We all know being a student means living on a low budget, especially in a city like Toronto where it seems like the bare essentials such as food and clothing cost an arm and a leg. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! In fact, all it takes is a little patience and a lot of exploring in pursuit of those hidden gems that pledge to keep your bellies full and your wardrobe á la mode.
Living in the east end of Toronto, I discovered the South Riverdale Good Food Market through a friend, located at 955 Queen Street East. This local treasure aims to provide fresh food at an affordable price for the surrounding community. They take great pride in keeping their community healthy and food secure! Everyone is welcome no matter where ya live! It is open on Tuesdays from 3-7pm for the duration of the summer; buy all your greens and fresh fruit for next to nothing and save your $$ for those back to school clothes!
Speaking of clothes, while you’re in the area, walk across the street and check out Debbie’s Vintage Vibes located at Riverdale Flea Market (717 Queen St. East) a women’s boutique that offers hand selected, fabulous, vintage clothing and accessories all at ridiculously affordable prices! It’s open from Monday to Saturday from 10-6pm and Sunday until 4:30pm. Debbie, the owner of the boutique, will thrill you with her great finds and tell you compelling stories about each article of clothing. It truly is a unique spot to shop!
Heading west towards Cabbagetown, The House on Parliament is a quaint little eatery that offers big n’ tasty food. As the name suggests, The House on Parliament is on 454 Parliament Street, just south of Carlton. It’s one of those spots where it takes you a good ten minutes to decide on your meal after debating between a few favourites. The warm, candle-lit milieu is an inviting space to bring friends, family or even that crush you’ve been eyeing in English lit! It has an intriguing clientele and staff that are friendly at the wee hours of the night, I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed!
Lastly (but mostly due to lack of space), the St. Lawrence Market, located at 92- 95 Front St E Toronto is a mix of all of the above. Fresh and local produce every day of the week (On Saturday’s I suggest you go closer to 5pm- They sell the last of their fruits and vegetables for only $1- I mean, it doesn’t get cheaper than that!) Throughout the week various artisan vendors sell unique, one-of-a kind clothing and jewelry that come from all around the world; Peru, China and India to name a few. On Sunday’s the market turns into a second-hand, garage sale-of-sorts antique market with hundreds of neat trinkets, knickknacks and collectables that will keep you looking all afternoon long! It’s the one place to go for that ‘one-of-a-kind’ find.