Susan MacLeod

Stretching from High Park in the west and Lansdowne in the east, from the meeting point of King and Queen in the south to Dundas Street West in the north, Roncesvalles is a leafy, family-oriented neighbourhood surrounding Roncesvalles Avenue, with large, often Victorian, houses and apartments lining the perpendicular streets. Its roots as a Polish community are prevalent, but the population is increasingly becoming characterized by young families with strollers and professionals walking their dogs out to the waterfront. Its wide sidewalks are lined with independent eateries, coffee shops and greengrocers, regularly bustling with people. The area really comes alive with food stands, dances and musical performances at the annual Polish festival at the end of September. To the east, the area encompasses Parkdale, an urban focal point for foodies and hipsters. The area is served well by the King, Queen and Roncesvalles streetcars, the latter of which connects to the Bloor subway line.

Easy Eats

Café Polonez has served up authentic Polish food for over 30 years. (The Red Borsht and pierogies are highlights.) For more gastropub fare, the Local is an institution, loved for its selection of beer and fusion food, including a butter chicken poutine. Roncesvalles is also dotted with cafes, perfect for people-watching, serving excellent coffee, such as Lit or Cherry Bomb. Also a local favourite for brunch is Barque Smokehouse. Their Bloody Caesar is rimmed with bacon bits.

Cafe Polonez, 195 Roncesvalles Ave.

The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave.

Lit, 221 Roncesvalles Ave.

Cherry Bomb, 79 Roncesvalles Ave.

Barque Smokehouse., 299 Roncesvalles Ave.

The Ace., 231 A Roncesvalles Ave.

Artistic Endeavours

For indoor fun, High Park Library is a commanding building that opened in 1916 and hosts everything from adult writers groups and family story time. Close by, the Revue Cinema has given niche independent films a spotlight since 1912, with a stream of fantastic titles and dedicated festivals.

High Park Library, 228 Roncesvalles Ave.

Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Ave.