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Toronto Neighbourhoods

Cabbagetown
Harbourfront
Yorkville
Distillery District
Yonge

Maytals-iStockPhoto.com

TToronto is a city where glistening skycrapers and Victorian homes coexist perfectly and, despite the traffic, can easily be explored by bicycle.
Like other great North American cities, Toronto has a street grid that makes it easy to find your way around with a few points of reference. One of these, Yonge Street, among the longest in the world, divides the city into east and west. Perpendicular to Yonge are three huge avenues that function as the main thoroughfares of Downtown: College Street, which becomes Carlton and forms the north border of the city centre; Queen Street, that cuts the centre in half; and King Street, where most of Toronto’s skyline buildings are found.
Old Town, is exactly what the name suggests, and is located in the southeast. Some of the buildings here were built in the mid-19th century. It is made up primarily of the St. Lawrence and the historic Distillery districts. Not far from Old Town is Cabbagetown, a district of 19th century Victorian houses whose residents are descendants of the city’s first inhabitants.
The Village is home to Toronto’s gay community. The two main streets, Church and Wellesley, are filled with homes, restaurants and shops decorated with the rainbow flag. Millions of people are drawn every year to the Pride Week celebration, one of the most crowded in the world.
Yorkville begins at Bloor and ends on Avenue Road and is an upscale shopping and restaurant zone frequented by customers with high purchasing power.
King and Queen West are adjacent districts in the southeast. Fashionable in their day, they are now populated with numerous shops and shopping centres. West Queen Street, for example, is one the most bohemian districts, teeming with shops and bars.
The communities of descendant-immigrants in Toronto gather in their own neigbourhoods. Chinatown retains the bubbling, picturesque essence of Chinatowns all over the world, but shares the characteristic cleanliness of Canada. It’s not unusual to hear Mandarin spoken among residents and business owners.
Little Italy and Corso Italia are the two Italian neighbourhoods, full of restaurants and Italian ice cream parlours and well worth a gastronomic visit. So too is the vibrant and cosmopolitan Greektown that runs parallel to Danforth Avenue, in East Toronto.
Outside the centre, along Gerrard Street, is Little India or Indian Bazaar. As well as the traditional restaurants and shops, you’ll see a number of taxis; it’s a common profession in the community.
To the west of the centre, Kensington Market is the old Jewish quarter. Dominated by vintage and design shops, it has a hippy, carefree vibe that has made it an essential tourist stop.

Toronto’s Main Districts

Downtown Toronto is divided into five districts. The Financial District is where you’ll find the skyline skyscrapers, and the heart of financial activity. Meanwhile, the Entertainment District houses the enormous and symbolic CN Tower and the Skydome baseball stadium. Old Town includes the St. Lawrence District, with its famous traditional market, and the historic Distillery District, a shopping and restaurant zone named after an old distillery. Lastly, between Yonge and Carlton Street is Downtown Yonge, one of the most dynamic shopping zones in the city.

The Boardwalk and Beaches

Harbourfront is the district on the edge of Lake Ontario. Its magnificent views and well-kept promenade attract locals and tourists alike. Among the highlights are Harbourfront Centre, an arts centre that hosts exhibitions, and two industrial buildings: Canada Malting Silos, used for storing malt, and Redpath Sugar Refinery, still active and also a museum. Who said there are no beaches in Toronto? The Beaches is a district in East Toronto next to Lake Ontario that has gained popularity in recent years as a recreation zone.

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