Ask Torontonians for an example of Toronto food and you will have an array of different answers. One astute response may be that Toronto specializes in having everything and having it available at your doorstep.
With many of our nabes named after the cultural contingent that has congregated along a specific street or in a particular area, the free admission “Taste of” events allow you to explore them among celebrations. Not only do they offer up tasty treats from street side vendors, but also live entertainment and store discounts for shopping sprees. They’re not just any set of cultural festivals, these events show you how a particular culture has flourished and integrated themselves into Toronto and perhaps will persuade you into living it up in their neighbourhood again. Even if you missed out on Taste of Little Italy, go enjoy what other areas have to offer during various weekends in the summer.
Taste of Lawrence starts tonight (from July 6–8) and will be held between Crockford Boulevard and Warden Avenue. Catch the stage performances or take the kids for face-painting and fun rides. If that’s not exactly your scene, you may feel more comfortable in the beer garden.
Corso Italia Toronto Fiesta also takes place this weekend (July 6–8) along St Clair Avenue West between Westmount and Lansdowne. The name would have you believe it is an old Italian strip but entertainment and bands lean towards Portuguese with a bit of Cuban mixed in. They boast of great deals in their Sidewalk Sale.
The Chinatown Festival (from August 11–12) is held on Spadina Avenue from St Andrew Street to Sullivan Street but no details have been released yet. With lion dances, bubbling chafing dishes full of food, and even cheaper than usual items for sale last year, we’re sure you can expect the same.
Taste of the Danforth (from August 11–13) is undoubtedly the most well known of the bunch and can be found between Broadview Avenue and Jones Avenue. In a true show of multiculturalism, you can expect baklava right next to your maki rolls from the over 85 tasting tables spilling into the street. It also has the most opportunities to hit the sauce with beer, wine, martinis and more available at various tents.
Festival of South Asia (from August 18–19), otherwise dubbed as Taste of Little India, takes place on Gerrard St East between Greenwood Avenue and Coxwell Avenue. Celebrating Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh and Sri Lankan cultures, there will be an abundance of tasty (and likely spicy) eats in the $1–5 range. Traditional dances and a fashion show have taken place in the past and could easily be part of this year’s festivities.
Photo by mbrane_1 from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.