Updated: Sep 22
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU? A treasure hunt to find the Seven Wonders around East Toronto Chinatown and a taste of Oriental flavours at Hailed Coffee or/and Wong’s Ice Cream. Two good reasons to get out of the house!
It is when talking with artist Chris Perez while he was spraying his beautiful giant flowers on the walls of 652 Gerrard E (a commission from Heri Furniture designer housed at that address), that I learned about the series of murals on the theme of the Seven Wonders of the World in Toronto's East End Chinatown.
I had noticed on Gerrard Street the beautiful Jesus, arms wide open, and the beautiful Taj Mahal near Gerrard’s parking lot. But I hadn't made the connection. Now it's up to you to find all the Seven Wonders (on Broadview, south of Gerrard, and on Gerrard, east of Broadview): Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal of India, the Colosseum of Rome, the Petra of Jordan, the Chichen Itza of Yucatán, and Machu Picchu of Peru.
Good strip for the foodies
The world tour does not stop there on this up and coming block. Between the Middle East inspired coffees and pastries from Hailed Coffee and the original Asian flavoured ice creams from Wong's Ice Cream, we are very well served!
In Arabic, "hail" means cardamom, an essential spice to percolate the arabic coffee on Hailed Coffee's menu. Before COVID-19, I loved to order this fragrant coffee served at the table in a large coffee pot with a long spout. But we can still order it to go and their pistachio and saffron latte is an exotic alternative.
Thanks to the pandemic, shops have had to adapt their offer to survive. So the small café turned to take-out and seized the opportunity to launch into French pastry with an oriental flair. Note that pastries are only offered on weekends, but on other days you can enjoy croissants, rosewater cakes and their line of chocolate.
Cardamom, pistachio, saffron, white chocolate mouse can be found in the pastries well described on their website. Their creations are not cheap (at $8.50) but $1 of the retail price goes to a charity (in September, they make their donation to Covenant House). I consider it an investment to preserve all the businesses that inject life into our neighbourhoods.
The originality of the flavours at Wong's Ice Cream is so intriguing that I will have to come back to it again and again to satisfy my curiosity: Ube (purple yam), Vietnamese Coffee, Coconut Mango Sticky Rice, Lemongrass Lime Sorbet, Wasabi Honey, Rosewater White Chocolate Jasmine, Chocolate Yuzu, and more.
As a bonus, they serve their ice-cream in a mini Chinese take-out box. What’s not to love! They also sells beautiful handmade chocolates
801 Gerrard Street East
Hours: (as of Sept 12, 2020) Wednesday to Friday and Monday 8:30 am to 1 pm; Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 3 pm. Note: They sell the fancier pastries only on weekends. No cash, take-out only.
617 Gerrard Street East
Hours: (as of Sept 12, 2020) On holiday until September 17. otherwise, open Friday 4 to 7 pm; Saturday 12 noon to 7 pm, Closed Sunday to Thursday.
This Toronto mini-walk is #41 in the #TorontoUrbanGems section of Nathalie Prezeau’s new walking guide Toronto Best Urban Strolls.)
To get the guide, visit www.torontourbangems.com.