The Annex: A Profile of Toronto Neighbourhoods

Overview: an in-depth guide to The Annex, from boutiques on Bathurst to bars on Bloor West, discover the amazing history, culture and character of this remarkable neighbourhood.

An Introduction to The Annex

Low-rise buildings on Bedfort and Bathurst in The Annex neighbourhood.

Both modern and historic, The Annex is a neighbourhood of mid-rises and mansions.

The Annex is one of Toronto’s oldest and most prominent neighbourhoods—and certainly one of its most unusual.

It’s full of gorgeous 19th-century homes occupied by writers, artists, politicians and wealthy business executives.

Brown Victorian mansion with green lawn, shrubs and ivy on Bathurst and Bloor West in The Annex neighbourhood.

Victorian and Edwardian mansions are a common sight in The Annex (Alain Rouiller, Flickr).

However, because the neighbourhood borders the University of Toronto it also has a large youth population with cheap student housing.

As a result, The Annex caters to two very different crowds: mature professionals and energetic undergrads.

University of Toronto sign and coat of arms etched in stone in Annex neighbourhood near Bathurst.

Residents of The Annex are high-income and well-educated, thanks to nearby U of T.

This rare mix of old and new, professionals and party-goers, gives The Annex its unique character.

The Annex: Shopping and Retail

Headless mannequin with tape measure wrapped around collar in Bathurst neighbourhood store.

Whether you prefer designer or affordable fashion, you’ll find it here (Pixabay).

The neighbourhood is known for high and low-end retail, from discount stores like Dollarama to fashion-forward boutiques like Risque.

Looking for upscale women’s wear?

Check out Ewanika on 1083 Bathurst or the nearby Gussied Up on 1090 Bathurst.

Clothing rack with white, black and gray women's tops in Bathurst neighbourhood clothing store.

About Design on 1042 Bathurst sells clothes without labels, allowing shoppers to “create their own identity” (Pixabay).

Want something stylish yet affordable?

Stop by Nue on 374 Bloor West for “immediates” (i.e. cheap-and-cheerful clothes for under $100).

Store rack with colourful men and women's tops in a local Bathurst neighbourhood shop.

Common Sort on 444 Bloor West specializes in fashionable vintage wear (Pixabay).

blogTO describes Common Sort as “the most chic recycling program ever.”

Other great stores in The Annex include:

Blue and white Midoco sign on Bathurst and Bloor West in The Annex neighbourhood of Toronto.

Midoco on 555 Bloor West sells everything from art and office supplies to books and toys.

The Annex: Restaurants and Cafes

Signs and billboards for Scotia Bank and Pizza Pizza along Bathurst and Bloor West in The Annex neighbourhood.

Fine dining or comfort food—the neighbourhood has plenty of both.

According to SeeTorontoNow:

When evening falls, the Annex turns into one of the busiest areas of town, with people flocking to the many restaurants, bars and patios offering food and drink from all around the world.

Take PI CO on 537 Bloor West, which serves “authentic, custom-crafted Neapolitan pizza.”

Blue and white PI CO Pizza Bar restaurant on Bathurst and Bloor West in Toronto's The Annex neighbourhood.

With hundreds of pizza combinations, PI CO encourages patrons to “get a little crazy.”

Another great option is The Annex Food Hall on 384 Bloor West.

White brick exterior of The Annex Food Hall on Bathurst and Bloor West in Toronto.

Consisting of multiple vendors, The Annex Food Hall has tasty dishes for every tongue.

For example, PG Glucks was named the city’s #1 fried chicken restaurant by both Toronto Life and blogTO.

Plate of spaghetti with grated white cheese and parsley in Bathurst restaurant.

Have dietary restrictions? No problem: Dal Moro’s specializes in Halal-certified Italian cuisine (Pixabay).

The Annex also has fantastic cafes.

For instance, there’s L’Espresso Bar Mercurio on 321 Bloor West.

Exterior of L'Espresso Bar Mercurio on Bathurst and Bloor West in The Annex neighbourhood.

This cozy cafe sports a patio, delicious pastries, and even offers student discounts.

Or Snakes & Lattes near Bathurst, where coffee is served with a side of classic board games.

Games at Snakes and Lattes range from Monopoly and Scabble to new arrivals such as “Badmoji” (Pixabay).

Looking for something more swanky?

Check out Slanted Door (part cafe and art gallery), B Espresso (located in the Royal Conservatory of Music) and Creeds, which hosts galas, film shoots and product launches.

Black and orange construction cones, fence and Tim Hortons storefront on Bathurst and Bloor West in The Annex.

Of course, there’s always Tim Hortons on 334 Bloor West, or 1110 Bathurst St, or 150 Dupont….

Upscale or down-to-earth, The Annex satisfies both crowds.

The Annex: Bars and Nightlife

Wine bottles in ice black ice buckets and hanging wine glasses in a bar.

Hunting for an awesome new bar? The neighbourhood is full of them (Pixabay).

NowToronto calls The Annex “a dynamic neighbourhood with a kinetic nightlife and vibrant street scene.”

Due to its mix of professionals and party-loving students, it has a wide selection of hip and humble watering holes, such as Pauper’s Pub on 539 Bloor West.

Flaunting both street-level and rooftop patios, Paupers also features a piano bar, darts, live entertainment and excellent draft beers.

Next up, there’s the famous Madison Avenue Pub….

British-style pub with neon beer signs, deer head and billiards tables with red-felt lining.

This popular student hangout is located in a Victorian mansion and contains a total of 6 British-style pubs (Pixabay)!

The Madison Avenue Pub is truly huge, with multiple patios, a piano bar, billiards, TV sets and live entertainment.

In the words of blogTO: “The Madison is not a place you’ll get bored.”

Want something more classy? Trot over to The Fortunate Fox on 280 Bloor West.

Black and gold exterior of The Fortunate Fox bar on Bloor West in The Annex neighbourhood.

This “hip gastropub” offers an elevated bar experience with a wide selection of local beers and cocktails.

It also features live music, trivia night, and dartboards for a fuller entertainment experience.

The Annex: Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Sign for Second Cup and Al Green Theatre with banners above on Bloor West in The Annex.

Catch a show at the Al Green Theatre or grab a drink at Second Cup.

Whether you’re into music, movies, the arts or history, you’ll find it at The Annex.

Take Lee’s Place on 529 Bloor West.

Part-concert hall and part-nightclub, the venue has hosted some of the biggest names in rock.

Red and white sign for Lee's Place in The Annex; colourful graffiti on walls and bicycle chained to parking meter.

Oasis, Nirvana, The Tragically Hip, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have all rocked the stage at Lee’s Place (John Vetterli, Flickr).

Another great option is The Royal Conservatory of Music on 273 Bloor West.

Across-the-street view of The Royal Conservatory of Music on 273 Bloor West; brown building and spires.

A National Historic Site, The RCM’s repertoire ranges from jazz and classical to pop and international (Flickr).

Prefer museums to music?

Then be sure to check out the Bata Shoe Museum on 327 Bloor West.

Bata Shoe Museum sign, entrance and banners on Bloor West in The Annex neighbourhood.

The BSM contains over 13,000 artifacts spanning almost 4,500 hundred years of history.

Ancient Egyptian sandals, Queen Victoria’s ballroom slippers, Elvis Presley’s loafers, Elton John’s boots, Terry Fox’s sneakers….

History, celebrity, royalty—the BSM has everything!

Black and silver striped sculpture of human head outside Gardiner Museum on Bloor West.

The neighbourhood is also home to the Gardiner Museum and ROM—Canada’s largest museum (Alejandro, Flickr).

Love film and television? Then stop by the historic Hot Docs Cinema on 506 Bloor.

This century-old theatre hosts the annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Black and white photo of Hot Docs theatre marquee on Bloor West in The Annex.

With 230 pieces from around the world, Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary film festival (Matt Zhang, Flickr)!

Art enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to as well.

For example, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto contains one of the city’s largest visual arts exhibits.

Or you can check out some of history’s most famous works at The Art Gallery of Ontario.

Peter Paul Rubens painting of Daniel in the Lions Den.

From now until Jan 5th, the AGO has an exhibition of Rubens’ early masterpieces (Wikimedia).

The AGO’s massive collection also includes Canadian artists.

The Annex: Conclusion

Cars on Spadina and Bloor West in The Annex neighbourhood in Toronto.

The Annex is one of Toronto’s most unusual, urbane and amazing neighbourhoods.

NowToronto puts it best, saying “The Annex has a kind of split personality.”

On one hand, you have some of the most elite restaurants, cafes, boutiques, galleries, museums and concert venues in Toronto.

On the other, you have cheap, student-friendly bars, shops, food halls, and iconic coffee chains.

The Annex is an incredible mishmash of upscale and down-to-earth, comfort and convenience, sophistication and celebration.

So what are you waiting for? Come down and explore this wonderful neighbourhood for yourself!

Want to learn more about The Annex? Contact me below with your details.


Wins Lai - Toronto Real Estate Agents, Broker and Realtor

Wins Lai – Toronto Real Estate Agents, Broker and Realtor

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