Get Cultured: Exploring Toronto’s Neighbourhoods

61677502_1913034894_oIt’s always a good idea to get out and explore all the nooks and crannies of a city! We’re really fortunate that Toronto is divided into so many unique neighbourhoods that all have their own routine and vibe, so it makes exploring that much more fun. A handful of the neighbourhoods here are characterized by the culture and heritage of those that live there, and because of this the stores and restaurants in those areas tend to follow suit. It’s a great opportunity to learn about different countries and their heritage.

Next time you feel like getting cultured in Toronto, here’s where we recommend you go:

Little Italy
Little Italy in Toronto falls on College Street between Bathurst and Ossington. Here you’ll find the best Italian eats at places like Cafe Diplomatico and Hey Meatball, and you’ll also stumble upon some of Toronto’s most popular restaurants like Bar Raval and Bar Isabel. One thing we love about this neighbourhood is the Italian Walk of Fame (IWOF) found along College between Grace and Clinton. It first started in 2009 and has been adding permanent stars for acclaimed Italian celebrities like Dean Martin and Roberto Luongo ever since.

Portugal Village
This Portuguese neighbourhood is wedged between Lansdowne and Ossington, south of College. It’s mostly residential, but you can find a number of Portuguese businesses along Dundas Street West. One of our favourite shops in the neighbourhood is called Saudade. Even though it is fairly new, it brings something modern and fresh to the neighbourhood. The owner buys handmade goods straight from Portugal to sell in the shop, and the items can be anything from beauty products, to housewares, or clothing. It’s the best way to find out what’s in style in Portugal!

Little India
This neighbourhood is also known as the Gerrard India Bazaar and should be your go-to place for Indian food, clothing, and more. Ever wanted to get henna done? You can get it done traditionally at a number of places in the area. Anyone who lives in this neighbourhood will rave about one thing in particular, and that’s the number of delicious places to eat.

Another neighbourhood that’s all about great, traditional eats, is Greektown. As you can guess from the name, there are Greek restaurants, bars, and other stores everywhere you turn. This neighbourhood, which falls largely on The Danforth, has been around since the early 1970s. It’s a great choice if you like to stay out late as most businesses in the area are open late, especially in the summer. It’s also home to one of the city’s largest food festivals, Taste of the Danforth. If you love all things feta cheese and and chicken souvlaki, you should check it out this year.  

On the eastern side of Kensington Market along Spadina Avenue is where you’ll find Chinatown in Toronto. Of all of the neighbourhoods in the city, being in Chinatown can make you feel like you’ve been transported to another country. It’s always bustling with people buying their groceries at asian supermarkets, grabbing a bubble tea at a local tea shop, or trying dumplings and pho from one of the many, many restaurants around – most of which are open really late too. They’ve even got their own indoor shopping centre called Dragon City.

Cover Photo via Lisa Larsson on Flickr

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