The Pivotal Junction
If Dovercourt-Wallace Emerson-Junction were a person, it might be a high-priced lawyer with a penchant for frequenting crack dens. Simultaneously posh and poor, this hyphenated amalgam from Toronto’s official neighbourhoods list is the poster child for gentrification.
Roughly boat-shaped, DWEJ is culturally mixed. Nearly one in four claims a mother tongue other than English or French, while almost a third claim Portuguese ancestry.
The eastern half of the neighbourhood is the established part: It boasts a high-end car dealership (Grand Touring Automobiles, 740 Dupont St.) where the well-heeled kick tires on Bentleys. Steps away is Faema Caffe and Bar (672 Dupont St.) – the people watching here is as good as the coffee. The southeast quadrant of DWEJ is dominated by Christie Pits Park, home of the Toronto Maple Leaf Baseball Club. Just up Bloor Street is Mexitaco (828 Bloor St. W.), the place for good, reasonably priced Mexican eats.
The western half of DWEJ is where one can witness gentrification in action. Case in point: 1011 Lansdowne Ave., the infamous slum apartment tower. Drugs and prostitution are part of life in this part of town, but rents are cheap and artists are moving into converted industrial lofts across the street – how long before Starbucks follows is anyone’s guess. Also cheap (as cheap as it looks) is the Galleria Shopping Centre (1245 Dupont St.). Up the street, the Sub Junction Bar and Grill (1482 Dupont St.) is the place to go for good, economical pub grub and a pint, if you don’t mind the dive decor.
Finally, at 191 Geary Ave. – a fitting name for a road with so many auto shops – you’ll find excellent Portuguese custard tarts (pasteis de nata) and espresso at Padaria Girasol.
National Post Saturday, April 7, 2007 Page: TO7 Section: Toronto: The City Byline: Philip Alves Column: On The Map (No. 2 Of 140): Dovercourt-Wallace Emerson-Junction