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Toronto's Top 10 : Neighborhoods

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Toronto’s smaller downtown Chinatown is at Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street, on the city’s east side



  1. The Beach

    A charming enclave east of Woodbine Ave full of fun for the outdoor enthusiast, including those who consider shopping a sport. Browse the eclectic shops or relax in one of the many cozy restaurants or pubs . Just south of the Queen Street East strip, a popular boardwalk stretches alongside a sandy beach to Ashbridges Bay.

    Boardwalk, The Beach
  2. Chinatown

    With the largest ethnic Chinese population of any North American city, it’s not surprising that Toronto has several Chinatowns, though none other as old as this one, settled in the early 1900s. Originally farther east on Dundas Street, the hub is now Spadina Avenue, where scores of shops and restaurants – including many Vietnamese ones – rub shoulders. The area is even more frenetic during Chinese New Year celebrations, usually in February .

    Chinatown signs
  3. Cabbagetown

    Settled in the 1840s by hardscrabble Irish immigrants who grew cabbages in their front gardens to help make ends meet, this area east of Sherbourne St between Wellesley St E and Gerrard St E is today almost completely gentrified. Picturesque cottages and Victorian rowhouses with their lovely gardens are rich in vernacular architectural history, rewarding exploration .

    Cabbagetown
  4. Little Italy

    Most of the 500,000 Italians who call Toronto home now live north of the city, but the pizzerias, and trattorias that remain on this once predominantly Italian strip of College St west of Bathurst St ensure it retains its flair. At night, music and patrons spill out of trendy bars and restaurants .

  5. Yorkville

    Famous in the 1960s as a hippie hangout and now the city’s most exclusive retail district, this window-shoppers’ paradise abounds with eye-candy. Refined art galleries nestle among chic boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Visiting movie stars can often be spotted here, especially during film festival time.

    Yorkville
  6. The Danforth

    This is the social and commercial heart of Greek and Macedonian life in Toronto. At night, especially between Chester St and Pape Ave, lively tavernas are crowded with patrons enjoying souvlaki and seafood, accompanied by retsina or ouzo. In the day, shops are the draw .

    Greek shop on The Danforth
  7. The Annex

    This upscale neighborhood is home to students, families, and professionals. Huge trees front the Edwardian houses. Bloor St, a main traffic artery, is lined with shops between Bathurst Ave and Spadina Ave selling inexpensive clothing, jewelry, books, and secondhand CDs, and with eateries that won’t tax your wallet, including many ethnic and vegetarian spots. On weekends, the streets and bars are filled with young revelers .

  8. Roncesvalles

    Toronto’s Polish community lays claim to this west-end neighborhood. Its heart, Roncesvalles Ave between Howard Park Ave and Queen St W, is lined with great Polish delis and bakeries (try the jam donuts). Increasingly gentrifying as the ethnic population ages and moves on and young professionals move in, the area still has a working-class feel and Polish is still spoken in shops and on the street.

  9. Leslieville

    One of the newer areas of Toronto to take shape as a destination, what this district lacks in architectural richness it makes up for in character. Along Queen St E between Carlaw Ave and Leslie St, secondhand furniture, housewares, and vintage stores offer 1960s and 1970s bric-a-brac, though you might have to compete with the set designers from the nearby film studios for the object of your desire. Casual cafés are perfect for weekend brunches and several good restaurants have opened up here.

  10. Little India

    The festive spirit of the market bazaars of the Indian subcontinent is alive and well – even during Toronto’s cold winter – on Gerrard St E between Greenwood Ave and Coxwell Ave. Shops sell colorful saris, street vendors cook up tantalizing takeaway, and restaurants serve excellent Indian fare, from vegetarian masala dosa to halwa, a carrot-based sweet.

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