What part of Toronto is best known for designer home furnishing stores? The answer is King St East. The number of designer stores and showrooms has doubled in the last five years and now this area of the city has truly become The Design District.
By existing together in cohesion along this five block section of King Street, fourteen different home furnishing stores have become a niche marketplace worthy of hosting their own weekend festival. KEDD is the King St. East Design District weekend exhibition.
Top chefs prepare turkey dinner plates to be served with choice wines for KEDD visitors at Subzero on King St East, courtesy of the food magazine ANNA.
For the last two days, September 29th and 30th, fourteen different retailers, including Alexander Interiors Design, Bo Concept, Studio B, Kiosk, Klaus, Upcountry, Cambria, Modern Weave, Sub-Zero/Wolf and Andrew Richards Designs, mounted special in-store events for decorators, designers and furniture buffs.
It's a festival for folks who follow the fashion of furniture! If you happened to be walking along King St. E. on the last weekend in September, you may have noticed the participating retailers by the blue and white balloons, and red carpets out in front of the venues. There were food and drink and celebrity chefs cooking high end cuisine inside the stores.
There were also about forty attractive volunteers working the front doors and stamping passports, and I made the prettiest girls pose for my camera to vastly improve the quality of my journalism and your enjoyment of my awkward prose.
You had to have a passport to get in on the fun - to truly enjoy this event and become able to win prizes, etc. - and to be able to drink the wine and eat the crab cakes without any moral ambiguity, you had to buy a passport for $10. Relax, the money goes to Habitat for Humanity Toronto which is one of the more reputable charities helping the homeless in the city, and they do good work as an organization all across Canada.
Jason Alexander interiors designer at KEDD event on King St East in Toronto, Sept 29
The KEDD weekend's inaugural event combined various staples of luxurious lifestyle found in the city of Toronto, and offered the opportunity for thought-leaders within the district to showcase the best of local and international design. Deb Lewis of Toronto City Events explained to me that business owners could talk about whatever they fancied; she says "They might choose to celebrate state-of-the-art kitchen appliances and home furnishings or the latest advances in wine and dining." Deb accompanied me to Sub-Zero which were main event sponsors. Their appliance showroom had an amazing kitchen full of culinary inspiration on Saturday when they were cooking and serving turkey dinners with white or red wine; I reckon they did even more amazing attractions on Sunday.
On Sept 29 KEDD volunteer at UpCountry stamps my passport to prizes.
Sheamus J. Maclean predicts a bright future for the event and the area. This author was fortunate enough to encounter Sheamus Maclean among the throng of visitors at Savoia on Saturday. An economic performance architect, Sheamus has worked with the senior management of several area retailers to streamline customer acquisition and he specializes in helping retail outlets compete against the magnetic attraction of shopping malls which changed the business landscape thirty years ago. Sheamus says that King St. East has "...great urban scenery and storefronts that urban citizens want to come and explore and once here will never forget it."
Michael Pourvakil of Modern Weave spoke about on the subject of contemporary and classic carpet making. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn from Mr. Pourvakil about how to buy rugs, or rather how to appraise the quality of rugs, and he even offered simple insights into rug making and more introductory basics.
The event encourages the public to experience the growth in the area, stemming from King Street East's pioneers to the newest additions of design outlets in the neighbourhood.