Tag Archives: The Annex

Great-Tasting Baking: COBS Bread

Great-Tasting Baking: COBS Bread

Originating in British Columbia, COBS has made a comfortable home for itself across Canada. With many locations in Toronto, COBS is positioning itself as a tasty, healthy option for buying baked goods. I walked into their Annex location (like their Kensington location, an excellent place to stop in the midst of a Sunday afternoon stroll) to buy their pizza bases and left with seven-grain bread and sourdough as well. It’s hard to resist fresh bread, especially at a bakery that only sells what they’ve baked that day. You can rest assured that the leftovers aren’t going to waste — COBS donates much of the day-old bread to charities.

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You can also be confident that what you buy is good for you, as well as for the community, by encouraging healthy bread options at fair prices. All traditional breads are made without added preservatives, colouring, sugar, or dairy. Alongside crunchy white bread, you’ll find sourdough, rye, multigrain (labelled "country grain"), and pumpernickel. There’s also a higher-fibre white bread with three times the fibre and the same taste. Their chia bread is a source of Omega-3. If you aren’t sure what to pack for the kids when they’re at school, there’s a pamphlet on the counter that lists healthy suggestions using COBS baked goods, complete with mouth-watering photographs to convert candy-craving children. Since the prices per loaf are relatively equal ($4 to $5) to what you'd find at the Metro across the street, there's no reason not to make COBS your bakery of choice.

If you do feel like indulging, COBS has an assortment of sweet treats all year round, including apple and walnut logs, blueberry teatimes, classic cinnamon buns, and scones galore — pumpkin, cinnamon, fruit, chocolate, banana chocolate, apple and butterscotch, or berry and white chocolate. If you’re looking for seasonal fare, fall is the season for pumpkin, Christmastime brings ginger buns, spring is for lemon tarts and danishes, and Easter is all about hot cross buns.

The excellence of COBS bread is recognized beyond its customers. Looking around the shop, I saw 2012 and 2013 regional baking competition wins displayed above their breads, half of which were for first place (their high fibre and whole wheat loaves, respectively). You’ll also find COBS products all around the neighbourhood. The 370 Bloor Street location provides baked goods for a number of restaurants (there’s a list of them right next to the cash, including Serra, Insomnia, KO Burger, and Morocco in Yorkville). You’ve probably enjoyed their food without knowing it. If you need more baked goodness than you can find on their shop’s shelves, they take orders for events (the example one COBS employee gave me was 120 buns for a barbecue).

cobs bakery

Like me, you might go to COBS to pick up pre-made pizza bases that you can throw in the freezer until you want to make a delicious dinner with as many veggies as you like and the cheese you prefer — whether low-fat mozzarella or Greek feta. Maybe you need some good sandwich bread for lunches at work or for the kids’ meals at school. Or perhaps you just want to pick up some pumpkin scones to eat at home with some apple cider or hot chocolate in celebration of fall. Whatever you’re looking for, the cheerful, enthusiastic staff at COBS will find it for you.

Kensington Pedestrian Sundays: A Celebration in the Streets

Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Large Crowd
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Large Crowd

Click individual photos to enlarge and enter the Lightbox Gallery.We are introducing a brand new series of Photo Essays! Have a look at amazing Photo Sets all shot by talented photographers. Explore the vibe of the city, its hidden treasures, meet the Torontonians! This time, let's have a look at Toronto through the lens of Carlos Bolivar!

Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Street Band
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Street Band

Kensington Market: One of Toronto's Unique Neighbourhoods

The charm of Kensington's rich multicultural mix comes from its many vintage boutiques, cafés, fresh air markets, and local stores. It boasts diversity and colour like no other spot in Toronto. This neighbourhood is a true hot spot for Torontonians and visitors. The unique community lies between College Street to the north, Spadina Avenue to the east, Dundas Street West to the south, and Bathurst Street to the west.

Home to many beautiful Victorian homes, the area was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2006. With its many murals, art work, and interesting characters who visit Kensington's many cozy cafés (located mostly along Nassau and Baldwin streets), the area has become one of the most photographed places in the city. During the summer, it buzzes with large crowds of visitors. It's also a very frequent location for outdoor festivals, farmer's markets, and live street music performances.

How did Kensington evolve into such a special place it is today? In the first half of the century, Kensington was known as “the Jewish Market,” as about 60,000 Jews lived here and ran their family businesses — such as bakeries or tailor stores. There were 30 synagogues in the area at that time. After the Jewish inhabitants had slowly moved away to newly developed neighbourhoods in the north, Kensington changed its face after a large number of immigrants and political refugees from different backgrounds moved in. Diversity is the most visible feature of this open community that is also known for the most delicious street foods in town. The many restaurants offer a large variety of cuisines. Small shops are packed with goods from Europe as well as second-hand and vintage clothing. Several alternative bookstores flourish here — including Who's Emma, the Anarchist Free Space, and Uprising Books.

You might call Kensington Market the centre of Toronto's cultural life, as many artists and writers live in the area now. The community has succeeded so far in keeping away large corporations and has built on the concept of local, organic, and unique spaces. When Nike tried to open a new store here, the plans were rejected by a strong demonstration against the brand and its treatment of workers in a creative way. People dumped dozens of running shoes painted red in front of the premises. So don't be surprised not to find any of these global brands here, but that's what makes this neighbourhood so likeable.

Trivia: Have you noticed the many extensions built onto the front of the buildings? This unique architectural feature would be against by-laws in other places in town.

The 10th Year Anniversary: Pedestrian Sundays Celebration Returns to Kensington

Kensington Market is one of the most walkable neighbourhoods in the city. This is celebrated every summer when the streets shut down to motorists and pedestrians take over. Concerts, good food, art exhibitions, and interest groups promoting ecology or anti-globalization claim the streets. So make sure you reserve one of your Sundays for Kensington! The next dates are: August 25th, September 29th and October 27th so let's all hope the weather turns out well.

Kensington Pedestrian Sundays 2013
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays 2013
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Green Car
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Green Car
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays in the Park
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays in the Park
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Crowd
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Crowd
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Giant Scrabble
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Giant Scrabble
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Tango in the Streets
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Tango in the Streets
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Street Festival
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Street Festival
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Live Band
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Live Band
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Performer
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Performer
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Live Performance
Kensington Pedestrian Sundays Live Performance

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Meet the Photographer

Carlos Bolivar

Carlos Bolivar

Colombian photographer based in Toronto, started with analog Photography in 2003, then jumping to the digital world in 2005. His photographic areas are mainly street, landscapes, portrait and beauty.