T-DOT, T-O, TURONNO, Toronto.

http://www.myniagaratours.com

As we entered Canada’s biggest city, we were naturally a little overwhelmed with just how many food stories we could explore.  Despite my Ontario heritage, I have spent very little time in Toronto.  I have a contingent of friends who are staunch Toronto lovers, so I was sure we would be given many enticing suggestions from insiders.

Toronto is famously multicultural.  For example, we stayed in Little Italy, which borders Little Portugal and is a short walk from Old China Town (1 of 7 Chinatowns in the GTA), Greektown, and Koreatown

Further East is one of the biggest centres of Indian/South Asian (Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi included) culture in North America.  We visited Little India one afternoon to peruse the many shops and grab some lunch. 

There are over 100 stores selling clothes, food, and groceries, with each of the diverse regions of South Asia represented.  There is also a vast array of regional Indian restaurants, each with their own specialties. 

We went to Siddhartha & Gautama for a lunch buffet and as expected, left quite full and very satisfied.  The best time to visit Little India is on weekends when the bazaar is running full tilt and the streets are full of vendors.

While there are a seemingly infinite number of ‘mini-towns’ correlating to specific countries, there are also many neighbourhoods, each diverse but with no overwhelming ethnic majority.   According to The Grid TO, Toronto’s most multicultural neighbourhoods exist further east and further north of downtown—areas certainly worth exploring for those seeking lesser-known gems.

One afternoon, friends introduced us to an institution of Toronto culture: Trinity Bellwoods Park.  Bellwoods is a large, centrally located green space that is PACKED on sunny days; people picnic, play frisbee, setup slack lines, and perhaps even discreetly enjoy adult beverages. 

We joined the festivities on two occasions, picking up picnic necessities at nearby Côte de Boeuf.

Côte de Boeuf is a newly opened vintage Parisian-style food and butcher shop (opened by the brotherly duo behind Union) on Ossington Street, just a few minutes’ walk from the park.  The shop features a window display that doubles as a refrigerator, a window into the basement storage cellar, and a muraled floor. 

Goods for sale include house-butchered cuts of meat from local farmers, as well as select grocery items, charcuterie, home-canned goods, take-home meals, salads, and sandwiches. 

We purchased some house-made terrine, clothbound goat cheddar from Lindsay, Ontario (for obvious reasons), crostini, and a tomato salad.  The shop is beautiful and worth a trip, whether you’re headed to a picnic or not!

As we head into autumn, strolling Toronto’s diverse and historic neighbourhoods and lounging in Bellwoods Park may just be the best ways to enjoy the last bits of warmth. 

Stay tuned for more on our time in Toronto!

-DV

Here is a tune (filmed in Bellwoods park!) from some of Lindsay's friends, James and Blackburn, who we saw on the QEW on our way into Toronto.  Sometimes even the biggest cities can feel like small towns!