When I asked for dinner recommendations, George steered me to Woodlot: bakery by day, restaurant by night, in a warm, inviting, bi-level space with Native Canadian artwork on the walls and a casually stylish waitstaff. Chef-owner David Haman’s style of cooking has been dubbed “urban lumberjack” by the Toronto press; though I was skeptical, his food turned out to be the finest of my trip. The bipartite menu offers both “Regular” and “Without Meat” options: whey-fed pork chop and steak on one side, caramelized Jerusalem artichokes and roast Japanese sweet potato on the other. Almost everything comes out of the restaurant’s wood-burning oven.

There wasn’t anyplace like Woodlot when I lived in Toronto. But the restaurant and its small-scale, artisanal approach seem to represent the future: a well-designed, thoroughly confident experience that respects Toronto’s heritage and simultaneously breaks new ground. There was no sense that the place was a knockoff or that it owed its menu and genial vibe to some other restaurant, in some other city. And thanks to the wood-burning oven, I left smelling like I’d been at a campfire. How Canadian is that?