I decided to write about a place that has special meaning to me. I want to talk about Harbord Bakery because to me it is legendary. Harbord just celebrated their 70th Anniversary in 2015. It’s still family owned and operated, and still in the same location. Four generations of my family have frequented this landmark and they are still going gangbusters! Harbord Bakery opened in 1945 by the Kosower family who had emigrated to Toronto from Poland. The bake shop has been popular from the day it opened and it still thrives today. It originally catered to the Jewish immigrants in the area. In 1955 they expanded and redesigned the space. The family used to live above the bakery for many years. The establishment has remained and adapted to new wave of immigrants and to the students from the University of Toronto. But I know people who drive here from all over the city, just to get a challah. Why? Because they make THE best challah in the city. It is sweet, dense and moist. The rest of their breads are pretty amazing as well, especially the rye breads, the black breads and the onion bread too. They also make the city’s best blintzes. If you are going to break your diet I highly recommend these buttery and sweet creamed-filled pillows. They are even better if you fry them in butter and top with sour cream and jam.?
Not everything is great here but they have a lot of home runs. The chocolate cake (which is so rich and dense), babka cake, moist carrot cake, and the pistachio cookies and fruit and cheese danishes are wonderful. They also do this amazing chocolate cookie with nuts that is heavenly. More than just sweets, Harbord Bakery has a ready made food counter with various salads, entrees, quiche, chopped liver, gefilte fish, empanadas, and so on. Part of the store sells children’s toys, don’t ask me why but this is perfect for a grandmother or grandfather to pick up a little something for their grandchildren. Now, a whole new generation of young people are moving into this area of the Annex, which has become popular again. It’s great to see Harbord Bakery is still popular, they were artisanal bakers before “artisanal” became so trendy.
Harbord is an institution, one of the few left in Toronto. Shopping here is an experience, and it kind of makes you feel like you are a kid again.
Harbord Bakery is located at 115 Harbord Street. They run out of things quickly, so come early or call and place an order.