Everyone is welcome in Toronto and there is always something exciting going on, especially in the summer. Toronto’s motto is “diversity is our strength”, and it’s easy to see why after exploring the collection of neighbourhoods and meeting locals from all cultures and backgrounds. Each area has its own vibe, style, history, and characteristic that makes it unique. With the sun shining it’s the perfect time to visit Toronto and start exploring the unique and flourishing communities in this ethnically diverse city.
Kensington Market, one of the coolest street markets in North America, is packed with unique indie shops, vintage boutiques selling one-of-a-kind treasures, cozy cafes, and trendy bars that come alive at night. There are restaurants representing meals from around the world such as European, the Middle East, Asia, South America, and the Caribbean. There is also a great selection of vegan restaurants to choose from. You will notice the bohemian vibe as you walk down the streets lined with trees and see the colourful old Victorian homes. Sit outside one of the many bustling outdoor patios and watch the animated people milling about having fun. Kensington is located just west of the downtown core and bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathurst Street and College Street. It’s easily accessible via the Carlton 506 streetcar from College Station heading west towards Spadina. There are plenty of photo opps for all your social media needs with graffiti backdrops, funky street art, flowers displays growing in brightly painted cars, and quirky and eclectic alleyways.
Must visit: Blue Banana Market
Queen West comes alive in warmer weather with people selling homemade art, jewelry, and other treasures at outdoor kiosks along the street. The action on Queen Street West happens between Simcoe Street and Bathurst Street and you can walk from Osgoode Station or hop on the 501 streetcar west. There is live music from buskers on the street and in bars and clubs and at night. The dynamic energy when the sun goes down has a party vibe and you will see groups of people laughing and having fun. It’s also the perfect location to meet up with friends for lunch and shop till you drop at fashionable clothing stores selling everything from the latest styles to vintage treasures. There are several art galleries to browse through in this hip neighbourhood and a few times a year they come together for the Queen West Art Gallery Crawl, the perfect way to spend the afternoon on a self-guided tour.
Must visit: The Horseshoe Tavern
Bring your appetite to Little Italy and get ready to practise your Italian. This area has changed over time to become more diverse and includes other cultures too, but the heart and heritage of Italy remains and dates back to the 1920’s. This dynamic neighbourhood is ideal for a weekend stroll or authentic outdoor patio meal, especially if you are visiting during the annual taste of Little Italy celebration. When you are stuffed with linguine, gnocchi, fresh bread, and gelato, browse through European shops, local gallery exhibits, or meet a friend at a bar or café. Located along College Street between Euclid Avenue and Shaw Street, take the 506 streetcar west from Queen’s Park subway station.
Must visit: Café Diplomatico
The Beaches is perfect for families, couples, friends, or a walk alone along the boardwalk for peace and tranquility. This refreshing part of Toronto has a small-town vibe and is a summer haven for locals with plenty of outdoor activities and festivals to choose from. Soak up the lakeside atmosphere, kick off your shoes (literally), and walk along the sand. The beach is supervised and maintained by the City of Toronto from June to September with lifeguard supervision, but the beaches themselves are open all year. Pack a picnic lunch or visit one of the many nearby cafes, restaurants, stylish bars or intimate bakeries along Queen Street East. This charming part of town is located between Coxwell Avenue and Victoria Park Avenue and accessible by public transit on the 501 streetcar east.
Must visit: Tori’s Bakeshop