The Perfect Day: Tour Toronto with Chip Zdarsky

You might know him as Chip Zdarsky. Possibly Steve Murray. But probably Chip Zdarsky (aka Steve Murray). The comic book artist is not only half of the duo behind the award-winning series Sex Criminals and writer of the upcoming Marvel comic Howard the Duck, but he was also an illustrator for one of the country’s national newspapers and once ran for mayor of Toronto (in a fake campaign). Here, Chip shares his ideal day in the city from a power brunch to 3 a.m. hot dogs.

Brunch of champions “I’ve lived in Toronto for one million years and brunch has been a part of it for at least 990,000 of them. The one that I wake up thinking about is out of the downtown core, just a short stroll north of Lansdowne subway station, called Starving Artist. The name implies bohemian, but nobody breaks out into poetry slams while you eat your eggs. They specialize in waffles, and my go-to is poached eggs on caramelized bacon on potato waffles. Yeah, potato waffles. They’re like creamy mashed potatoes but fried into a waffle shape. I would stab you for a bite, I swear to god.”

Add to your comic book collection “Want to be a comic book nerd but not look like a comic book nerd? Local comic shop The Beguiling has opened a new boutique location north of the Bloor and Yonge subway station, attached to the Toronto Public Reference Library. You can pretend to be going to check out the library, which is itself a pretty majestic structure, and then go, “Oh! What’s this? Some sort of ‘graphic novel shoppe?’ I’ve heard those are all the rage in The New York Times!” Then you can go in and buy a Batman book. I won’t tell.”

Browse indie art on Queen West “Yeah, we have the Art Gallery of Ontario, but what are you, a tourist? There are a bunch of small galleries along Queen Street West, starting at Dufferin and heading east. On a nice summer’s day I love heading down this stretch, poking my head in galleries and vintage shops. If you get tired, pop on one of our famous streetcars for a slow, frustrating ride!”

I go to a lot of a bars because I have a problem (I love to socialize!!). Probably my favourite is Get Well

Refuel at Trinity Bellwoods Park “When I head down Queen on one of these trips, I eventually hit Trinity Bellwoods Park. It’s pretty hopping in the good weather, with twentysomethings discreetly drinking and playing badminton or Frisbee or frisminton (some cool new sport). Across the street is The White Squirrel, a coffee shop named after a rare white squirrel who frequented the park and was our mayor from 1996-2000 (I think). The coffee is good but the real treat is their ice cream. I usually get roasted marshmallow and my girlfriend gets lemon meringue and we share because that’s what lovers do.”

Head west for dinner at The Atlantic “I hesitate to tell you about my favourite dinner spot because I suspect it’s already in danger of being overrun, but I am very kind and you seem like a nice person. The Atlantic on Dundas West is unconventional. The chef/owner has no menu. He just makes what he wants and serves it to you — and it’s amazing. He’s super nice, too! All of this goes a long way since it’s also — get this — pay what you want (for food, not booze). It’s fantastic.”

Enjoy a drink with Dolly Parton “I go to a lot of a bars because I have a problem (I love to socialize!!). Probably my favourite to round off an evening is Get Well on Dundas near Ossington. It’s big, welcoming and has a great beer list. But my favourite parts are the video games and pinball machines at the back. They even have a Dolly Parton pinball machine! Now doesn’t a beer and Dolly Parton sound good?”

The true gentleman’s nightcap “If I’m drinking with my buddies, we usually stumble out of Get Well and go to the nearby 7-Eleven at Dundas and Dovercourt, where I buy two hot dogs and eat them in the parking lot at 3 a.m. Look, I’m just telling you what I do.”

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