How Restaurants (and Bars) Rehabilitated A Neighbourhood

By Fiesta Farms

/May 22 2023

This is an incredible story of gentrification. The good kind.

This is about community building and local business.

In a recent Toronto Star story, one of the city’s most prolific writers Christine Sismondo, explored the gentrification of Bloorcourt. Not through massive condo developments or big box stores as you might think, but rather a story of gentrification on a human level and it was done through food (and drinks!).


Civil Liberties, the country’s best bar, brings Torontonians together, one cocktail at a time


It’s a story of Bloorcourt, a somewhat depressed area that’s been revitalized by an influx of independent restaurants and bars. It all started in 2003 when Banjara, what would become one of the city’s most popular Indian restaurants, opened for business. It was a start, but that one restaurant alone wasn’t enough to push back against the dark days Bloorcourt residents found themselves living in. Banjara flourished though, and eventually other businesses came in. Most notably, Civil Liberties, a cocktail mecca that has taken home the title Best Bar in Canada from the esteemed World’s 50 Best list for the last two years.



“That’s not the only change to the neighbourhood. Within a couple of hundred metres in either direction, residents now have many excellent dining and drinking options, including churrasco at La Bella Managua, the vegetarian platter at Selam Restaurant and Lounge, Bohemian Pilsner at Tallboys and low-intervention sparkling wine at Paradise Grapevine, easily one of the city’s best wine bars.” – Christine Sismondo, Toronto Star


the Chantecler team, photo courtesy of Toronto Life


And just a few months ago Chantecler relocated from Parkdale to the area and brought in another incredible dining room for people to flock to. Not to mention a patio that overlooks Christie Pits Park.

Independent, local small businesses working to make our communities more vibrant and liveable, while at the same time elevating the incredible experience of living in this beautiful city we call home – now that’s the kind of gentrification we love to see.