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By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.
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La Cubana's bright exterior is a pop of color in Toronto's Ossington neighborhood.
La Cubana's bright exterior is a pop of color in Toronto's Ossington neighborhood.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in the Ossington strip

La Cubana's bright exterior is a pop of color in Toronto's Ossington neighborhood.
La Cubana's bright exterior is a pop of color in Toronto's Ossington neighborhood.
  • By Mai Nguyen
  • Photos by Chris Donovan
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Ossington strip
Toronto
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Two decades ago, nobody would have visited this grimy stretch for fun — unless their version of fun was buying a used car or visiting a storage facility. The neighborhood steadily gentrified, and it now offers much more: diverse restaurants, fashionable retailers and craft breweries. It only takes 10 minutes to walk the entire strip from Queen to Dundas, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself here for hours.

Meet Mai Nguyen

Mai has lived in Toronto since 2006. Before that, she lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Vancouver, B.C.; and Halifax, Nova Scotia — which has kept her from developing the center-of-the-universe complex that Torontonians sometimes get.

Want to get in touch?

MailSolidEmail bytheway@washpost.com
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Ossington strip

The Painted Lady
It’s difficult to know what kind of night you’ll have here. You might go in for one drink, then find yourself head-bopping to a band or watching a burlesque dancer on the bartop.
The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6J 2Z9
Pho Tien Thanh
The baby-pink walls are not why this family-run restaurant stands out — it’s the classic Vietnamese recipes. The pho and Hue-style spicy noodle soup has a super-loyal following, so be prepared to share a table with strangers.
Pho Tien Thanh, 57 Ossington Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6J 2Y9
La Cubana
Owner Corinna Mozo makes a mean Cuban sandwich, pressing together sliced ham and slow-roasted pork shoulder between house-baked bread. Another good choice: any of their ample plates served with fried plantains, red cabbage slaw, and rice and beans.
La Cubana, 92 Ossington Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6J 2Z4
There's more to see
Mai Nguyen
Mai has lived in Toronto since 2006. Before that, she lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Vancouver, B.C.; and Halifax, Nova Scotia — which has kept her from developing the center-of-the-universe complex that Torontonians sometimes get.
Instagram
bymainguyen
Chris Donovan
Chris is a Toronto-based contributing photographer for The Washington Post who grew up on the ocean and misses it dearly (but on good days, when the sun glistens off Lake Ontario, it does just fine). He loves living in Toronto because of the diversity and great food from around the world.
Instagram
cdonovanphoto

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