King West: A Profile of Toronto Neighborhoods [2019]

King West: Then & Now

King West lies in Toronto’s historic Fashion District and is one of the city’s most famous thoroughfares.

Named after King George 3rd, it was once home to countless warehouses and textile factories (hence its nickname The Garment District).

4 way street sign in King West Toronto.

King West is minutes from Toronto’s most popular destinations.

However, those old warehouses have been turned into galleries, lofts and office spaces.

And instead of factory workers, the neighborhood now caters to a new crowd: young professionals.

Photo of Westinghouse building on King West.

The historic Westinghouse building (Jim Cagney, Flickr)

As a result of this social and economic shift, King West is taking on a more youthful vibe.

There’s a wave of trendy restaurants, ad agencies, independent retailers, and fitness facilities in the area.

Studio Lagree fitness studio on King St in Toronto.

For example: Studio Lagree brings Hollywood-style fitness techniques to Toronto.

The neighborhood is also seeing a massive surge in bars and clubs.

According to Culture Trip, King West ranks as Toronto’s best neighbourhood for nightlife!

People partying and dancing.

Music, drinks and dancing—the fun never stops.

In short: King West isn’t for the faint of heart.

It’s an exciting, urban paradise rich in nightlife and bustling with activity.

Tall office buildings and condos with blue glass along King Street West Toronto

Glass and concrete towers along King St (Rick Lightelm, Flickr).

That’s why you won’t find too many houses here, because King Street West is all about vertical living.

In fact, the neighbourhood is undergoing a massive condo boom that will redefine the future of downtown Toronto.

King West: Shops & Services

As Toronto’s Fashion District, it’s no surprise that the neighbourhood is home to some amazing retailers.

For instance, Riant Boutique on Bathurst caters exclusively to women.

Photo of woman's clothing store and dummies.

You’ll find everything from shoes and cardigans to purses and jewelry.

Meanwhile, sophisticated men can step into Davido Afnani on 766 King St West.

According to blogTO, “David Afnani specializes in chic, luxury fashion for men….it’s all about men. Men’s fragrances. Bags. Clothes.”

Image of men's clothing and dummies.

Find that perfect suit on King Street.

Need something for the kids? Check out Livestock on Spadina.

The store sells stylish streetwear from brands like Nike, Puma and Levis, to lesser-known labels such as G-SHOCK and Y-3.

Colourful sneakers with red laces, gray sides andDC Justice League characters.

Sneaker brands include Adidas, Nike, Converse, Reebok and tons more (Pixabay).

King West also has a wealth of services.

Looking for a trim? Stop by Steinberg’s on 585 King St W for a haircut and some highlights.

Exterior of John Steinberg and Associates hair salon on King St W, Toronto.

Founded by John Steinberg, stylist to the stars, the salon has been around since 1991.

Time for a manicure, wax or facial?

Hammam Spa on 602 King St W offers all that, along with hair cleanses, algae wraps, massage therapy and more.

Exterior of Hamman Spa on King St W, Toronto.

“And more” includes Turkish baths, steam therapy, sunless tanning and clay wraps.

Another great option is Pure + simple on 725 King St W.

Voted Toronto’s #1 Facial Spa, Pure + simple offers a variety of facials and professional makeup services.

Red-brick exterior of Pure + Simple spa on King Street Toronto.

It also sells skin, hair and body care products for both men and women.

Preparing a home-cooked meal?

The Kitchen Table on 705 King West is dedicated to fresh fruits, vegetables and locally-sourced meats.

Colourful flowers and flowerpots outside The Kitchen Table grocery store with huge lettering.

Plus it carries flowers from all over the world.

So whether you’re looking for fabulous fashion, fresh food, or just want to relax, King Street West has a place just for you.

King West: Food & Dining

Picture of people and drinks.

When it comes to delicious cuisine, the neighbourhood is home to some of the best.

For example, Buca on 604 King Street West consistently ranks among Canada’s top restaurants.

The establishment is known for its hospitality and exquisite dishes like fried zucchini and creamy smoked burrata.

Patio with chairs and tables outside Buca restaurant in King Street West, Toronto.

You can also enjoy premium wine on the patio.

Another great Italian eatery is Ascari on 620 King St W.

Named after a famous Italian racecar driver, Ascari’s menu includes pasta, grilled octopus and sea bass fillet.

16-foot windows of Ascari restaurant in King West Toronto.

The venue also boasts high ceilings and 16-foot windows.

For something more down-to-earth (yet heavenly), there’s the Burger’s Priest.

According to its website, the classic cheeseburger joint believes in fresh ingredients, purity and simplicity.

Bright yellow sign for The Burger's Priest on King St W Toronto.

Fries, shakes and cheeseburgers—this truly is heaven.

If you don’t consider Taco Bell authentic Mexican food, try Wilbur Mexicana.

Long line outside Wilbur Mexicana restaurant in King Street West, Toronto.

Wilbur’s has all the classics, from tacos and burritos to nachos and quesadillas.

One of the most unique restaurants is The Parlour on 642 King Street West.

Narcity declares:

The hidden beauty parlour is definitely one of the defining features of the restaurant. Located through a velvet curtain, the glamorous powder room will make you feel like a movie star….

The Parlour restaurant and beauty salon chalkboard sign on King Street West.

That’s right: The Parlour is a restaurant AND secret beauty studio!

For family-friendly fare, nothing beats The Keg Steakhouse + Bar.

Adults can enjoy steak and lobster while sipping on mojitos and martinis.

Large black and white sign for The Keg Steakhouse + Bar.

On the other hand, kids can munch on mini-burgers and chicken strips and wash it down with smoothies.

Like Asian food?

Then you’ll love Sara, an Asian eatery that cracked TorontoLife’s Best New Restaurants 2019 list.

Sara restaurant and Jimmy's Coffee exterior signs on King Street West Toronto.

Sara’s mouth-watering menu includes yellowtail sashimi, dumplings and buttermilk fried chicken.

Need your daily dose of caffeine? Fortunately, Jimmy’s Coffee is right next door.

King West: Coffee & Dessert

Orange coffee cup and saucer with spilled coffee beans on dark background.

Jimmy’s isn’t the only coffee joint in town (Pixabay).

In fact, King Street West is jam-packed with cafes and dessert shops.

For example, Thor Espresso is an indie coffee shop in an area overflowing with chain-brand cafes.

Exterior of Thor Espresso Bar on King Street West in Toronto.

Thor’s highlights include silky-smooth lattes, organic desserts and baked goods.

In the mood for dessert?

Brioche Doree on 648 King specializes in European pastries.

Exterior of Brioche Doree fast food chain.

Treat yourself to almond croissants, lemon tartlets, chocolate eclairs, cinnamon brioche and more.

Other great cafes, bakeries and dessert venues in King Street West include:

  • Forno Cultura (an Italian bakery with a warehouse-like setting)
  • Simit & Chai (authentic Turkish cafe with coffee, tea and sandwiches)
  • Cops (nothing but drip coffee and donuts)
  • Quantum (which uses Canada’s only Pour Steady machine to serve perfectly calibrated coffee)

King West: Bars & Nightlife

Crowd of people on patio and outside Belfast Love bar on King Street West Toronto.

King St has one of Toronto’s most active bar and nightclub scenes.

According to blogTO:

King West is a contender for one of the best neighbourhoods to drink in Toronto. From craft beer specialists to ping pong clubhouses, the street is bustling with options.

Take Belfast Love above, an Irish pub with 40 different beers, several billiards tables, a 400-seat interior, and 100-seat patio.

Or take the Banknote Bar below, which has beer, spirits, wine and Italian-American cuisine.

Black and gold sign for Banknote Bar with American flag on King St West Toronto.

Besides food and drink, the Banknote Bar also flaunts a dozen big-screen TVs for sporting events.

The bar Wellington is another popular watering hole.

Craft beer, cocktails and a classy atmosphere make Wellington a favourite among “Movie stars, musicians and regular folk.”

People seated on patio outside the bar Wellington on King St Toronto.

The Wellington’s patio is always busy during summer.

No list of King West bars would be complete without Regulars.

The menu is rich in deep-fried foods such as wings, fries and jalapeno poppers.

Drinks include draft beer, wine and all cocktails for just $15.

Fancy beige columns with name REGULARS.

Regulars’ design is inspired by 1920s gambling halls and Hollywood’s Golden Age.

In addition to bars, King Street West is also loaded with clubs and lounges.

Entrance of the Thompson Hotel Toronto with silver letters.

The Thompson Hotel contains the Rooftop Lounge and Wildflower nightclub.

Residents can bar hop at Bar Hop, shoot some pool at Roxy On King, or indulge in the classy and laid-back atmosphere of Lavelle.

With over 16,000 sq. ft. of space, Lavelle boasts an outdoor swimming pool, cabanas and killer cocktails.

Photo of bar packed with so many drinks.

Drinks, anyone?

Other great nightlife venues include:

  • Early Mercy (a trendy cocktail bar with rock, open format and hip-hop music)
  • Lost and Found (a basement club with DJs, drinks and dancing)
  • EFS (a 5,000 sq. ft. nightclub with leather furniture, rooftop patio and DJs)

King West: Culture & Entertainment

Because the Fashion and Entertainment Districts overlap at Front Street and Spadina, King West has the distinction of being in both places at once!

That means residents can enjoy a wide variety of entertainment options, including movies at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, strolling along Canada’s Walk of Fame, or celeb-spotting at the Toronto International Film Festival.

An image of Lady Gaga and other people at TIFF on King Street West.

Lady Gaga at TIFF (Lee Chu, Flickr)

If you prefer live entertainment, check out the Princess of Wales Theatre.

The cultural landmark has shows for all people and ages, including classics such as Cats and The Phantom of the Opera to new hits like Come From Away.

A 4-minute walk takes you to Roy Thompson Hall, home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Dome of Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto with buildings in background.

While the venue is known for classical music, it also hosts modern and international singers (Jason Baker, Flickr).

Finally, sports fans have a lot to be excited about.

Rolling Stone states “Over the past few years Toronto…has become one of the primary sports hubs on the continent.”

And why not? The Hockey Hall of Fame, Rogers Centre, and Air Canada Centre are all just a short drive from the Fashion District.

 View of Air Canada Centre and statues.

Air Canada Centre (Dennis Jarvis, Flickr)

Hockey, basketball, baseball, soccer—it’s all here.

Other Location Highlights:

Green grass and trees of Stanley Park Toronto with buildings in background.

King West may be in the concrete jungle, but it also has some lovely green-spaces.

  • Fantastic parks, including Stanley Park, Massey Harris Park and Joseph Workman Park
  • Minutes from Liberty Village, West Queen West and the Entertainment District
  • Wide selection of grocery stores, including Independent City Market and The Kitchen Table
  • 100 Walk Score, Transit Score and easy access to Bike Share programs
Several black and green bicycles in a row at Bike Share ride program.

Bike Share participants can take a free 30-minute ride from any station.

King West: Conclusion

Pic of David Pecault Square on King Street West and Toronto's Fashion District.

David Pecault Square on King Street West (Jeff Hitchcock, Flickr)

Youthful, vibrant, exciting—King Street West embodies all these qualities.

The neighborhood has a work hard, play hard mentality, striking a perfect work-life balance.

Everything you need is here, from designer retail and restaurants to non-stop nightlife and endless entertainment options.

Looking for property in King West? Check out my video above or contact me below for more details.

 

 

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