Update : Portland Variety has permanently closed.
There’s a building in our neighbourhood (located at 587 King Street W. at Portland Street) that reminds me of good things that have happened in my life, or rather ‘good people’ who have entered my life, whenever I pass it by :
First, this is the building which held the restaurant to which Nick and I took the mutual friend who set us up on our first blind date, as a thank you for making the introduction. It was a month after we met and had already figured out that we had found someone very special, so we wanted to show her our gratitude and celebrate.
Second, it was the place where I first started hanging out with someone who has become one of our best friends. This person is Issy (who you recently heard about in this post); she had recently begun working at the same place that I’d been working, and our company held their summer party in this corner building. Although we’d met and seen each other in the hall we hadn’t had the chance to bond in any way, working in different departments of a large business as we did, but at that party she and I spent time talking and dancing. We’ve been buddies ever since. In fact, we were just over at her place on Friday night.
So that spot has been on my radar for a long time, and I noticed immediately when some paper was hung covering the windows recently, indicating that a new business was going in there, called ‘Portland Variety’.
Meghan had received a notice saying that they were having a little Pre-Opening Party at the venue a week ago Saturday, so we went over to take a look and sample some goodies.
The name sounded like what has been a restaurant for as long as anyone remembers was now turning into a variety store, but it’s not.
Portland Variety, which officially opens today, will be a cafe and bakery during the day and will switch to being a full service restaurant and tapas bar in the evening. If the things we tried (a Chocolate Croissant and Latte for me, and a Big Chunky Cookie and Espresso for Meghan) are any indication of what is to come at this place, the neighbourhood is in for something good.
Here we are in their outdoor area …
Meghan suggested we take our treats over to a park, called Victoria Memorial Square, that is located just to the south. Incidentally, this park was Toronto’s very first cemetery having been used as such beginning in 1793, when the city was little more than a trading post amongst a forest, and ending in 1893. There are still some remnants of old grave markers lined up in one area.
After sitting for a spell we began aimlessly walking, on what was an absolutely beautiful day. We covered a lot of ground, going back north to King Street, east to Spadina, up Spadina to Queen West and then westward along Queen, popping in and out of shops all the way to Trinity Bellwoods Park.
My feet were a bit sore when I got home but it was worth it for a very fun afternoon.
It was good to have a shopping date with Meghan in this part of town because she showed me some great stores that, although I’ve walked by them a hundred times, would not have otherwise gone into. One was particularly good and we both bought something there, so I’m going to do a dedicated post about it tomorrow.
Thank you for taking a look and wishing you an excellent Monday,