Areas in Toronto are cosmopolitan metropolis that’s made up of diverse neighborhoods. The city’s most popular areas showcase everything from theater and music to indie arts to thriving international enclaves.
The area around Bloor West Village has the feel of a local village with colorful shops and a laidback vibe. Across town, Kensington Market feels like something straight out of the 60s with second-hand stores and hippy inspired eateries.
Downtown Areas in Toronto
To borrow a phrase coined by locals, “Toronto is happenin'”. From world-class art museums and restaurants to spectacular festivals. And heartbreaking game seven losses (sorry Leafs fans). The city’s downtown core offers a lively atmosphere with bustling shopping, dining and entertainment areas.
The cosmopolitan Kensington Market neighborhood has a bohemian feel. With shops and cafes housed in old two-story brick buildings. Streetside vendors sell everything from incense and jewelry to fresh-baked bread and caviar.
South of the Distillery District, Corktown and the West Don Lands neighbourhoods have a charming old-world feel with brick-paved pedestrian walkways among historic Victorian-era industrial buildings.
One of the top attractions in Toronto is the Hockey Hall of Fame. Which features an original 1893 Stanley Cup, a replica Montreal Canadiens dressing room and other exhibits.
Hockey enthusiasts will also enjoy the Royal Ontario Museum, which showcases ancient cultures and natural history with more than 40 galleries and 6 million artifacts. Kids of all ages will enjoy the Discovery Zone. Where they can learn about animals and their environment through interactive displays and hands-on activities.
Home to the ‘Mink Mile,’ high-end shopping and luxury dining, Yorkville offers the ultimate in sophistication. Its fashionable boutiques and upscale department stores carry everything from Dolce & Gabbana to Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
Shop for skin care and accessories at Sephora and stock up on gourmet groceries at Whole Foods. Then, sit down for a luxurious meal at restaurants like Sofia (where diners are entertained by curated modern and street art pieces) or the more casual Swiss Art Chocolatier on Yorkville.
This former hippie enclave has also retained its artistic roots with a handful of discreet upscale galleries. The prestigious Art Gallery of Ontario is a must-see, featuring 90,000 works from around the world.
Yorkville is an excellent choice for families who want to live in a safe and upscale neighbourhood. Housing options include luxury condos and pre-war townhouses as well as charming old houses that have been converted into small apartment buildings.
You’ll find a mix of residents, from wealthy young professionals to senior citizens and families with children. A number of Toronto’s finest schools are located in Yorkville and the surrounding area.
Distillery District Areas in Toronto
As the capital of Ontario, Toronto is home to a diverse mix of tourist attractions. The city’s top attractions include the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Distillery District. The quaint village-like area once housed Canada’s largest whiskey distillery and is now lined with unique shops, restaurants and bars set in restored buildings.
The city’s cosmopolitan and multicultural atmosphere is reflected in its restaurants and markets. Kensington Market is a must-see for shoppers and foodies. The artisanal and authentic food stores feature an array of cuisines and everything you need to make your own meals at home.
The city also boasts a number of theaters and live performance venues. The Scotiabank Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena that hosts concerts and sporting events, including the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors.
Kensington Market is a colourful neighbourhood rich in culture and history. It is surrounded by Chinatown and the University of Toronto and has its own identity that makes it a truly unique area. Its heritage is a result of the many immigrants that have come to Canada through this area. There are Irish, Jewish, Hungarian and Portuguese influences in the food and culture found here.
The area is known for its street art, with many local artists showcasing their work throughout the streets. It is a walkable bohemian neighbourhood that draws artists and tourists to its indie shops, vintage boutiques and arts spaces. It has a great selection of international restaurants, cafes and bars that attracts a younger crowd.
Stop by for a coffee at FIKA, a bright and stylish Swedish-inspired spot that is a favourite with locals. Try their spiced cardamom latte or lavender white hot chocolate for something unique. Other notable places are Orbital Arts Gallery where you can find original artwork that inspires self-awareness and Whippersnapper Gallery, a great place to support up-and-coming artists.
Queen Street West
Cutting through a half-dozen of Toronto’s coolest neighbourhoods, Queen Street West earns its own nickname as one of the city’s hippest ‘hoods. Here, downtown sophisticates mingle with tourists and other Torontonians at a multitude of restaurants and bars. Hordes of skinny jeans hipsters crowd the shopping strip’s many boutiques, where savvy shop owners know how to turn on the charm for their customers.
Beyond the main drag, the aptly named (and gentrified) Distillery District is a pedestrian-only shopping area featuring restaurants set in the restored buildings of the Gooderman & Worts distillery. Here, you can sample some of Canada’s most delicious wines and whiskeys while soaking up the ambience of this historic district.
The sprawling Nathan Philips Square is a magnet for locals. In addition to being home to City Hall, this square is a popular gathering spot in winter, boasting a man-made skating rink and a massive Christmas tree. The square is also dotted with cafés and restaurants, including the ever-popular Drake Hotel.