside the building.
Take the 72A or 72B Pape bus from Pape Station, or the 72B from Union Station; Crow’s is located at the Dundas St. stop.
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