Though only a few weeks old, Smock Cafe and Wonder Workshop is already buzzing with activity. Toddlers playing with quaint wooden toys, moms meeting for mom groups, children huddled around the two long crafts tables, hands sticky with glue and paint. Located on the Roncesvalles strip just south of Dundas West, this nascent spot exudes a charm that is at once homey and fantastical. The ambiance radiates whimsy – childish wonder mixed with the finesse of a well trained artist’s eye.
Smock Cafe has thought of everything – scrumptious, nutritious food, mostly organic and mostly local ($5-$10); a wholesome kids menu ($4.50) that is tempting for a toddler’s palate; toys that seem to come from a time when things were handmade – slowly, with care, and from natural materials.
Yet Smock Cafe is more than a cafe with a play area (though this is accomplished so well it warrants a trip). This is a place with a vision. At the heart of Smock Cafe lies a dedication to nurturing the creative spirit of your child. With each visit you have an opportunity to take advantage of the Wonder Workshop crafts table, facilitated by an Art Education specialist. You can book a spot at the table ($8) on-the-spot or in advance, for a single child or for a group. A spot at the table comes with full access to the collection of materials that stock this cafe’s shelves. Beyond that, Smock Cafe hosts a series of camps and classes designed to engage your child with various creative mediums – paint, mixed media, movement, music, food. They occasionally close their doors to host customized events – birthday parties with specialized themes designed to delight young minds.
Smock Cafe is a buzz of activity in the mornings, an intensity that winds into a calm by the mid afternoon hours – pick your timing accordingly. Whatever the time of day, you are sure to leave with a full belly, an imagination sparked and a reason to return.
By: Nysa Zaran