Crafted by Te Aro

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Lower Ossington St. certainly is gaining recognition as one of hottest spots in town. But the hot factor is likely due to the steam rising from this sexy little café. Their drip coffee is made from their custom ground French press ($3.15 for 2 cups), but the real eye-turner is their revolutionary cold drip coffee. Taking only six hours to filter through distilled ice cubes, this impressive, mad-scientist looking contraption is sure to impress even the biggest of coffee snobs. Come see for yourself.

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The People of Ideal Coffee (Toronto)

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It has gotten to the point in Toronto where hip character-filled coffee shops are literally everywhere. They serve delicious drinks and snacks with attention to taste, allergies and of course quality. It begs the questions, what sets them apart? With everyone doing such a good job it really is almost impossible to decide based on the merit of the coffee alone.

Located on Ossington, just south of Dundas is Ideal Coffee. It’s been here for 5 years and is the second location in Toronto, the first being in Kensington market. Their espresso is a blend of fair trade South American beans prepared on a vintage hand operated machine. The decor is reminiscent of a 1920s church or grade school with long sweeping benches married to vintage wall treatments and worn chairs. The overall vibe is one of a tradition and it is certainly easy to feel at home here as the south facing windows bath the place in luxurious sunlight half the day. But again, spot on dcor isn’t exclusive to this shop and places like the common and the tampered press have achieved equally cozy styled environments. What sets this shop apart isn’t what’s on the walls its what’s in the seats.

In a recent conversation with local musician Taylor Knox I asked him why he comes to Ideal Coffee especially when he has to walk by 4 other shops on the way there from his house. “Ideal is a meeting place, and I’m not fully sure but I think only nice people come here. At least that has been my experience” And I couldn’t have put it better. Its true, Ideal Coffee isn’t just a place to get caffeinated, its a meeting place, a place where you can pick up a coffee and maybe an interaction that leaves you feeling better then before you came. Sit down at one of the three marble toped communal tables and you are sure to strike up a conversation. As I sit here writing this article “Hound Dog” by Big Mama Thornton came on the speakers and of the 10 or so people in the place about 7 of us joined in singing parts of it together. It is these types of businesses that foster this sense of community which add to the vibrant nature and character of downtown Toronto, adding to beauty of this city and its people.

So as I sit here finishing my coffee on a Tuesday afternoon watching people come and go with smiles and comments to each other, I realize its not just the coffee that makes Ideal Coffee my favorite shop in the city, its the people.

Cafe Pamenar (Toronto)

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On Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market, you’ll find what some people refer to as the best coffee shop in Toronto. This long, narrow metallic café offers customers an artistic experience while they nurse their americanos in style. Their espresso can be described as a complex blend of citrus, aired berries and cocoa. But complex as it may be, their prices remain simple and justifiable. An industrial style gem in a lively, diverse neighborhood.

Bisognos (Toronto)

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Right at Sherbourne and Adelaide is a cute little café, run by the sweetest of baristas with a smile to light up the room. Her latte designs depend on her mood, but you’re likely to get either a heart or a leaf on any given day.  The atmosphere is cozy, with lounge chairs and desks to work at, as well as creative detailing on their signs and spoon containers.

The Big Guy’s Coffee Shop (Toronto)

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The “Big Guy” has two locations, 2861 Lake Shore Blvd. West and 1718 Queen Street West. Both offer unpretentious service and premium drip coffee. Empty bellies are welcome as  snacks range from pastries to hand-made sandwiches and fresh soup. There are games and books for loungers and big desks and tables for the studious. The walls typically feature local art and their free wifi makes it tough not to just move right in. Both locations are located near public transit, perfect for a quick stop before work or school.

Subway

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Subway

Owning and operating a subway franchise is advantageous because of the popularity of the brand and the relatively low investment cost involved. Subway restaurants are generally located in major shopping centres and in other areas with a high amount of foot traffic. The franchising fees go up if your desired location is in a non-traditional area — think amusement park, hospital, and college campus. Subway offers the possibility of purchasing your own location or acquiring an existing one. As with any franchise, the name of the game is location, location, location. Subway claims that there are currently 2000 interested parties searching for a desirable location.

Tim Hortons

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Tim Hortons

The great staple of Canadiana should have your inner franchisor seeing dollar signs. Even as competitors in the inexpensive coffee space have tried to eat away at Tim Horton’s market share, a legion of loyal consumers can be found every morning outside almost every location. There’s a few specifics that you should know about the coffee conglomerate before taking the plunge. For starters, Tim Horton’s isn’t conducive towards silent partners or corporations. In other words, this is a cash cow opportunity for those who are willing to get into the day to day operation of the store. Another prerequisite is that you apply with a partner. To own a Tim Hortons franchise you have to be prepared to put in some long hours and be an activate manager, at least during the initial phases.