While Toronto, Canada does not possess the grandeur and beauty of a city like Paris or London, it does have numerous neighborhoods downtown that are distinctive and vibrant with culture diversity, character and charm. The suburbs of Toronto however, are a very different story. Like many North American cities that have kowtowed to the culture of the car and urban sprawl, the suburbs are remarkably unremarkable - heinous rows of condominiums, parking lots, strip malls and cookie cutter homes.
There is however, a little gem located just north of Toronto - hidden behind a speeding eight lane highway lined with endless mind-numbing strip malls, bland chain stores and generic restaurants. Surprisingly, once you turn the street corner into the town of Unionville, the sounds of traffic become a distant memory. Get out of your car and walk around Main Street - you won't find a chain store here. Main Street is dotted with galleries, fun stores and restaurants, gazebos and picturesque little parks. The town is not very large and it will not take you very long to stroll from one end to the other, but you will find yourself much calmer and happier when you do.
If you get a chance to venture up to Unionville, there are two stores in particular I enjoyed visiting. Noteworthy is elegant store tucked below a staircase off Main Street. They sell beautiful and ornate paper products, unusual hand-made cards, organizers, etc. Distinct Living is a home store with chic and unique home decorations, and kitchenware that you won't find easily anywhere else.
161 Main Street
209 Main Street
For information on Unionville, visit the following websites: