Small-Town Fun for Families and Friends: Welcome to the Village of Brooklin

Katherine Ryalen

Brooklin is sure to be your new favourite destination for festivals, food, and fabulous finds...

At the intersection of Highways 7 and 12 in North Whitby begins a little place that is a world of its own. It may look quaint, but make no mistake: it is no sleepy little hamlet. The Village of Brooklin is a thriving community, as metropolitan as Toronto, but with a small-town feel that is truly timeless. Officially designated a heritage conservation district in Ontario, Downtown Brooklin is a charming location in which friends and family can gather and grow. Come shop, eat and play in this unique corner of Durham Region. You will be welcomed with open arms.

If you are looking for a place to reconnect—with friends, with family, or maybe with yourself—the Village of Brooklin is all you need. We get it: sometimes you want to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city, to wind down and take things a little slower. But that doesn’t mean you wish to withdraw from the world altogether. You want to spend time in a place with like-minded people, taking it all at your own pace. Let us tell you just a few of the many reasons why Brooklin is sure to be your new favourite destination for festivals, food, and fabulous finds.

Delicious Dining

Given its designation as a heritage conservation district, one of the features that sets Brooklin apart from its more populous urban counterparts is that here, history and modern times live side by side. When you think about a restaurant with character, what better example comes to mind than a local, family-friendly eatery set in a lovingly maintained century home? The Harvest Restaurant is one such Brooklin example. Situated in a 120-year-old house, this establishment is all about seasonal variety. Or, if your palate runs to Italian fare, then Corrado’s Restaurant and Bar is located in a charming building that was erected in 1863 as a private residence. 

Of course, “historic” is not the only thing we have going for us here in Brooklin. If a modern pub experience is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. After all, what’s a casual girls’ lunch without a few appetizers to share, or a gathering of the gang after work without a great selection of libations? The Brooklin Pub and Grill and Oakridge 1847 are just two of our casual dining spots you’ll want to try. And for a touch of night-life, the Brooklin Pub and Grill offers the adjoining Brooklin Lounge, with your favourite sports-related entertainment and billiards so you can really let loose after a long day on the job. Of course, these are not our only restaurants and eateries, so we invite you to come and explore all the culinary delights that Brooklin has to offer.

In these unusual times of COVID-19, we’d like to take a moment to give our restaurants a well-deserved shout-out for the creative ways in which they are adapting to continue to serve their hungry patrons. Many of our restaurants are still hard at work in their kitchens, and have shifted to an online and call-in ordering model. Local customers can still have their favourite dishes delivered right to their door, and anyone can take advantage of our restaurants’ curbside pickup options (please make sure to check each restaurant’s website for details). In a particularly entrepreneurial shift that exemplifies our Brooklin spirit, Corrado’s is also offering their Essential Fresh Packages and Frozen Meat Boxes. Available by pre-order and contactless delivery, these pre-packaged grocery boxes are provided to help families avoid long grocery line ups so they can stay home and stay safe. 

Stroll and Shop

There is no experience quite like small-town shopping, is there? Independently owned stores have those unique items and one-of-a-kind buys that you’re not going to find in the larger retail chains of the big city. You certainly aren’t going to get the same kind of warm attention and intimate knowledge that is a hallmark of the small-town merchant. A day spent strolling Brooklin’s picturesque streets, popping in and out of our boutiques to browse and buy, is simply rejuvenating. From clothing to jewelry to home décor, our shop owners are waiting for you to discover your next favourite find.

Exterior of Oakridge 1847, Brooklin, ONIn between indulging in a bit of small-town retail therapy, why not pause for a café treat or some ice cream? One favourite spot for those who know Brooklin is The Goodberry, which offers a variety of frozen yogurts, smoothies, and loose-leaf teas. Tip Top Creamery is another popular location for an ice-cold treat. Or, if you’re looking to warm up on those chilly autumn days or crisp winter afternoons (or even in the dog days of summer—hey, coffee and hot chocolate are anytime drinks), Coffee Culture Café and Eatery is a cozy spot for a hot beverage and some delicious baked goods. Again, we have many options for those mid-shopping refreshment breaks, and many of our establishments are offering online ordering and curbside pickup during this time of COVID-19, so be sure to visit their websites for details.

Festivals and Family Fun

At the heart of any great village is a great festival. When a cozy community comes together to celebrate a season, an event, or a tradition, its people open their hearts to visitors and welcomes them as though they are family. The Village of Brooklin is proud of its Brooklin Spring Fair and its Brooklin Harvest Festival. Explore agriculture in the 21st century, and celebrate a way of life that is still very much alive for our local farmers and artisans. Enjoy homecraft displays, browse sidewalk sales, and take in various competitions and attractions that celebrate the changing of the seasons. Our festivals are excellent for family entertainment, and many children, who come here year after year, grow up with these memories forming an essential part of their childhood. 

Don’t miss Brooklin’s Christmas in the Village. An Olde Time Christmas is a time-honoured tradition that brings to life all the magic of the holiday season. This one is definitely for the kids—every kid, that is, “from one to ninety-two!” Sing festive songs, sip hot chocolate, and don’t be surprised if The Big Man in Red, Santa Claus himself, makes an appearance (we hear Brooklin is his favourite place in the whole world, wink wink).

There is lots for families, friends, and kids to do on an every-day kind of visit to Brooklin, even if it’s not festival time. We have engaging and interactive recreational and educational programming at the Brooklin Community Centre and Library. There is something for every age and every interest.

Come Visit Brooklin

The next time you’re looking for something to do or somewhere to go, we know you will want to think Downtown Brooklin. Our little village truly is a world of its own. We are waiting for you to come fall in love with our community, and all that we have to offer.

Katherine Ryalen is a Durham-based freelance writer, author, and lifestyle blogger. Visit her website or follow her on Instagram and Twitter.