Mom on the Street: April Cook

Mom on the Street – Leslieville, March 20, 2013, 5:20pm

Toronto Mom Now recently had the pleasure of meeting mompreneur extraordinaire, April Cook. April is the co-owner and operator of the wildly popular kids’ and parents’ café, Lil’ Bean n’ Green Café n’ Play. Located in the heart of Leslieville in Toronto’s East End, the café is somewhere families go to meet, watch the kids play happily and drink great coffee. April is mom to Sophia, her adorable 4 year-old. We were excited to connect with her for our latest Mom on the Street feature.

Her Neighbourhood

April also lives in the neighbourhood where she chose to open her business. Leslieville is located to the south of Riverdale , and Queen Street East is the main thoroughfare. This neighbourhood, which ten years ago was called up and coming, has seen an amazing transformation. Where once there were rundown or empty storefronts are now some of the city’s top restaurants, boutiques and cafés. Bidding wars are commonplace for houses here as young families and couples line up to get into the neighbourhood.

What does this mom on the street have to say about it? “I love Leslieville’s small-town feel and eclectic mix of stores like Holy Cow, Damzels, Pied-a-Terre and cafés like Eadrey’s and Bonjour Brioche. I also love the abundance of natural stores here like Rowe Farms and Belmonte Raw.”

Her Favourite Activities with Sophia

“Sophia and I love to play in Hideaway Park, take trips to the ROM and Science Centre, and swim at the new Regent Park Aquatic Centre on a Sunday afternoon.”

“I love the accessibility to everything in Toronto from beautiful green parks and kid-friendly art and activity centres to independent cafés and restaurants that are wonderful to visit both with the lil’ ones and without – the city has a healthy balance of both.”

Her Favourite Places to go without Sophia

When she isn’t busy organising afternoon dance parties for the kids at the café, April likes to cut loose on the dance floor herself, salsa dancing with friends at Babaluu’s or El Rancho. Dinner with the girls is always a fun night out and the destination is often Gio’s Restaurant, better known around Toronto simply as ‘The Nose’.

Her Neighbourhood Hidden Gem

What neighbourhood spot does this mom on the street consider a hidden gem? Hideaway Park, also known as Leslieville’s secret garden, is located near Dundas Street East and Pape Avenue. The playground and wading pool are always busy spots for local kids and a calendar of events including an Easter egg hunt and Halloween party make the park a special place in the neighbourhood.

Thanks April for taking the time to share your neighbourhood secrets as a Mom on the Street!

Rebecca Ruddle

Rebecca is a Toronto born and bred mom of two young boys. She is always exploring the city looking for fun things to do, eat and see with them, without losing her sanity or breaking the bank. She blogs at Brain-Dead Mom.

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