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Coffee shops, cheap diverse food places to eat + socializing


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Compared to 50+ years ago, it's great now that there are way more choices in coffee places/cafes, cheaper food places to eat with greater choice of cuisine and....eating out is social, business chat or just have a meal together.  It was never like this when I grew up.  For sure, as a kid I don't recall any of my (richer) friends hanging out in coffee shop or a burger place.  There wasn't one that was affordable in town.  It was just less of a thing to do. Same for adults..eating out was a bigger deal, more for "special occasion" or abit more formal.  

When dearie immigrated from Germany to Toronto, he said a lot of cafes in Toronto in mid 1950's well in early 1970's  had horrible coffee, limited tea choices and just boring horrible pastries/breads.  (more wonderbread stuff less artisan breads that we see today). Most likely something half decent was specific to an ethnic neighbourhood in Toronto and probably only 1-2 places for a very large ethnic neighbourhood which other non-ethnics wouldn't know unless one spoke the language or was from those communities. 

Now it's different. And it's a great thing. Of course, we don't necessarily save much money when eating out. But socializing is a good, healthy thing.

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Definitely has changed. Back in the 60's and high school, while a popular independent ice cream shop/café remains popular even today, THE place to be seen was McDonalds, backing into the slot and the parade of classmate's cars going by, and who was going out with whom. Both remain in business today, outlasting the chains, such as Lums that I would frequent with friends after a 3-11 shift at the hospital.

Today, several shops and expansion of the café concept to include sidewalks which didn't exist back in the 60's and 70's. Actually, one of my favorite is a bike theme café located in a 50's vintage strip shopping center a few store down from an LBS that apparently the only one in town that knows how to spell Campagnolo as they stock the products. And then there is the upscale street that I work on that is really a throwback in time with open park, bandshell, and RR station along part of it. This is sidewalk café dining central laced with high end stores along a 2 lane brick street. The biggest problem is parking and the inordinate amount of time people spend in the café, impacting parking for other businesses. It is not that there isn't free bulk parking lots the entire length of the street (6 blocks long), they want to parallel park along the street (3 hour time limit) rather than walk a block from the bulk parking lot (4 hour time limit). Gets to be quite a political issue.

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Actually, one of my favorite is a bike theme café located in a 50's vintage strip shopping center a few store down from an LBS that apparently the only one in town that knows how to spell Campagnolo as they stock the products.


I grew in a city of 30,000 at that time (now it's probably well over 100,000, +300,000 with a twin city right against its border). There was a steakhouse (which was run by a Middle Eastern family but they had Anglo beef dishes.  This was the 1960's -1970's.), pizza spaghetti place, a pub, a Chinese restaurant, and.....a European cafe which opened up in late 1970's.  It was all too expensive for kids ..and for our family.  Going to the Euopean cafe (Cafe Mozart) was special for locals...since it was more elegant layered cake/tortes, coffee or tea. One didn't slump in there looking sloppy. Unfortunately didn't open late enough, etc.

None of my richer friends talked about going to a hamburger place since most were not in the downtown core,,,,such places were in the suburbs at the time. Dairy Queen was the summer place for kids who had some money or earned some money.  I couldn't go anywhere to eat...I came from a poor family. 

I think parents back then, just didn't take out their kids eat often as what happens now in some families.  Also now with working mothers...the idea of home cooked meals all the time ...well you know the rest. 

Now even a stay at home parent, goes out to eat with very young kiddies during the work day. I don't think that was prevalent at all..50 yrs. ago. It simply wasn't part of people's thought processes but then maybe it was 2 extreme choices....burger place/ice cream place vs. sit down formal restaurant.  And nothing in-between long ago.

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