Perhaps the best time to enjoy Locke is on a cool, crisp day in December, when the street is decorated festively for the Christmas season and browsers line the sidewalks.
By Ryan McGreal
Published December 13, 2010
I lived on Locke street in the mid-1990s, when it was a comparatively dispirited place. Among the sleepy antique and consignment stores were just a few highlights: Ron's Big Easy, a cajun restaurant run by Daniel Lanois' brother, the late Ron Lanois; Henry Black Books, run by the charming and book-obsessed Henry Black (who, I'm sad to learn, just recently passed away); a strange place called Agnes' Floral Creations and Gifts, the purpose of which I was never quite able to determine, given that they didn't seem to sell actual flowers.
Since then, and particularly in the past decade, Locke Street - indeed, the entire neighbourhood - has undergone a renaissance that has been nothing short of breathtaking. As the antique stores have slowly migrated to Ottawa Street (another traditional commercial district undergoing a revival), a wide variety of new stores have crowded in, filling a variety of niches and and collectively providing a pretty comprehensive suite of businesses.
Locke Street now has bakeries, a butcher, a grocery store, cheese shop, restaurants, book store, clothing stores, cafes, design shops, a delicious burrito hut, galleries and more.
Perhaps the best time to enjoy Locke is on a cool, crisp day in December, when the street is decorated festively for the Christmas season and browsers line the sidewalks. To give you a taste of what the street has to offer, here's a sampling of photos taken over the past few days.
Locke South banners and wreaths hang from the hydro poles
The reinvented Courtyard provides intimate fine-dining
Earth to Table Bread Bar already feels like an instant classic. They started a bit rocky but listened to customers and iterated rapidly.
Decorations in the window of Lulu and Lavigne
Epic Books is epic
Christmas trees line the sidewalks
La Jardiniere always has magnificent Christmas decorations
Decorative pieces fill the windows at Textures, an artisans' co-op
Sweetness Bakery: their chocolate mint cupcakes are delicious
A Christmas tree in the window of Locke Street Antiques, one of the last remaining antique stores
Kataya: don't be put off by the creepy hand doorknob. They have some great women's fashions designed in-house
Looks like a pinko cyclist is buying some chocolate at Forrat's
The Art Alley wraps around the side of Ten Thousand Villages
The arrival of Starbucks did not signal the death-knell of independent coffee shops on Locke
Bad Dog Cafe: reports of its impending death were greatly exaggerated
The tree stump in front of the Hellingman office is decorated for Christmas year-round
The Beasley House Bistro predates the recent wave of hipness on Locke Street
The past two Saturdays, a horse-drawn carriage has taken people-watchers up and down the street
Decorations line the front pillars of the Wrapping Room
Kutz 4 Kidz is in on the decorating action
Dusk falls over Citizen Kid
The Bar on Locke comes to life
Lights blaze from Goodness Me, downstairs, and Pure, upstairs
Paradise Lost: the iconic fish and chip shop awaits new owners
The decorations at La Jardiniere are best appreciated at night