Don’t let the winter doldrums get you down. Baby, it may be cold outside, but that is no reason why you have to stay indoors, huddled beneath your blankets until spring. Wintertime is the best time to get out and explore our picturesque downtowns here in York Durham Headwaters, thanks to our warm-hearted shop and restaurant owners who can’t wait to greet you, whether you are an old friend, or a new one waiting to be made. Your boots were made for walking, so we at YDH challenge you to lace up and get on the GO—the GO Train, that is.
If you’re up for a wintertime walk that is about 20 minutes by foot from the Whitby GO Station on the Lakeridge East line, then we cordially invite you to visit Downtown Whitby in Durham Region. This thriving district is packed with unique shopping and dining opportunities, but still retains that small-town charm that is sure to warm the cockles of your heart at this chilly time of year. If we can’t persuade you to give a refreshing winter walk a try, then the good news is that it’s only five minutes from the station by Uber or taxi. Or, you can take the bus just one stop north to reach your destination—and what a destination it is!
Give the big-box stores a bypass this winter and shop local. Start with Words on Wood at 113 Brock Street South. If you love custom hand-painted signs and unique farmhouse décor, then this is the shop for you. Plan ahead and attend an upcoming workshop or event like Wine and Sign, Tea Tray to Go, and Gallery Wall. It’s shopping and a day of entertainment! You don’t need to be an avid knitter or crocheter to appreciate a good yarn store. Artisanthropy Fibre Arts at 125 Brock South has all the yarn and thread craft goods and tools you need to get started on your next—or even your first—project. Don’t miss the popular Artisanthropy In-Person Socials if you love a good knit-and-natter.
If you love all things up-cycled vintage, then just around the corner, B/A Vintage at 114 Dundas West is the place for you. This gorgeous shop (painted in bright turquoise so you can’t miss it!) glistens with brilliant chandeliers to illuminate all the painted treasures within. B/A Vintage also sells Annie Sloan and Farrow & Ball chalk paints, among other furniture painting supplies. Speaking of turquoise, check out Whitby’s favourite women’s vegan clothing store, Turquoise Boutique at 143 Brock South. This pet-friendly shop brings you unique fashion from Italy, LA and Montreal.
Good food, good drinks, good times
It’s not a trip to Downtown Whitby without a visit to the Brock Street Brewing Company. This craft brewery at 244 Brock South, well known in local LCBOs around Ontario, is premium craft, premium flavour and all natural. Pick up your favourite local flavours to take home, or enjoy The Third, the only rooftop lounge and patio of its kind in Durham Region. Downstairs is 12Welve Bistro and Tapwerks, a gorgeous brick bistro with delectable dishes that cater to all cuisines. Whether it’s steak, seafood, pasta, or vegan and vegetarian, there is something to satisfy any palate.
For animal, vegetable and libation, make your way to 120 Brock North. Here, KB Food is a stunning eatery which offers a fresh and playful take on dining in Whitby. The menu is market-driven, and features daily creations that evolve with the seasons and showcases the best in local, sustainable ingredients. Plan in advance, and sign up for a cooking class or attend Sunday Brunch a la carte. A short jaunt away, at 105 Dundas West, is the F+Art Café… Food + Art, that is. Be fed holistically—body, mind and spirit. This unique café offers fresh eat-in meals so that you can enjoy being surrounded by gorgeous, handmade art. Like what you see? Support the artist and purchase a piece to take home with you.
Need a winter warmup in the form of a hot drink? Whitby’s coffee culture lives at Brock St. Espresso. This upscale coffee boutique at 131 Brock South partners with Propeller Coffee Co., a small-batch roaster that specializes in sourcing some of the world’s best beans. Jacked Up Coffee Roasting Company at 132 Brock North offers onsite-roasted coffee in a quaint and quiet location that is, unbelievably, a re-imagined auto body garage. Talk about a unique way to warm up!
While you’re here, check out some other things to do. First, there is the Whitby Courthouse Theatre at 416 Centre Street South. This non-profit community theatre is located in the historic Whitby Courthouse building, and is performing You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown this winter, a musical which explores life through the eyes of Charlie Brown and his Peanuts gang. Don’t miss it!
If your weary feet need a rest from all that winter walking, have a seat at the Love Lock Heart and Murals parkette on the corner of Dundas Street and Byron Street. This once derelict corner has been transformed into a place where lovers can attach their own “love locks” to a chain link heart. This is a must-see collaboration between the Town of Whitby and the Whitby BIA to remind you of just how special you are to this charming downtown.
For all of your favourite arcade games in a cool café setting, stop in at 8-Bit Beans at 100 Brock South. Nestled in the heart of Whitby’s downtown, this full-service café and bar caters to nostalgia lovers of all ages. The espresso bar and café offers 8-Bit Beans’ own coffee, the bar menu features local craft beer, liquor and specialty cocktails, and the food menu offers sandwiches, gourmet hot dogs and snacks and cakes. It’s the perfect fuel to keep you gaming on more than 20 classic arcade cabinets.
Story by Katherine Ryalen