This past Saturday night I was out with a few friends in my neighborhood (St. Lawrence Market area). And I was delighted to see how busy it was. Virtually every bar or club we walked by had a line down the street.
Being the city geek that I am, I started thinking about two things: (1) how often I get localized to my neighborhood (I have data to back this up) and (2) what makes a “complete neighborhood”, such that you’re even able to be localized?
In some ways the idea of a “complete neighborhood” is universal. Everybody needs a grocery store and access to food, for example. But in other ways, a “complete neighborhood” is very much a personal thing – you want goods and services that are important to you.
So today I thought I would do a quick breakdown of the goods, services, and amenities that I really value in my neighborhood and that I think make it more or less “complete.” This list is a combination of universal and personal choices in no particular order. At the end, I summarize some of the things I wish I had.
What I have:
- A 5-10 minute walk to subway and streetcar
- A 24/7 grocery store
- A world famous food market (St. Lawrence Market)
- Staple coffee shops (Starbucks and Balzacs)
- Lots of restaurant and food choices (including decent Mexican, one of my favorite foods, and Pho, for when I feel a cold coming on)
- 2 drugstores (Shopper’s Drug Mart and a new Rexall)
- A great gym that’s less than a 10 minute walk away
- An outdoor/athletic store that also fixes bikes
- Cool local bar (AAA) where I can watch the Raptors (because I don’t own a TV)
- After work bar with a good Happy Hour (Pravda)
- Patios for the summer (all along the Esplanade)
- All the major banks
- Nearby recreational amenities (bike trails, waterfront, etc.)
- Local employment base (Wattpad, BNOTIONS, etc.)
- Great architecture (from Daniel Libeskind to the classics)
- High walkability
What I wish I had:
- Less chains and a few more independent businesses
- A hip indie coffee shop where the (male) staff have waxed moustaches
- A good takeout sushi place
- A pool that I could walk to (I ride my bike to Regent Park)
- A liquor store with longer hours (but alas this is Ontario)
Those are my working lists. What would create a complete neighborhood for you? And how does your current neighborhood hold up?