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Words by: Izabela Shubair The city isn’t called one of the globe’s most diverse metropolitans for nothing. Here are three
Words by: Izabela Shubair
Over 250 ethnicities and 170 languages are represented in the Toronto Region. The diversity is reflected in everything from Toronto festivals to live music, stage performances, and arts and culture programming. You’ll also experience it when you visit the wide range of multicultural enclaves across the city. These places not only offer rich cultural experiences, but they also have event spaces and cultural venues that are definitely worth exploring.
Toronto actually has two Chinatowns. The bigger, and more well-known, neighbourhood is centred at the Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue intersection. Its history begins in 1878 and continues today with businesses that spill out onto the sidewalks, mouthwatering restaurants, and Dragon City Mall — a multi-level shopping complex featuring Chinese specialty stores, boutiques, services, and dining. You could easily spend the entire day in Chinatown.
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Take in music at the legendary live music and entertainment venue, The El Mocambo.
Go from one cultural experience to the next by visiting vibrant Kensington Market, which borders Chinatown. You can even take the guesswork out of what to see with a walking tour.
Toronto’s smaller Chinatown, by the way, is known as East Chinatown. It’s located at Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue, just a seven-minute drive from another cultural hub, the vibrant Little India neighbourhood.
College Street, extending east-west from Bathurst Street to Shaw Street, is home to Little Italy. This is where you will find everything from Italian cafes and bakeries to top-notch Italian cuisine. Little Italy also hosts one of the most popular Toronto street festivals, The Taste of Little Italy. It takes place annually in mid-June and features live performances, extended patios, carnival rides, and, of course, all the pasta, pizza, and gelato you can eat.
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In the heart of the neighbourhood, The Royal Cinema is a legend in its own right. It opened its doors in 1939 and is an art deco landmark that still screens movies and hosts concerts and indie film festivals.
The aptly named The Local Gallery exclusively displays contemporary paintings, sculptures, and artworks from local artists. You can take in everything from street to pop art.
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In the west end of the city, Roncesvalles Village (or just Roncy) borders High Park to the west, Parkdale to the south, Little Portugal to the east, and the Junction Triangle to the north. Culturally, this destination is known as Little Poland, so you’ll come across a multitude of delicatessens and restaurants that serve sausages and sauerkraut, pierogies, cabbage rolls, and the famous Polish donuts known as paczki. In mid-September, Roncy hosts the annual Roncesvalles Polish Festival, North America’s largest celebration of Polish culture.
Nearby High Park is a worthwhile Toronto attraction in any season. Highlights from the park include High Park Zoo for the little ones and Dream in High Park, one of Canada’s largest and longest-running outdoor professional theatre events. It takes place at the picturesque High Park Amphitheatre during the summer. Not to mention, there are plenty of trails and green spaces to explore.
Revue Cinema contains 111 years of history. Completed in 1912, it’s one of the oldest movie theatres in Toronto and a designated heritage building. Not only does Revue show current movies and host festivals, it also facilitates special events — such as Drunken Cinema, Nightmare Alley, Destination Love, Throwback Cinema, and more — through its Revue Series, which you’ll definitely want to attend with a group of friends.