Leanne Delap, the former editor of Fashion magazine and current fashion editor at the Globe has named Brock Village (or Brockton Village, depending on how far back you want to go) “The Very Latest Nascent Fashion Hive” in the Globe and Mail recently. The link is here.
When I started working at 69 Buy the Pound in Brockton almost 2 years ago, it definitely wasn’t a “Fashion Hive”. I was hard pressed to find a decent meal in the neighbourhood – never mind a good cup of coffee. The only places to eat nearby were Ali Baba’s and Pizza Pizza. When the empty restaurant next door showed signs of renovations, I might as well have been going to meet Karl Lagerfeld I was so excited. Finding out that it was going to be a Vegan Cafe – and one that grew their own vegetables in the back yard – just about quadrupled my anticipation! My vegetarian friends who worked down on Queen St. and ate nothing but Poutini’s were jealous of ME, with a vegetarian restaurant right next door up at Bloor and Brock! Imagine! Calico has not only done well with innovative and amazing vegan meals – they’re packed every time I’m in there – but they won the Critics Pick for Best Vegetarian Restaurant 2009 in NOW Magazine last year!
The Holy Oak, a peaceful little coffee shop that features live music almost every night except for Wednesdays (that’s board games night) opened just after that. Then came The Captains Treasure and Ping Pong (both vintage furniture stores) which both opened at almost the same time in late 2009. Ping Pong focuses on mid-century furniture while The Captains Treasure is a gold mine of knick knacks and antiques. There is a real sense of community among the people who live and work in the area – and a sense of camaraderie.
I can remember what Queen St. felt like when I was still in high school – there was an independent vibe, lots of vintage, no starbucks, no second cup. There were still secrets to be found. Brockton feels like that right now. Working at 1234, I was lucky enough to talk to alot of people in the community, and I heard one thing over and over in the past two years: This neighbourhood has gotten so much better recently. I also heard lots of stories about the “Old” Brockton- it sounded like a colorful place.
And perhaps there is a Starbucks in little Brockton’s future (for the record, I hope not) but for now, it’s at that sweet spot where it still has a little grit to it (try Duffy’s on a Thursday if you’re after grit) but there are more than a few diamonds in the rough. Thanks for the shout-out, Leanne!