Your Guide to Exploring the Church-Wellesley Village

Your Guide to Exploring the Church-Wellesley Village

6 min reading time

The Church-Wellesley Village is a vibrant, culture-rich community in Toronto, ON that is also famously known as the LGBTQ+-based enclave in the city’s downtown core. With a lineup of community bars, restaurants and historical structures that have helped define the neighbourhood at large, the Village offers all visitors a unique, safe and inclusive experience.

The Church-Wellesley Village is a vibrant, culture-rich community in Toronto, ON that is also famously known as the LGBTQ+-based enclave in the city’s downtown core. With a lineup of community bars, restaurants and historical structures that have helped define the neighbourhood at large, the Village offers all visitors a unique, safe and inclusive experience.

As notable contributors and members of the Church-Wellesley Village, our team at Grapefruit has put together a list of our top hotspots in the neighbourhood.

Entertainment:

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Cited as being the longest-running LGBTQ+ theatre in the world, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is a not-for-profit, professional theatre company located right in the heart of the Church-Wellesley Village. On the weekends, the theatre also doubles as a racy nightclub and roster for some of the most fabulous drag queens in town.

Where: 12 Alexander St, Toronto, ON M4Y 1B4

Retail:

Grapefruit

As proud longtime residents of the Church-Wellesley Village, our team at Grapefruit is proud to be part of the broader community. Our store not only serves as a hub for our unique collection but also as a safe space that we’ve centred around diversity, inclusivity and free expression. Grapefruit is also entirely independent and locally owned, proudly serving both Canadian and international brands.

Can’t get to the store right now due to COVID-19? No worries -- head on over to our online shop! Don’t let social distancing stop you from getting your hands on some of Grapefruit’s latest accessories or apparel as part of our Spring 2020 lineup. We’ve also added various Canadian-made personal care brands to our online shop to help you keep your wellness in check. Or if you’re worried about getting the perfect birthday gift delivered to someone special, we’ll even arrange for you to get one of our novelty gifts delivered to the birthday human by us!

Where: 76 Wellesley St E, Toronto, ON M4Y 1H2

Glad Day Bookshop

The Glad Day Bookshop has long been known as one of the oldest and most acclaimed LGBTQ+ bookstores in Canada. Here, you can find an incredible scope of queer literature encompassing nearly every sort of genre. The store also hosts several different community events throughout the year.

Where: 499 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C6

Dead Dog Records

Dead Dog Records is proud to be one of the most comprehensive independent record store databases in Toronto. Spearheaded by former longtime-Sunrise Records employee Stephen Yorke and backed by a passionate staff, the shop has served as a fresh addition to the Village in recent years.

Where: 568 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2E3

Dining:

The Cherie Bistro

The Cherie Bistro offers an eclectic mix of brunch, entrees and contemporary eats. Their Sunrise Breakfast and Lunch menus feature items such as the Granola Bowl and the Sunrise Breakfast. They also have an extensive list of well-crafted dinner items including seafood entrees, pasta, risotto and rice, gourmet pizza and dessert.

Where: 538 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2E1
Hair of the Dog

Semi-veiled with lattice and bundles of vines, Hair of the Dog is a picturesque corner pub with a rooftop patio and outdoor garden available during the warmer months. Their decor is also appropriately dog-themed, featuring artwork that says “SIT” and “STAY” (we encourage you to do both of these things). They’re also known for having some of the top-rated nachos in the city, as well as a sweet lineup of both craft and import beers.

Where: 425 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C3

 

 Animal Services:

All Pets
All Pets offers a superb selection of some of the leading brands of pet food and supplies.

As an essential service, All Pets is currently open for curbside pickup! They are also currently offering free delivery (with no minimums) to residents located anywhere in Toronto during COVID-19. You can find out more about their delivery services here.

Where: 451 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C5

Zen Dog
Zen Dog is also another coveted pet store in the Village. Focused on supplying quality pet foods and products, they supply some of the top brands in the city. Their team also offers additional services such as doggy daycare, dog walking, pet grooming, training and overnight boarding -- all under the watch of a loving, experienced team of pet professionals.

As an essential service, Zen Dog is currently open for operations! 

Where: 584 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2E5

Grab and Go:

North of Brooklyn Pizzeria

North of Brooklyn Pizzeria has become a staple for authentic, thin-crust slices in Toronto. If you’re looking to grab a slice before stopping into Woody’s or another nearby hotspot, North of Brooklyn offers crisp and delicious wood-baked pies that are sure to hit the spot.

Where: 469 Church St, Toronto, ON, M4Y 2C5

Craig’s Cookies
If you’re looking for a spot to grab decadent, home-baked cookies, Craig’s Cookies has quickly become the ideal choice. Thespian-turned-entrepreneur Craig Pike has become famous for his heavenly mashup of his mother’s cookie recipe and favourite household snacks such as Mars bars, Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts and more.

Where: 483 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C6
 

Services:

Gesund

Gesund is a wellness clinic located in the heart of the Church-Wellesley village, specializing in naturopathic medicine, chiropractic and massage therapy. Gesund’s founder, Dr. Peter Tebruegge, RMT, ND and his team focus on non-invasive, clinically effective treatments in a safe and inclusive environment.

Where: 614 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2G2

 Black Sheep Hair

Black Sheep Hair is a reputable boutique hair salon located in the Church-Wellesley Village. Their experienced team of salon professionals provides tailored services to residents of every gender, religion, colour and identity.

Where: 473 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C5
 

Nova Supreme Dry Cleaners
Nova Supreme Dry Cleaners is a locally-owned, family-operated dry cleaning provider, with top-rated reviews across the board. Fun fact: Our pals at Nova Supreme offer a special alterations discount to all Grapefruit customers. Just give them a call and tell them we sent you!

Where: 548 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C6

Nightlife:

Woody’s and Sailor

Known as one of the most welcoming and friendly bars in Toronto, Woody’s and its adjacent counterpart Sailor serve as the ideal gay hangout in the Church-Wellesley Village. Here, you can find regular drag performances and meet-ups each week.

Where: 465-467 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C5

Pegasus

Known as the “bar where friends meet” in the Village, Pegasus offers trivia and game nights for all who attend, including billiards and pinball. Rumour has it that it also serves some of the best martinis on the block.

Where: 489 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C6

Crews and Tangos

Crews and Tangos is the number-one drag and dance club in the Village. Featuring 5 bars and 2 dance floors, this is the premier place to dance your heart out.

Where: 508 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C8

Storm Crow Manor
Storm Crow Manor is a place for geeks and lovers of video games, sci-fi, fantasy, mythical creatures and more. Stop here for themed drinks based on Star Wars, Blade Runner or Game of Thrones, alongside a long roster of delicious eats.

Where: 580 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2E5


Contact Grapefruit Today
We hope you enjoyed our guide to the Church-Wellesley Village! If you want to learn more about the neighbourhood or our new Spring lineup at our shop, reach out to Grapefruit today. We can’t wait to see all of you again soon!

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