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Settling into Toronto’s centre

For avid cyclists, the St. Lawrence Market district is an ideal place to put down roots.

For avid cyclists, the St. Lawrence Market district is an ideal place to put down roots.

And that’s exactly what freelance copy editor Eva Hecht and photographer Rudi Christl did 23 years ago. From their apartment on the Esplanade, they can hop on their bikes and be at Lake Ontario in minutes. From there they can ride waterfront trails east to the Beaches or west to Port Credit. “Last year, we cycled over 2,500 kilometers,” says Rudi.

Aside from the proximity of bike trails, the rich history of the area was a major attraction. Old warehouses still stand as does the triangular red-brick flatiron building that dates back to 1891 and houses offices and a pub. The couple has come to enjoy the newer cultural traditions including the annual Buskerfest and Woofstock dog festival.

“We love to be around the fun and the kind of buzz from these festivals,” says Eva. The area also has a range of theatrical events from plays at Canadian Stage to the affordable Market Square Rainbow Cinema. “It’s a four-minute walk for $4 Tuesdays; it’s the cheapest theatre in town,” says Eva.

After a flick, the couple may stop at C’est What and choose from a selection of six dozen brews on tap, and then to Le Papillon for a curry crepe. The Corner Place is another favourite spot where Eva is partial to sliders and spicy chicken salad. For Rudi, Betty’s on King Street is a preferred place to meet with buddies in the film and advertising industry and enjoy a pint of German Hacker Pschorr beer.

Rudi does the food shopping and the St. Lawrence Market, rated among the world’s best public markets, is his first stop. He’s sure to pick something up at White House Meats and Domino’s bulk foods.

On a rainy afternoon, the couple may stop in at Nicholas Hoare, a rare independent bookstore.

“It’s our refuge,” says Eva. “It’s a classic old bookstore and a great place to just sit and read in a comfortable chair,” adds Rudi, who is working on his third photographic book of Toronto.

When the sun’s out, the St. Lawrence Sunday Antique Market is buzzing. It’s a treasure trove for conscientious shoppers like Eva. Another of her favorite haunts is High Tech where she recently splurged on a brushed aluminum kitchen timer. “The area is a mecca for furniture designers and decorators,” she says.

 
 
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