Living in Toronto Apartments in Toronto
Toronto prides itself on its diversity – and that extends into every aspect of this cosmopolitan city. While downtown borders midtown around St. Clair, it really starts bustling at about Davenport. The core runs down to about King St., though the city extends right to the lake. To the east it’s bound by the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) and to the west it’s bound loosely around Dufferin St.
The core is broken up into districts that offer a specific experience. There is the Financial District along Bay St., culminating at Adelaide in the Toronto Stock Exchange, First Canadian Place and Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) with numerous other flagship banking centres concentrated within a few streets and sprawling for entire blocks.
The Entertainment District is between Queen and King and runs from University to Spadina. While by day a few restaurants, clothing boutiques and businesses cater to the downtown crowd, by night – especially on weekends – this area comes alive with fashionistas and party goers in search of the party scene in got-to-be-seen clubs with the hottest DJs, alcohol and best music.
Kensington Market is tucked away in Toronto’s Chinatown. This two-for-one venture is a cultural trip, from the Asian cuisine and commerce to the hip, hidden gem that offers everything from retro and vintage to indie and alternative styles. Boho restaurants and a multitude of fruit and veggie stands are intermingled with bazaar-type shops that draw in the curious and offer an alternative to big brand shopping.
The Village, east of Yonge and focused along Wellesley to Carlton, is known for being the stronghold of the LGBT community. While Toronto is known for its acceptance and diversity – The Annual Pride Parade is in its 33rd year and draws over a million people – and hundreds of thousands of tourists! – so it’s an established and not marginalized community whose businesses and targeted establishments are located in the area.
The northeast holds Greektown, where numerous restaurants and businesses cater to the community, running along Danforth Ave., known as ‘The Danforth’. Queen West and Queen West are two neighbourhoods that grew out of the independent and alternative scene. From music to politics, the wave that drove the community was through the artists and musicians that paved the way, with such institutions as The Big Bop, The Horseshoe, The Black Bull and The Drake. Starting from University and moving west, the ‘alternative’ part of the community keeps getting pushed westward as the area becomes trendy.
Little Italy runs from Spadina to Dovercourt, with a mix of elegant restaurants and mom-‘n-pop shops serving fare from the old country. Some nightlife and boutique shopping is mixed in.
Yorkville is the sophisticated segment of the city, where the high end labels and expensive boutiques reside. Fantastic dining options abound, as well as luxe spas, hotels and salons.
There’s something for everyone, with more micro communities and districts – The Annex, Parkdale, Koreatown, Cabbagetown and many others – occupying their own small pockets of the big city. An excellent public transportation system ties them all together. The Yonge/University/Spadina line connects with the Bloor/Danforth line to make rapid travel around the city very easy. An extensive bus system with 24-hour service on the major routes makes mass transit very accessible. The Gardiner Expressway runs across the bottom of the city, while the DVP extends from it north, connecting the city with the suburbs. Designed on a grid system, Toronto is easy to navigate.
There are numerous post-secondary schools, from York, Ryerson and The University of Toronto to Sheridan, George Brown, Centennial and other elite small programs offered by recognized formal institutions, from business to the arts.
Each area has recreation and community centres. Urban Greenspace includes many parks and gathering areas, from City Hall’s Nathan Phillps Square with winter ice rink and summer event venue, to Trinity Bellwoods Park, Dufferin Grove with its pizza ovens and weekly events to Christie Park – and more.
Shopping options are endless. While one of Canada’s largest malls, the Eaton Centre is at the heart of the City at Yonge and Dundas, and Yonge and Dundas Square is home to Toronto’s version of New York’s Times Square, there’s no lack of shopping options as every main street is lined with stores, literally from one end of downtown to the other.
Cultural options include a multitude of theatres, music venues, museums both large, like the Royal Ontario Museum to smaller and more focused destinations. There are galleries – from the massive Art Gallery of Ontario to the independent and unusual. Heritage locations, from Casa Loma to Old City Hall tell the story of the city from its early years while modern attractions like the CN Tower, and sports centres The Rogers Centre and The Air Canada Centre are also a huge draw for residents and tourists alike.
A proliferation of famous, notable and talented people, Toronto has been called home by Moses Znaimer, Robertson Davies, Timothy Eaton, Northrop Frye, Robert Munsch, Michael Ondaatje, Frank Gehry, Conrad Black, June Callwood; actors Neve Campbell, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Hayden Christensen, Keanu Reeves, musicians, Choclair; movie moguls David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan; music makers deadmau5, k-os, Three Days Grace and Neil Young – and the list goes on!