The thing about whatever Chinatown you're visiting in the world, not one is the same from the other. The one in NYC, from what I can remember, seemed compacted into a single few blocks, while the one in London, from what I can remember, was a long single street with buildings looming over you on both sides of the street. Smells and vibes are different.
Toronto's Chinatown is pretty big and spread out. Some of it even seems to jut into several side streets apart from the main drag. The streetcar tracks seperate the main street. It's a huge area. The best part is, if you're looking for cheap souvenirs, you can come here and find them in droves. There are some really good prices to be found here, and much better then going to a place like the CN Tower where they will charge the "tourist prices" on their gifts. I'd suggest coming to Chinatown to score your knick-knacks.
You can have absolutely fantastic dimsums in Chinatown. I used to go there often. You pay about 17 can dollars for eat all you can. They carry trolleys with dishes all the time and you can choose what you want. Very tasty. Yammmmy!
Another Chinatown, with the same colors, the same smells, the same... garbage, as all the other. But with an incidental small difference:
After a week travelling in the USA, and being warned about the characteristic violence of the American society, it was in the peaceful Canada, in Toronto's Chinatown, that we met the signs of violence.
The group was not affected, but the guide, professionally, informed that it was... movies. Of course it was! It's easy to notice that everybody in the scene was waiting for lights and camera...
The main Chinatown area of Toronto centres around Spadina and Dundas St. W. and the neighbouring streets south of Dundas for the most part. There are lots and lots of interesting little shops and markets, and there are dozens of cheap Chinese and Asian food restaurants. All the signs on the shops and street signs are in Chinese and in English and in many of the restaurants, if you aren't Asian, you will most definitely be in the minority. We bought some chrystanthemum tea in one shop and had a great Dim Sum lunch in a meal that the shop owner reccommended even though we had no idea what we were getting with the various dim sum baskets. There's probably going to be a language barrier in some places but you will get an authentic Asian meal if you just take the leap and go for it. Even the chopsticks aren't too difficult to figure out!
We walked around on the main street and peeked in some of the shops chock full of all kinds of things, from tat to treasures and then found ourselves at the Kensington Market neighbourhood. But that's something for another tip!
Chinatown is the place to go for DVDs, long distance phone cards, Chinese art, and of course, Chinese food.
Take a virtual tour of Chinatown at grandstreets.com. They have panoramic views of the whole street so you can browse all the shops at a glance.
The Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada, has at least seven Chinatowns — four are located within the city's boundaries, while the other three are located in adjacent suburbs.
They have expanded significantly, parallelling Toronto's economic growth, and also because language laws in Quebec persuaded many Chinese to move from Montreal to Toronto.
Toronto has the second largest Chinatown in North America. It is home to ethnic Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, as well as, South East Asian merchants such as Pakistani and Indian.
There is a big Chinese community in Toronto. I, being a fan of Oriental things and food, plus that they always have the cheapest clothes-stores there, always head straight for Chinatown while travelling abroad.
What I noticed about Toronto that it is so multiracial and there are several sections of Toronto which are Chinese, Indian, Greek etc.
Chinatown is of course in the center of Toronto, but in the outskirt there is a big Chinese Mall with all things Chinese. It was awesome, I felt like I was in China.
Our China Town is small compared to other cities, but comparatively speaking I find much less repetetive. You don't see the same things over and over again like in other cities, partially because its pretty small. The entirity of it is located on one street, called Spadina and you can walk through it in less than an hour, maybe more if you're checking all the shops. There are plenty of places to eat, and cheap things to be bought -like clothing, Canadian/Asian souvenirs, candy, tea, and other snacks, candies and nic-naks from China. It's a good place to spend an afternoon, or morning, and since its so well situated, you can walk to the Harbourfront when you're done or do some shopping on Queen st or at the Eaton Centre.
I read there are a number of Chinatowns in Toronto, but the largest and most well known is centered around Dundas and Spadina. As you walk Dundas heading west, the neighborhood changes fairly quickly into an open air market of sorts, with many shops offering goods, fruits, and foods. I found some of the dried seafood among the most interesting things for sale - I'm curious how some of the items are used. If I had more time and was more adventurous, I would have ventured into some of the stores to see what they had for sale. There were also a ton of restaurants, and much of the food smelled fantastic. I could have walked around here for hours - so put on some good shoes and see what you can see!
Toronto's Chinatown is one of the largest in North America. Like in any Chinatown, you will be able to find lots of Chinese and Asian restaurants, gift shops, and grocery stores selling everything from fresh fruits, meats, vegetables to Asian dried goods. We were able to find a few restaurants that catered to our taste (Beijing and Shanghai style, as opposed to Cantonese, Hong Kong, and Vietnamese styles which make up the majority of the businesses here). We were able to find a nice restaurant serving delicious steamed buns (bao zi) and pot stickers just west of Spadina Ave. on Dundas St. You can also pick up some cheap Toronto souvenirs at some of the shops here.
Keep in mind that there are several other major "Chinatowns" in the suburbs of Toronto. The Pacific Mall, Market Village Mall, and Splendid China Tower shopping center in Markham (just north of Toronto) are must-visit places to experience more of the Chinese culture in the Toronto area.
I consider this avenue as the chinatown of Toronto. It is a combination of residential but mostly businesses in the area like real estate and insurance brokers, travel bureaus, bakeries, banks, pharmacies, physicians, lawyers, architects, book shops, garments, housewares, and a lot of restaurants.
I do not consider the avenue as a trendy or fashionable area but rather a place for bargain hunters. Streetcar is a means of transportation in Spadina Avenue plying frequently to and from various subway stations.
Nowadays, Spadina is not for chinese anymore. You will see people of different background shopping and haggling with the other bargain hunters. And you will not get hungry as there are restaurants in almost every corner - not only chinese but Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese restaurants.
Reflecting Toronto's enormous diversity, the Chinatown here is one of the largest, most colorful, and most interesting of any. The food and the shopping here are terrific. Next to Chinatown is Kensington Market, another great place to eat and shop.
From our hotel we walked to Chinatown. Most of Toronto was pretty clean and well taken care off but Chinatown was different. I did enjoy it and Torontos Chinatown was big. Quite a few blocks long. There were alot of people walking around in the streets and the sidewalks were busy with fruit and veggie stands. It was very interesting walking around.
They say that Toronto has the third largest Cinese community in the world. So, its definitely a spot to check out while you are in Toronto. Most of the stores stay open pretty late.
Chinatown is a great place to spend some time shopping, people watching, and fine tuning your maneuvering-in-a-crowd skills. Sunday afternoons are wall-to-wall shoppers, browsers, and vendors. Be prepared.
The smells and sounds of Chinatown are, in my opinion, what make it what it is. Roasted pig, fresh/cooked/dried/salted seafood, coconut drinks, produce I've never seen in my life but would love to try. All this amongst local vendors haggling over the sounds of music coming out of restaurants and store fronts. It's definitely energizing.
The Toronto area has six Chinatowns, the largest being the one in downtown Toronto. It boasts as the second largest Chinatown in North America. My guess would be that the largest is in San Francisco, but don't hold me to that. If you know what is it, email me.
I love the city Chinatown. It really and truly adds atmosphere to the city. One of my favorite hobbies is to drive a visitor through Chinatown and to then say: There, try convince yourself that you are still in North America! The city Chinatown is large. Incredibly it is right next to the heart of downtown city. That means if you are downtown anyway, you are not far at all from Chinatown. There is so much to say about this beautiful area plenty pictures too, that I made a separate album on Chinatown. To continue reading and seeing pictures on this area, click here:
Toronto Chinatown and then scroll down until you reach the album.
Here are some pictures to start you off: (There are more in the album!)
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