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Five amazing Toronto neighbourhoods to explore in June.

Miriam Porter June 08, 2018
Toronto TTC street car.

Toronto’s motto is “diversity is our strength”, and it’s easy to see why after spending time in ‘The Six’. You can’t possibly check out all of Toronto’s unique and flourishing neighbourhoods in just one visit, so plan to stay awhile and slowly check them off your list.

In fact, there are so many unique Toronto neighbourhoods we can’t cover them all in one article!

This is the first of a three-part series showcasing all that Toronto has to offer, stay tuned throughout the summer for two more installments. Here are five not to miss Toronto neighborhoods to get you started.

Kensington Market.

Known around town as one of Toronto’s most animated and diverse neighbourhoods, Kensington Market is located slightly west of the downtown core and bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, Bathurst Street and College Street. Kensington Market is one of the best street markets in North America and packed with cool alternative shops. You never know what treasure you will find in a back alley or narrow street as you weave past the colourful old Victorian homes dating back to the 1920’s. Browse through vintage clothing stores, thrift shops, organic produce, ethnic foods from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and one of a kind gifts at Blue Banana Market on Augusta Avenue. Enjoy a fair-trade coffee or tea on the outdoor patio at Moonbeam Coffee Company as you ‘people watch’ in fascination. Car free Sundays start on May 27 and happen once a month on the last Sunday until the end of September and you will find musicians playing in the streets, food vendors, and fun around every funky corner.

Art at Kensington Market, Toronto

The Junction.

A visit to West Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood is both relaxing and entertaining. This trendy neighbourhood occupies areas around Bloor Street, Dupont Street, Lansdowne Avenue and Dundas Street. The area is roughly in the shape of a triangle and bordered by three sets of railroad tracks and often called “The Junction Triangle”. If you crave health food you are in luck with plenty of juice bars and delicious restaurants. Dine at Grasshopper Restaurant on Dundas Street West for a tasty plant based meal featuring Japanese/American inspired comfort foods that are entirely vegan. There are many health and wellness options beyond food, as well as art and design shops, furniture stores, antiques, and cool items to decorate your home. Stick around when the sun goes down for a thriving nightlife at various venues including Hole In The Wall, a cozy location with live music.

Keele and Dundas junction in Toronto traffic intersection with cars and pedestrians.

Distillery District.

The charming and historical Distillery District is the perfect neighbourhood to walk around and explore. Considered an Old Town neighbourhood, the area is bordered by Yonge Street on the west side, the Don River on the east side, the old railways on the south end and funky Queen Street towards the north. It’s a fantastic location for a spring walk in Toronto. Dine outside on cobble-stoned streets or sit next to an outdoor fire at night for an authentic and delicious meal at one of many trending restaurants. For a sweet treat stop by SOMA Chocolatemaker on Tank House Lane featuring an open concept chocolate making factory with vintage gear that has been updated and restored. Browse through unique designs at various fashion retailers and search original art galleries and studios admiring local artwork. Stay for a theatrical performance at Soulpepper come nightfall to complete your experience of cultural enrichment.

A busy festival at the Gooderham Worts Distillary District in Toronto.

Little Italy.

Not just for pizza and pasta lovers (although it’s the perfect location for an authentic Italian meal!), Little Italy is the place to be to immerse yourself in an Italian atmosphere. With heritage dating back to the 1920’s, it won’t be hard to find a tasty dish of linguine or gnocchi here. Located along College Street between Euclid Avenue and Shaw Street, there are billiard halls, bars, and lots of places to browse through European shops. Although this area has evolved over the years to include other cultures as well and is not exclusively Italian, this lively neighbourhood is perfect for a weekend stroll or outdoor patio experience. Top off the day with a visit to the popular Café Diplomatico (commonly referred to as “The Dip”) that was first opened in 1968 by brothers who envisioned a classic Italian bar serving coffee and biscotti. Taste of Italy is the neighbourhood’s annual three-day event in June and perfect for families, couples and friends wanting to check out this fun part of town.

The Royal Cinema in Little Italy.

The Beaches.

With spring weather here and summer right around the corner it’s the perfect time to visit The Beaches, commonly called “Beach Village”. This vibrant Toronto neighbourhood

is located along Queen Street East between Coxwell Avenue and Victoria Park Avenue. Sometimes it’s hard to believe a sandy beach exists right in the city, yet sure enough you can take off your shoes and feel the sand beneath your feet. There is also a super long boardwalk to stroll along at your leisure. There are several community events happening here such as volleyball, soccer, studio tours, and festivals. In July you can check out the annual Beaches International Jazz Festival as they celebrate 30 years. And of course, all summer long you can take a refreshing dip in Lake Ontario – don’t forget your bathing suit!

The Grandstand, Beaches Jazz Festival, Toronto.

What is your favourite Toronto neighbourhood?

Let us know and we might feature it in an upcoming blog.

Photo credit: Art in Kensington image, courtesy of Suwannee Payne, Wikimedia Commons. The Junction at Keele and Dundas image, courtesy of Chris Tyler, Wikimedia Commons. Busy festival in the Distillery image, courtesy of Mark Watmough, Wikimedia Commons. The Royal Cinema in Little Italy image, courtesy of D.B. King, Wikimedia Commons. The Grandstand, Beaches Jazz Festival image, courtesy of Capt. Mondo, Wikimedia Commons.