Toronto City Tours: Multicultural Neighbourhoods – West

Toronto city tours offered by Global Alliance allow our clients to experience Canada’s largest metropolis in comfort from the seat of one of our luxurious vehicles with an experience chauffeur as a guide, with the further option to be dropped off to explore Toronto’s many attractions on their own. In today’s post, a few of this bustling multicultural metropolis’ distinct former (and current) immigrant neighbourhoods and the culinary, retail, and cultural attractions therein will be detailed.

Little Italy, Corso Italia and Woodbridge

The historic Italian immigrant communities are frequently among the most vibrant and culturally open of the ethnic neighbourhoods in North American cities, and Toronto is certainly no exception. The city’s Little Italy neigbourhood, along College Street roughly between Euclid and Crawford Streets, features many Italian restaurants, pizzerias, bars, bakeries, gelaterias, and Italian goods shops. It is also a locus for multicultural broadcasting and entertainment: the studios of CHIN Radio, which broadcasts Italian and Portuguese programming as well as material from other nations and cultures on weekends, are at College and Grace Street. The vibrancy and excitement of this community is on full display on most weekend evenings, as well as during the Taste of Little Italy street festival in June.

Another Italian neighbourhood is Corso Italia, on St. Clair Avenue West between Westmount and Lansdowne Avenues. The Woodbridge area, in the northern suburb of Vaughan, is also renowned as an Italian community, with many excellent restaurants, bakeries, and banquet halls to boast of.

Little Portugal

A mainly residential neighbourhood between Lansdowne and Ossington Avenues and clustered around Dundas Street West (but also College Street to the north), Toronto’s historically Portuguese community is home to many local institutions of the immigrant community from the Iberian nation. Dundas West in this area is known as Rua Açores for the large number of residents of who trace their heritage back to the Azores. Many Portuguese and Brazilian shops, delis, churrasqueiras (barbeque restaurants), bars and social clubs dot Dundas and College in this area of the city. The community’s heart is the impressive St. Helen’s Catholic Church, whose tall spire can be seen across the surroundings neighbourhoods.

Roncesvalles Village

Although much of Toronto’s Polish community has relocated to other westside neighbourhoods and to Mississauga, Roncesvalles Avenue just east of High Park is their traditional stronghold. The neighbourhood known locally as Roncy has gentrified quite a bit in recent years, but notable Polish restaurants, delis, bakeries, and shops continue to anchor the Avenue. Catholic churches on the Avenue offer Polish-language masses, and memorials to Pope John Paul II and the Katyn Massacre can be seen along the street. Polish food, music, and culture is celebrated every September, when Roncesvalles is pedestrianized for the popular Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival.

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