New-Gen Filipino Entrepreneurs: Oliver Dimapilis serves it up, cold

New-Gen Filipino Entrepreneurs is a feature series that will spotlight young Filipino-Canadian entrepreneurs, and their respective businesses in Toronto. Explore and be inspired by these Filipino go-getters in our community! This edition featuring Oliver Dimapilis of Cold Tea.



Oliver Dimapilis from Cold TeaOliver Dimapilis from Cold Tea

Oliver Dimapilis was born and raised in North Vancouver, moved to Toronto in 2000 to chase a girl and Second City. More recently, he also opened one of Toronto’s newest hot spots, Cold Tea Bar. A bar blogger’s weapon of choice, Cold Tea has quickly become a go-to for this city’s hipster version of Cheers.

Who and what is Cold Tea?

I opened this bar with my friends, Stacey Welton and Matthew LaRochelle. We originally tried to open up a bar hidden in Chinatown but when that fell through we found the present space down a very dark corridor in Kensington Mall.

This space was completely different from any other space we had looked at so it demanded a specific design. Since we couldn’t erect a bar in Chinatown we would bring Chinatown to our bar.

Cold Tea's Dimsum signCold Tea's Dimsum sign

You're also an artist. Please describe?

I would never consider myself an artist but I do like to indulge in some of my ideas – I like seeing them come to life-who wouldn’t? Cold Tea is a perfect example. This design was a brain-child of my partners and I. It was quite a daunting task after demo-ing 4 garage bays to believe in our design but we knew if we stayed as close to the original prototype we’d end up with a pretty dope space. I hope we did that.

You worked at Embassy for quite some time and decided to open your own bar also in Kensington Market. How has the market shaped your Toronto experience?

Yes I worked at The Embassy for a very long time. Since some of my closest friends owned it I got to experience first hand what it took to open a bar. Why I still pursued it? I don’t know. The Market is a big part of my Toronto experience. Sometimes I think it’s all I know of Toronto but in actuality it might be all I want to know about Toronto. It reminds me of a high school but only the detention hall part of it – and I spent lots of time in the detention hall.

C is for Cold TeaC is for Cold Tea

Having been back to the Philippines, how would you describe your relationship with the culture?

I could speak about the role the Philippines has played in my life for days… but I won’t - I’ll just say that the relationship I hold with my culture is quite strong. From language, culinary, war, revolution and more war – I believe all these things are part of every Pinoy and Pinay no matter if they know it or not. We are our plight. I try and respect that notion as much as I can.

Future plans?

The only thing I see in my future is paying my R.E.N.T – I’m not much of a gambler. My father taught me how to “slow down” if I ever got ahead of myself. I try and employ that if necessary.


Visit Cold Tea at 60 Kensington Ave., inside Kensington Mall. Be inspired!