One by one, long-standing independent businesses in neighbourhoods across the city are closing, and many are pointing the finger at gentrification.
Both the owner of The Hideout, one of Queen Street West’s popular live music venues, and Dangerous Dan’s, one of the city’s most famous burger joints on Queen Street East, said increased rents caused by neighbourhood gentrification forced them to close their doors.
But one West Queen West neighbourhood seems to have found a way to expand its population while maintaining its charm.
Parkdale was once known to many as the wrong side of the bridge, but it has become a hub where small, unique, independent businesses are thriving.
Along this strip of Queen Street West, just west of Dufferin, there are a wide variety of offerings. There are local designers and jewelry makers, discount stores, fruit markets and even the mom-and-pop appliance repair shop.
What you won’t find are big-box stores, chains or franchises.
Sarah Dougall owns Made You Look, a jewelry store that moved into Parkdale 16 years ago, and said that was part of the appeal of the neighbourhood.
“Part of the reason we wanted to be on Queen Street in Parkdale was because it had the potential to become a changing neighbourhood,” she explained.
“We had the opportunity to set the tone … It was kind of a blank canvas. That is what was what was appealing about it.”
Made You Look is a unique business model, where 100 local designers not only…