Often referred to as Canada’s answer to Manhattan, Toronto is a vibrant city located on the shores of Lake Ontario, the easternmost of the Great Lakes. The city is the largest in Canada and is the country’s cultural, financial and entertainment hub.
It’s home to world-class restaurants, bars, attractions, festivals and is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, which is why it is such a popular holiday destination and why so many people book flights to Toronto every year.
Something else that the city is famous for is its diverse neighbourhoods as each one is unique in its own way. This is something that Raymond Cua, founder & publisher of Travelling Foodie, loves and he told us about his favourite parts of exploring Toronto’s neighbourhoods.
“I love Kensington Market! It’s a very hip and walkable neighbourhood that’s full of many things. The diverse culinary options in this National Historic Site makes for a great food crawl with restaurants and food stalls from Mexican and Jamaican to Filipino and Swedish.
“Exploring Toronto’s different neighbourhoods is a great way to ‘travel the world’ in one city. With the majority of the population being immigrants, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world: there’s Little Tokyo, Greek Town, Little Jamaica, Koreatown, Little Manila, Little India and more. The diversity exposes you to so many cultures, events and authentic foods.
“These neighbourhoods have their own big festivals so try to plan ahead! For example, Greektown has Taste of the Danforth, Little Manila has Taste of Manila. Toronto even has Caribana (previously, Toronto Caribbean Carnival) which is the largest street festival in North America.”
Read on to find out more about the regions of the city and Toronto’s neighbourhoods and what you can see in each one.
The downtown core of Toronto is home to the Financial District and Entertainment District as well as a host of major attractions, sports teams and restaurants.
This area of the city is where Toronto was founded back in 1793 and was where grand estates and Victorian row houses once stood. Now you can see stunning new office towers and condos, but something that hasn’t changed over the years is the fact it is still the heartbeat of Toronto.
Some of the most popular and wealthiest neighbourhoods in Toronto are situated idowntown. In Downtown Toronto, there are a whole host of attractions that you can visit such as the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the historic St. Lawrence Market in Old Town and the Distillery Historic District. Yorkville is another great neighbourhood to visit in Downtown as there are some exclusive restaurants, speciality food shops and art galleries that you can visit and unsurprisingly it is seen as Toronto’s answer to Fifth Avenue. A great place to go celebrity spotting during the Toronto International Film Festival in September too.
Yorkville is one place that travel writer Taylor, who runs the Taylor’s Tracks blog, highly recommends visiting: “Along Bloor Street you’ll find all of the high-end stores, some that are fabulous for window shopping. Yorkville was once where the city’s artists, writers and musicians used to gather and today is home to pretty streets and Victorian homes.
“If the Victorian homes weren’t enough for you then stop by Casa Loma, Toronto’s very own castle. Built in the early 1900’s it is now a museum and a landmark that you can explore with decorated rooms and secret passageways.”
This area of the city is also home to Toronto’s professional sports teams: Raptors, Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Argonauts.
Neighbourhoods in Downtown
•Queens Quay & Spadina/Cityplace
The neighbourhoods in the West End of Toronto revolve around High Park and its rural setting provides the perfect backdrop for the beautiful leafy streetscapes and the Craftsman-style architecture that the West End is famous for.
As well as being home to some of the nicest neighbourhoods in Toronto and being known as a trendy part of the city, there are lots of places that you can explore. Many of the top Eastern European bakeries and food shops are situated in Roncesvalles Village in the West End, so if you are a foodie, then this area should be at the top of your bucket list.
A jewel in the crown of the West End is High Park, which is Toronto’s largest public park, and here you can enjoy lots of walking trails, picnic areas, gardens and even a zoo. High Park is also home to independent gifts shops, restaurants and just south of High Park is the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, one of the city’s most iconic structures, and a great spot to see Toronto’s skyline.
Swansea Village is an idyllic neighbourhood in the West End as it overlooks the Humber River. It is where Lucy Maud Montgomery, the world-renowned Canadian novelist who wrote the famous Anne of Green Gables book, lived. Bloor West Village is known amongst Torontonians as the birthplace of Toronto’s Business Improvement Areas.
Neighbourhoods in West End
•West Queen West
•High Park North
READ MORE: Top 5 parks to visit from Toronto
The gateway to the East End area of Toronto is the Prince Edward Viaduct or the Bloor Street Viaduct as it is also known, which is a landmark in its own right as it is one of the most famous bridges in Toronto.
The East End is home to many trendy neighbourhoods and is home to some of the city’s biggest festivals and events, making it a popular destination to visit if you are holidaying in Toronto. You can visit the trendy neighbourhoods of Leslieville, Riverside, Danforth Village and Riverdale. Arguably the most famous neighbourhood in the East End is The Beach, which started out as a cottage community but is now a place where thousands flock to enjoy the lakeside views, walk on the famous Boardwalk, play beach volleyball and shop and dine at the colourful stores and restaurants.
The Danforth Village is known as Greektown as it is home to the largest Greek neighbourhood and population in North America and this Greek influence can be seen around the streets and shops in the area. Close-by to Leslieville is Little India, a colourful neighbourhood with authentic Indian cuisine and the Gerrard India Bazaar and it is certainly worth a visit.
Huge festivals and events such as the Taste of the Danforth, The Beaches International Jazz Festival and the Leslieville Flea Market all take place in the East End of Toronto.
Neighbourhoods in East End
READ MORE: How well do you know Toronto?
Midtown Toronto is considered a great place to stay if you have booked holidays in Canada and are looking to visit the city as it is close to downtown and you have great access to all parts of the city on the Yonge subway line.
Midtown in itself is home to some of the finest Toronto neighbourhoods with the likes of Rosedale, Moore Park and Forest Hill all located here.
The Forest Hill neighbourhood is one of Toronto’s most prestigious districts and is home to some of the country’s top schools as well as lots of mansions. It is one of the city’s prettiest neighbourhoods with lots of winding roads, sloping hills and parks.
Rosedale has been regarded as being Toronto’s most fashionable address with some of Toronto’s wealthiest and most famous residents living in this neighbourhood. It is surrounded by some spectacular ravines and parkland that makes you feel like you are nowhere near a major city.
Moore Park is surrounded on all sides by natural barriers with the Moore Park Ravine to the east, the Vale of Avoca Ravine to the west and the Park Drive Ravine to the south. With all of this nature, it is unsurprising that there are lots of walks you can enjoy in this area.
Midtown is also home to some top Toronto attractions. The largest medieval castle in Canada, Casa Loma, is one great attraction you have to visit. It has a colourful history, stately grounds and is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Neighbourhoods in Midtown
•Yonge & Eglinton
•Davisville Village/St Clair & Yonge/Mount Pleasant
READ MORE: What to do in Toronto in 48 hours
Uptown and Toronto suburbs
Uptown was always considered as the city’s limit until Toronto grew into one of the world’s megacities. Toronto has grown so much and attracted so many people to come and live here that Uptown has now been surrounded by a number of newer suburbs.
Uptown has become a hugely popular place to live as there are great transport links into the city centre and it is also a great place to visit as there are some great natural attractions with its ravines and parks providing lots of year-round outdoor activities. You can also explore the buzzing food scene and bustling shops and marvel at the century-old commercial buildings that they are located in.
Additionally, there are also lots of suburbs around the city of Toronto that you can look forward to exploring:
•Vaughan – a suburb north of Toronto’s city limit, it is home to Canada’s Wonderland Theme Park and the Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre.
•Scarborough – This suburb has lots of character and is one of the most diverse and colourful places in the Greater Toronto Area. Toronto Zoo is a must-visit attraction if you are visiting.
•North York – Largely residential with lots of micro-neighbourhoods. Due to its great access to downtown Toronto, it can be a popular place to stay.
•Etobicoke – Located just to the west of Toronto, this area is an affluent area and is extremely convenient to get to the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
READ MORE: Where to Stay in Toronto
These are the different neighbourhoods that you can visit in Toronto. If you want to see everything this magical city has to offer, we are the Canada travel experts and are able to put together a holiday including anything that might be on your to-do list. We can help you book city breaks in Canada and lots more.
For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.