An off-the-beaten track neighbourhood with a view!
Updated: Jan 24
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? The charming local café Supernova Coffee + a fantastic view of Toronto's cityscape in a 2.3-km walk in the east side of town
Last month I attended a French event at the Toronto Estonian House. Walking down Broadview Avenue to get there, I had the pleasure of identifying another one of those little combos I love so much, which combine a good coffee with a nice destination.
The Playter Estates neighbourhood
Supernova Coffee is a true neighbourhood coffee shop. It's set back from the hustle and bustle of Danforth Street, in a quiet corner of the city called Player Estates.
For the record, Captain George Playter was a Loyalist who immigrated from Pennsylvania in the 1790s. His son, John, settled on the land where Playter Estates stands today (north of Danforth ave to Fulton Ave, east of the Don Valley Pkwy to Jackman Ave).
John's grandson built the Playter House at 28 Playter Crescent in the mid 1870's. The land around this property was farmed until 1912, when the present neighbourhood was developed.
The beautiful brick house was still owned by members of the Playter family (at least up to recently), which would explain the very long renovations to this huge home. It's fun to follow the progress of the work since 2007 on Google Street View. (See the little archive window that appears on the top left of the screen when you click on Street View for this address).
Supernova Coffee (897 Broadview Ave, open Tuesday to Friday from 7:30am to 5pm, Saturday from 8am to 4pm and Sunday from 9am to 3pm) is located in the middle of a charming little block off the beaten path on Broadview.
The mini patio in front of its colourful facade is inviting. Inside, there's a gleaming Italian espresso machine, stacks of vinyl with a turntable, several tables and stools to take advantage of the large windows.
The coffee is excellent. They make their own muffins, scones and cookies. And they also act as an art gallery.
From there, it's just a five-minute walk across Chester Hill Road to the hidden lookout called Chester Hill Lookout.
Chester Hill Lookout
Chester Hill is a dead-end street lined with tall, mature trees in front of well manicured homes. At the very end, you are surprised to discover a circular cul-de-sac, in which a compass rose has been painted.
This is the work of street artist Victor Fraser, who is responsible for a large portion of the sidewalk paintings in the city. He usually revisits it every couple of years, to refresh its colours (which were faded by June 2022) but when we search #whatsvictorupto, we learn that he is currently in Scotland…
From the railing, you can see cars whizzing by on the Don Valley Parkway. In the background, the panorama of downtown. On our left, the CN Tower. On our right, we can see the Evergreen Brick Works buildings. When night comes, Toronto sparkles like a diadem.
A short 2.3 km tour
I suggest a nice walk of less than 30 minutes to appreciate Playter Estates.
From the Broadview subway station, head north and turn right on Pretoria Avenue. Broadview Espresso is another nice neighbourhood café, popular because it is closer to Danforth.
At the end of Pretoria, you'll see the huge renovated property at 28 Playter Crescent. Walk around the crescent to appreciate the grandeur of the estate and up Playter Boulevard to imagine the house in its early days, around 1870.
At the end, turn left onto Butternut Street, then right onto Ellerbeck Street and left onto Browning Avenue to reach Broadview. Supercova Coffe is at the corner of Browning and Broadview.
Cross the street to the Chester Hill Lookout. Take in the view for as long as you want, Then take Thorncliffe Ave, the first street you see on your right as you retrace your steps on Chester Hill Rd. It connects with Cambridge Ave where you’ll find a few cute example of early cottages.
Finally, walk down to the small Playter Gardens, a nice way to complete the loop in this small neighbourhood.
This post is a complement to local author Nathalie Prézeau's latest walking guide: Toronto BEST Urban Strolls available in Toronto’s major bookstores, on torontourbangems.com/shop and amazon.ca or indigo.ca. We also deliver or contact the author directly at email@example.com to arrange for a pick up with a discount at 299 Booth Avenue, in Leslieville.