Home to both sunlit alcove and dimly-lit Toronto seclusion.
In a part of Toronto known for upscale martini bars and attractive dining options, the introduction of Ted’s Collision & Body Repair to the city’s Little Italy neighborhood shook up the area when it was opened in 1994. Founder Ted Footman described the Toronto dive bar’s opening as a “bit of a shock for the neighborhood,” the structure playing a welcome contrast to some of the fancy options nearby thanks to a very rock & roll, grungy vibe that is immediately obvious upon entry.
Prevented from opening the rock club and live music venue he originally envisioned for the space thanks to city ordinance, Footman opened the nearby Ted’s Wrecking Yard, operating the venue from 1997 until 2001. Those original live music-infused plans certainly stuck with the Ted’s Collision space, a thin layer of attractive grime applied to the atmosphere that engulfs the College Street bar. And though the space is not a live music venue necessarily, it looks like it could be and that’s only a credit to the drinking experience within.
Footman eventually sold Ted’s Collision to a partnership that includes current co-owner Greg Bain, who can often be found behind the bar. The updates are, thankfully, limited, preserving what feels like a very 1994-era set of dive bar amenities. The ceiling tiles are painted black, the floor is worn (and also black) and a faint red hue cascades over the deceptively cavernous space thanks to very strategic lighting and the presence of candles on each one of the bar’s many tables.
The Ted’s Collision and Body Repair should not be overlooked, its pale blue color and retro design a good fit for an area that benefits from a link to the not-so-distant past. A large window in the front of the space creates a small alcove with seating that resembles old-school elementary chair-slash-desk contraptions. A pair of church pew-like benches can be found in this front area before the space transitions into the long bar that runs well into the depths of the space. A red neon sign emblazoned with “ROCK” can be found here, laying on its side.
Ted’s Collision narrows a bit as it flows toward the rear of the space, short tables running along the length of the wall opposite the bar next to a wall inscribed with all manner of etching and graffiti. In the rear of the building, the space opens back up with ample room for a large number of mismatched tables and chairs, creating a perfectly secluded yet spacious seating option nicely separated from the busy Toronto streets outside. A chandelier and select spot lighting extend the warming effect of Ted’s Collision in this rear space, an area also home to the bar’s pool table and pinball machine.
Out back, a compact patio mixes a little bit of shelter with open-air access to the Toronto weather that is probably both a blessing and a curse at times. A few select bits and pieces of graffiti and cinder block artwork can be found here, a number of tables filling the space. In keeping with the bar’s environment (and cash only policy), the drinks here are nicely affordable and include a set of rotating tap options that extend the selection outside of typical dive bar favorites. Cans are discounted during a 6 PM to 10 PM happy hour that runs every weekday.