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Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History, toronto toursim

Toronto Neighbourhood: Little Italy

November 17, 2017

Little ItalyLittle Italy

Also referred to as College Street West, Little Italy is known for it’s superb Italian-Canadian restaurants. During the weekends the streets are buzzing with visitors and locals dining on the outdoor patios. The Italian trattorias have a casual, family-friendly vibe and they are all about good, traditional recipes cooking with fresh ingredients.

Little Italy isn’t a 100% Italian neighbourhood – while there is a strong Italian community there is also a significant Portuguese population located around the Portugal Village shopping centre and the First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Centre.

Must Visit Spots in Little ItalyLittle Italy

  • La Forchetta Ristorante is the classic Italian dining experience, with pasta and meat dishes originating in the Old Country. Plus – they have a superb wine list to pair with your entree.
  • If you are into live music there are a lot of great places to check out in Little Italy, including the Mod Club or the basement of Nightowl.
  • Check out Cafe Diplomatico. Known as “The Dip” by locals, this coffee shop and restaurant has become an institution for caffeine fiends in Toronto. It also serves up all of the Italian classics including paninis, pizzas and more. If it looks familiar to you, it’s because filmmakers often use it as a set.
  • Rita’s Italian Ice serves up delicious frozen treats in a ton of different flavours – the ultimate treat for a warm day.
  • Check out the Italian Walk of Fame – where stars line the sidewalk with the names of famous Italian Canadians.

History

Large numbers of Italian immigrants came to Toronto in the early 20th century, settling in the area around College Street in the affordable Edwardian homes there. Most found work on the railways or in road construction and many started businesses in the area.

It was during the 1920s that Little Italy really became recognized as the commercial and residential centre of the Italian community in Toronto. These days the area is home to the largest Italian Little Italycommunity that is located outside of Italy and it is a popular area of the city for visitors to explore.

How to Get There

It’s quite simple to get here via the TTC. You can arrive from Queens Park or start from College Station on the Yonge-University-Spadina Line. Then, from there you can catch the 506 Carlton streetcar towards High Park traveling west on College Street. You can disembark anywhere between Bathurst Street and Ossington Avenue.

You can also travel from Bathurst Station on the Bloor-Danforth Line. When you exit, catch the 511 Carlton Towards Exhibition streetcar traveling south on Bathurst Street. You can disembark at College Street West. Exploring this street on foot is a delight, give yourself plenty of time to dip into the little shops and cafes to sample what they have to offer.

What’s your favourite Little Italy spot? Let us know in the comments below.

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Toronto Entertainment, Toronto History, toronto toursim

Great Toronto Museums to Visit

September 18, 2017

Toronto MuseumsOnce you have enjoyed all the great exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum, there are several other great Toronto museums that you should check out. Here are some of the must-visit stops in Toronto for a museum enthusiast.

The Textile Museum of Canada

You can learn about the history of fabrics and textiles at this museum that’s only a 8 minute walk from the Qwest furnished suites and features a collection of 13,000 pieces dating back to 100 AD. The museum covers nearly 200 world regions and the oldest item in the collection is from the Nazca culture of Southern Peru. From ceremonial cloths to quilts to carpets, it’s a fascinating way to learn about cultures of the past via the clothes they wore and textiles they used.

Aga Khan Museum – Toronto Museums

Learn about the history of Muslim civilizations, in both a historical and contemporary perspective, at this midtown Toronto museum. The stunning architecture of the museum is also fascinating, with dramatic modern lines and a dazzling white façade. The lovely space also features a peaceful public park and a great restaurant called Diwan serving fusion cuisine.

The Bata Shoe Museum

Have you ever wondered what the Ancient Greeks used to wear on their feet? Or been curious about the height of the world’s highest platform shoe? The Bata Toronto MuseumsShoe Museum celebrates the wild, weird and highly fashionable in the world of shoes throughout the ages – from clunky old clodhoppers to the shiny sports shoes of the 80’s and every era in between.

The Gardiner Museum

This museum is dedicated to the art of ceramics. It has a display of both permanent and special travelling exhibitions and the works on display are truly exquisite. This cultural hot-spot also has drop in ceramics and sculpting classes for both children and adults.

The CBC Museum

The Canadian Broadcasting Commission is a Canadian institution – it has brought programming to our home and native land for over 70 years. At this museum you can learn about the founding of the CBC and take a look back through the years at some classic Canadian television and radio programming. You can even see a CBC microphone from 1910 and Mr. Dressup’s famous Tickle Trunk.  It is in the CBC building on Front Street West right next door to our 300 Front furnished condo rentals!

The HockToronto Museumsey Hall of Fame

Hockey is Canada’s iconic national sport and this Toronto museum celebrates the history of hockey in Canada. You can see the coveted Stanley Cup, watch videos of unforgettable moments in hockey history and see what hockey gear used to look like back in the day. The Hockey Hall of Fame is a must visit for any sports fan and it’s right on Yonge and Front Street in the heart of the action in Toronto.

These are just a few of the best Toronto museums beyond the Royal Ontario Museum that you can check out during your next visit to Toronto.

Business Travel, Corporate Housing, Downtown Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, toronto toursim, Vacation Travel

A Bookworm’s Choice of Bookshops Toronto

August 25, 2017

Bookshops TorontoToronto has plenty for literature lovers to discover. After all, some of the most well known Canadian novels are set within this city – including works by Michael Ondaatje, Timothy Findley, Robertson Davies and Margaret Atwood. If you are a bibliophile, you’ll find many fascination bookshops Toronto spots.

Bookshops Toronto
The Monkey’s Paw

This quirky and arcane used bookshops Toronto is a treasure trove of the weird and wonderful. You’ll find lots of beautiful, strange and fascinating books there and you’ll want to get lost for hours perusing the shelves. If you can’t decide on a book, you can put a toonie in the famous Biblio-Mat machine, which is a custom-designed vending machine that dispenses a random book.

Balzac’s CoffeeBookshops Toronto

Named after the French novelist and playwright, Balzac’s is the ultimate place to get your coffee and reading fix. It is located within the Toronto Reference Library – a huge storehouse of knowledge within stacks and stacks of tomes. The largest library in the city, it is known for it’s modern architecture and intriguing free event schedule. It is also home to one of the largest collections in the world dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life and work.

Type Books

This gorgeous bookshop is located on Queen Street, across from Trinity Bellwoods Park. You’ll gasp with delight as you enter and are greeted by the shelved packed with fiction, art books, design books and more. Check out the front of the store, where you will be greeted by the staff’s latest selection for books on exciting hot topics. Type Books went viral with this amazing video, which shows what happens in a bookstore at night when the lights go out.

The Library Bar

Bookshops TorontoIf you have had a full day of exploring Toronto’s literary side and you are in the mood for a drink to cap off the evening – why not head to this swanky bar in the Royal York Hotel? The cocktails are named after famous writers, so you could have a Margaret Atwood Margarita or an Alice Munro Rosemary Martini.

Hemingway’s

Another choice for a drink spot is Hemingway’s, named after the famous novelist who one lived in Toronto as a young man. Unfortunately, Ernest really didn’t like 1920s Toronto – which is why he moved to Paris, which he found to be much more of a “moveable feast.” Hemingways is known as one of the best bars in Yorkville. Owner Martin McSkimming is from New Zealand and serves a menu of world-renowned New Zealand lamb and several excellent Kiwi wines.

These are just a few of the many places that book lovers will adore in Toronto. You could also check out A Novel Spot, Another Story, Acadia and many more!

Downtown Toronto, Family Vacations in Toronto, Fitness and Health, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Entertainment, Toronto Family Travel

Outdoor Toronto Swimming Pools To Enjoy

June 23, 2017

Toronto Swimming PoolsPack your towel, sunscreen, a good book and your favourite swimsuit and spend the afternoon soaking up the rays and splashing around at one of these great Toronto swimming pools. They are the perfect place to chill out on a hot day.

If you are not from Canada you might find it strange that we have so many outdoor pools even though we can only use them for a portion of the year. However, it’s the long cold winters that really make Canadians appreciate and enjoy the summer months so much more.

Alex Duff Christie Pits – Toronto Swimming Pools

This swimming pool is popular with both families and young hipsters and it features a 25m pool, a kid’s pool and an enormous hot tub. Also, you can enjoy the thrill of hurling yourself down the two storey waterslide to splash into the pool below. There is also a diving board iboard in the big pool, so you can dive and cannonball again and again.

Gus Ryder Sunnyside

This 25 metre swimming pool has stunning views of the Toronto waterfront and skyline. Plus, if your goal is to get in shape they offer offer Aquafit lessons, so that you can burn some calories

Toronto Swimming Pools

while you cool down. The surroundings of this lovely park include lots of sand and trees, so if you use your imagination you could almost pretend you are at a tropical resort.

Alexandra Park

This chilled out 2.7 hectare park offers more than just a swimming pool. It also has a picnic area, a ball diamond, a volleyball court, a community garden and much more. On a warm day it is often packed, so it is a great place to socialise and make new friends – or maybe even find someone cute to go out for ice cream with!

Monarch Park

Slide down the two storey watOutdoor Swimming Poolser slide, plunge off the diving board or chill out in the wading pool – there is a lot of room to play at this great swimming pool. There is also a playground, so it is a great place to bring the kids on a sunny day. Your young ones can cool down in the wading pool without worrying about getting splashed by the bigger kids.

Greenwood Park Outdoor Pool

This is another park that is great for kids, as it has a shallow pool for little ones and a big pool for the older kids. The 35 m pool is approximately 2 m at the deep end and there is a great raised seating area where you can chill out. It is a lovely spot for a summer picnic, but you will need to bring your own lunch as there is nowhere to buy food.

These are just a few of the best outdoor Toronto swimming pools that you can enjoy this summer. Where is your favourite summer Toronto swimming spot? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Downtown Toronto, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Entertainment, Toronto Family Travel

A Toronto Music Lovers Guide

June 10, 2017

Toronto Music LoversNo matter what type of tunes you love, you’ll find great live gigs every night of the week and cool and quirky record stores you can lose yourself for hours browsing in. Here are a few of the spots Toronto Music Lovers adore:

For Toronto Music Lovers  – Ric’s Recollections

This Mississauga record shop has been in business for over 20 years and it’s impressive selection makes it worth the 15 minute drive out of downtown Toronto. Ric’s has over 20,000 titles in blues, jazz, rock, country, pop, R&B and much more. You’ll also find all of the gear and accessories you need to keep your records running great such as brushes, vinyl cleaning fluid, cartridges, etc. The staff at Ric’s are serious about records – before they sell any LPs they play them to test for sound quality and meticulously clean them.

The Bovine Sex Club

This joint on Queen Street West is the ideal place for Toronto Music Lovers to catch some live and local music. It has been one of the “it” spots on the scene since it Toronto Music Loversopened in 1991 and the music showcased there is a mix of retro 80s, cutting edge rock, metal, glam, punk and Britpop. Countless bands who have performed here over the years have gone on to achieve international success, such as Monster Truck and Alexisonfire. You can check out the Open Mic on Mondays, where you just might see up and coming artists trying out some of their new stuff.

Rock n’ Horse Saloon

If you love to stamp your feet to country music, you’ll have a blast at the Rock n’ Horse Saloon. Located in the Entertainment District, it is known for welcoming hospitality, down home country cookin, line dancing lessons, an ornery mechanical bull and parties where you can kick up your heels all night long.

Rotate This

Toronto Music LoversThis Queen Street West record shop features one of the best selections for new hot tunes in the city. There is a focus on indie rock and pop, but you will find a little bit of everything. It is also a great place to buy tickets to cool indie shows around the city. The staff are friendly and music savvy, so if you ask them they can probably recommend something you will love.

The Danforth Music Hall

One of the best things about seeing a performance at the legendary 1,400 seat Danforth Music Hall is that the floor has a slight incline. That means that there isn’t a bad seat in the house and everyone gets a great view of the band. This beautiful music hall is one of the oldest live music venues in Toronto and it is a classic place to see a show.

What are your favourite music spots in Toronto? Let us know in the comments!