DANFORTH AVENUE’S BUSIEST STRETCH HAS LONG BEEN KNOWN AS TORONTO’S GREEKTOWN. MANY HELLENIC RESTAURANTS AND BAKERIES STILL LINE THE STREET, BUT NOWADAYS THE OVERALL MILIEU IS MUCH MORE COSMOPOLITAN
1 One of the longer-lived finer-dining spots on the Danforth, Globe Bistro plates contemporary Canadian fare à la carte or as part of affordable tasting menus. 124 Danforth Ave., 416-466-2000; globebistro.com
2 The simple concept of H2O Float Spa is to provide patrons with a serene space in which to, well, float—in private tubs or sensory deprivation–style pods. 138 Danforth Ave., 647-349-0426; h20floatspa.com
3 A Toronto institution for nearly 30 years, scruffy Irish-inspired saloon Allen’s serves consistently excellent burgers and pours from literally hundreds of whisky bottles. 143 Danforth Ave., 416-463-3086; allens.to
The standard bearer for Toronto’s thin-crust pizza craze has expanded to serve even more diners who know the rules of the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association by heart. Pizzeria Libretto is now ensconced at a new location on The Danforth. With 144 seats, this second space is twice as large as the original on Ossington Avenue, and naturally features not one, but two huge, Naples-made wood-burning ovens to ensure that perfectly blistered, flash-baked crust. The margherita ($13) is a must-try, of course, but once you’ve had that authentic taste of Italy, make a return visit for signature pies made with Ontario-fresh ingredients like prosciutto, arugula and shave grana padano cheese ($16), and house-made sausage with caramelized onions and chili oil ($16).
Winter’s on its way out; it’s time to get a head start on exploring. Guide yourself with our specialized itineraries, or contact one of Toronto’s many tour operators to delve deeper into this multifaceted metropolis. And don’t forget to check out previous Yours to Discover posts, here: Day One.
Get a taste for some of Toronto’s vibrant ethnic enclaves in our slideshow.
- The area has long since gentrified, but <a href="http://www.where.ca/toronto/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=1885">Greektown</a>—so named for the wave of Hellenic immigrants who settled here after WWII—still reflects the heritage of that country. Craving moussaka, souvlaki or spanakopita? Numerous family-friendly restaurants are sure to satisfy. Danforth Avenue, between Chester and Jones avenues.
- Grecian Formula
- The city’s South Asian diaspora is well served by the <a href="http://www.where.ca/toronto/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=1887">Indian Bazaar</a>. It’s name may be slightly misleading—not only are Indian businesses represented, but also those of Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Afghan persuasion—but the experience is wholly authentic, with vibrant clothing and jewellery shops plus welcoming local restaurants. Gerrard Street East, from Greenwood to Coxwell avenues.
- Colourful Pocket
- Some of its original turn-of-the century flavour has been lost, but <a href="http://www.where.ca/toronto/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=1891">Little Italy</a> remains a thriving hub brimming with trendy sidewalk cafés, bars and more than a few pizzerias. Toronto’s first multicultural radio station, CHIN, began broadcasting here in 1966; its studios are a local landmark. College Street, from Bathurst Street to Ossington Avenue.
- Bene Borough
- Aglow with the bright signs of clothing shops, local grocers and restaurants—from popular dim sum spots to specialized dumpling vendors—<a href="http://www.where.ca/toronto/guide_listing.cfm?listing_id=1878">Chinatown</a> represents the historic heart of Sino-Canadian culture, though it’s now home to a diverse blend of peoples. Spadina Avenue, between Queen and College streets and the surrounding area.
- Asian Influence
Participating in a private or small-group walking tour is one of the best ways
to get to know the town. The Toronto experts at A Taste of the World, Genova Tours
and Tour Guys are more than happy to guide you.
Get souvlaki (and more!) hot off the grill at Taste of the Danforth
AUGUST 6 TO 8 This weekend, one of Toronto’s most established ethnic neighbourhoods closes its main street and welcomes more than one million guests for a hotly anticipated party. In the heart of Greektown, the annual Taste of the Danforth invites locals and visitors to share in Hellenic hospitality, culture and cuisine—from mezes to souvlaki—grilled before your eyes. Become Greek for the day while enjoying additional attractions, including stunt shows by Zero Gravity street performers and music from members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Visitors can also work up an appetite at the Sports Zone, featuring athletic challenges devised by Toronto’s pro sports teams, or cool down in the wine and beer gardens. On Danforth Avenue, between Broadview and Jones avenues, free; call 416-469-5634 or visit here for further details.