Toronto: 401 Richmond Street

I am in Toronto for only three days with my husband and I am so glad that I used the Design*Sponge Toronto Guide as a sort of road map to how I should spend my time in this wonderful city! Yesterday, I began my day at 401 Richmond Street, an old warehouse restored to its full glory and housing over 140 creative enterprises, non-profits and artist studios. I stumbled upon Open Studio, located on the ground floor, and was blown away by what an amazing concept it was. Open Studio is an artist-run studio dedicated to providing affordable and equal access to printmaking facilities as well as educational programs and services. This is the list of programs available to the arts community and, at times, the general public: Studio Facility Rental; Visiting Artist Residencies; Scholarships; Exhibition Programming; Education Programs; Collaborative Printing Program; Portfolio Reviews; Outreach/Tours; International Perspectives; and Print Sales/Archives. How amazing is that?

Moving on through the building, I noticed all the great reminders to use your bike, (artwork courtesy of Janet Bike Girl). I really love the green scene here in Toronto. Recycling is second nature and you are fined if you do not recycle. Everyone rides their bikes and composts. The city is very tidy. And there are so many amazing organic and vegetarian restaurants that you would never miss meat if you lived here!
Even the stairways and hallways of the building seemed like art exhibits!

Also located on the first floor, the incredible Swipe Books on Advertising and Design, which carried so many amazing, obscure titles that it was hard not to go crazy. They also had a selection of well curated home decor items and children’s toys and books!Last stop was the rooftop garden, which was simply breathtaking. I can imagine if you worked in the building you could bring your lunch to the rooftop, find a little bench to settle into, spend your break in a calming, green space and return to work feeling refreshed, all right in the middle of the crowded city.There was much more to my exploring yesterday, including walking a 7 mile loop around Queen Street West, a great shopping destination with independent boutiques galore! I will fill you in on my travels tomorrow because right now, I am off to do some more exploring!

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