Now: Sleek Shopping Mecca
Over the years, Yorkville’s coffee houses and counterculture have segued into multimillion dollar condos, spas and designer boutiques. Yesterday’s bohemian scene is today’s shopping mecca, with Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Prada, Hermès and Calvin Klein outposts.
Then: Bohemian Hot Spot
At Yorkville’s circa-1960s peak, poets and musicians flocked to the neighbourhood’s coffee houses. Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen and Gwendolyn MacEwan read poetry at places like the Purple Onion and Penny Farthing. At the Riverboat, you could rub shoulders with Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot, and even international stars like Simon & Garfunkel and John Lee Hooker.
Now: Town Square 2.0
Inspired by the similarly facelifted Times Square, post-millennium Yonge-Dundas Square is a vibrant, tourist-luring nexus that combines entertainment, shopping and dining. The square hosts City Cinema outdoor movie nights, cultural festivals such as Franco-Fête, and live concerts from various NXNE (June 15 to 19, 2016) performers.
Then: Neon Market
A neon streetscape courtesy of Sam the Record Man and other brightly illuminated music stores, circa-1980s Yonge and Dundas broadcast the boisterous energy of its nearby pinball arcades and street buskers.