Toronto boasts numerous diverse neighbourhoods, many of which celebrate throughout the year with food, apparel and festivities that honour the city’s diversity.
CHINATOWN Dundas Street and Spadina Avenue form the appex of Toronto’s Chinese community—one of the largest in North America—which boasts an assortment of cuisine to savour, ranging from Vietnamese noodles to dim sum.
INDIA BAZAAR The area located along Gerrard Street East is also sometimes known as Little India. Here, the brightly coloured sari fabrics will catch the eye and the aromatic spices of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi cuisine will have the mouth salivating.
KOREATOWN Along Bloor Street, between Bathurst and Christie streets, is the central marketplace for Toronto’s Korean community. Karaoke bars, acupuncture centres and herb shops carrying exotic treatments dot the area. Korean fare might include kimchi (fermented and spicy cabbage, radishes or cucumber), bibimbap (rice topped with vegetables, beef and a fried egg) or yakshik (a dessert made with sweet rice, chestnuts, pine nuts and raw sugar).
CABBAGETOWN This area, located at Parliament and Carlton streets, was originally named for the Irish immigrants who settled in the area and who grew cabbages in abundance. Wander around the area and check out the Victorian homes. In September, the streets come alive for the Cabbagetown Festival, which features a short film and video festival and live entertainment for young and old.
LITTLE ITALY The area located along College Street West between Euclid and Shaw streets is now predominantly comprised of Portuguese inhabitants, though Italian inhabitants did populate the area in the 1920s. Chic shops and patios line the sidewalk. In June, the annual Taste of Little Italy festival has locals and visitors alike flocking to the area for mouth-watering fare and live musical performances.
CORSO ITALIA This neighbourhood along St. Clair Avenue West between Dufferin Street and Lansdowne Avenue boasts a stronger Italian presence. Sampling the decadent gelato and cappuccino on offer here is a must. Each July, the annual Corso Italia Toronto Fiesta brings the streets to a standstill with music, food and a shopping extravaganza.
PORTUGAL VILLAGE The city’s Portuguese community is strongly represented along Dundas Street, between Ossington Avenue and Bathurst Street. Visit the bakeries and cheese shops for some authentic Portuguese fare. A stroll through the residential streets is worth some time: many of the gardens are immaculately tended to.
GREEKTOWN The majority of Greek immigrants settled along the Danforth (between Chester and Jones streets) upon their arrival here, making it one of the largest Greek communities in North America. Taste of the Danforth, which takes place each August, packs the streets with authentic Greek fare.
BLOOR WEST VILLAGE There is a strong Eastern European presence in this neighbourhood which is bordered by Bloor Street, the Humber River and High Park. Shops, cafés, bakeries and delis reflect a Ukranian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, German, Polish and Bulgarian heritage. August brings the Ukranian Festival complete with a parade, music, dancers and cuisine native to the country.
KENSINGTON MARKET Adjacent to Chinatown and bordered between College and Dundas streets, all the flavours of the world are here. Cheese and pastry shops, delis, clothing and dining options from Jamaica, Mexico and Hungary to Ethiopia, the Caribbean and Lao and all points in between make for worldly dining and shopping options.—Linda Luong