Chinatown, Toronto

3.5 out of 5 stars 49 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Chinatown
    by HispanicYob
  • I in Chinatown.
    I in Chinatown.
    by Regina1965
  • I at the Chinese Mall.
    I at the Chinese Mall.
    by Regina1965
  • mattreider's Profile Photo

    Hmmm.. Bacon Buns

    by mattreider Updated Jan 2, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chinese market

    Let's face it, the Chinese are known for their food. Toronto's Chinatown is growing, and there are three or four distinct Chinatowns within the city limits, with more in the suburbs. Chinatown West is easily reached from downtown, with the corner of Spadina and Dundas Street being the main core.

    Get something to eat, drink some bubble tea, and enjoy the sounds of a market that could be thousands of miles... or a few blocks away.

    Was this review helpful?

  • NC_Ziggy's Profile Photo

    Where are we, Lewis?

    by NC_Ziggy Updated Dec 8, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    North by Northwest of The Tower!
    2 more images

    As you can see, Toronto's Chinatown is nearly in the shadow of the CN Tower! So, as a landmark, I guess you could say it is Northwest of the Tower. Sorry, but I don't recall the specific street where you will find the greatest amount of activity. There are many sights to see, restaurants to choose from, shops to roam, and things to do that we don't have in Hickory, NC!

    There are lot's of fruit and vegetable vendors and I thought I had a picture of the infamous durian, but I can't seem to find it now. Surely worth a visit for the sheer diversity of sights, sounds, and smells not to mention Dim Sum! Yum!

    Was this review helpful?

  • HotRodEtte's Profile Photo

    Just look at the foods!

    by HotRodEtte Updated Oct 19, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chinatown-Spadina Avenue
    1 more image

    Christy and I were amazed by all the groceries that sat along the street in Chinatown. We enjoyed the atmosphere of walking up and down Spadina Ave. and looking in all the shops and markets. At one point she picked up a Buddha statue and after that, the man working kept bringing her Buddha statues, talking to her in his native language which neither of us could understand. He was so adorable!!! Unfortunately she had no intentions of purchasing a Buddha statue.
    We were also surprised to see the proudly displayed meats hanging in each butcher shop's windows. It's nothing like we've ever seen here!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Asia in central Toronto!

    by kymbanm Updated Oct 15, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chinatown!
    2 more images

    You can't miss entering into Chinatown ..... you begin to notice different scents ... then you notice a change in lighting ...... THEN you notice you must really be drunk, for the signs make no sense! Oh, I'm not drunk!

    On second look ....... one realizes the hustle, bustle, and surroundings are actually Chinatown. A thriving Asian community in the heart of TO proper. One can find nic-nacs, Asian art, beads, jewelry, foods, spices, and special little eateries with wonderful grub for only a few dollars.

    Bright, busy and up all night - my first experience was at 2am looking for an after pub meal .... Easy to find, hard to leave, Chinatown is a wonderful excursion while in the great city of Toronto :)

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sahlenare's Profile Photo

    Food market

    by sahlenare Written Sep 24, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Suddenly I was just there! Looking around and "wow, I'm in Chinatown!!" It reminded me so much of KL so I had to call a friend of mine in KL :o)

    It amazing, the shops, the food market, the atmosphere!

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by Kaspian Updated Jul 27, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Toronto - Dragon in Chinatown (2005)

    I love Toronto's Chinatown! It's my favourite place to hang out and I could literally spend my entire stay there; checking out all the the little shops, groceries, and restaurants. The sights, sounds, and smells (oh, yes smells! ) can be completely overwhelming on your senses. It feels like a fantastic break from Western culture.
    Chinatown runs along Spadina Street in downtown and is one of North America's largest Chinese districts.
    Try to find a resturant that's packed with locals--that way you'll get to sample the "real" cuisine and not stuff prepared for tourists. Buy some of the imported DVDs that have subtitles, many of the Asian movies are way better ours lately (especially the horror ones).
    Toronto's original Chinatown was located at Dundas and Bay St., but when construction began on the City Hall, it moved west to its current location at Dundas St. W and Spadina Ave. It began to really boom in the 1960s. Chinatown has grown to reflect a diverse set of cultres including Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Korean.
    It stretches for several blocks in every direction.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jozwitch's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by jozwitch Written Apr 5, 2005

    Chinatown was pretty cool. There were lots of people and lots of shops to check out. It's kind of standard Chinatown fare as far as that goes. We did eat at a restaurant there and enjoyed the food. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the name of the place.
    Oh, and if karaoke is your thing, there is a place called Echo at 280 Spadina Ave that has group rooms for you and your friends to drunkenly sing to each other.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Selenceline's Profile Photo

    ChinaTown

    by Selenceline Written Jan 15, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I really love the Asian culture. Anyhow, the chinatown in Toronto may not be as big as NY but its worth to see. there are lots and lots of chienese restarants, shops sell chinese videos and albums. kensington market is a must see too.

    The chinatown festival is on August 7 - 8 must see!

    Related to:
    • Festivals

    Was this review helpful?

  • m0nde's Profile Photo

    Incredible Eating in Toronto's Downtown Chinatown!

    by m0nde Written Jan 14, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Toronto's Chinatown

    Toronto's chinatown is the third largest in the world. Actually six distinct Chinatowns exist in Toronto, but this review is about the Downtown Chinatown between College and Queen streets along Spadina Avenue.
    Many fine chinese restaurants can be found and the perfect day for exploration is Saturday when Dim Sum is served after 12:00pm.
    A bonus are the many Vietnamese restaurants also found around College and Spadina. My two favourites are Quan Anh Dao (on Spadina, near College) and Pho Hoa (393 Dundas Street West).

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • rsilva's Profile Photo

    Leave Canada for a moment

    by rsilva Written Dec 15, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chinatown at night

    I had read that Canada had the third largest Chinese community in the world and if you visit Chinatown you can believe that.

    What I found most appealing were all the different colours and lights, not only the street signs but also the food that was on display everywhere.
    If you are lucky you might find yourself in Chinatown at night after the rain and it will look even more spectacular.

    Any shop will offer you a million things you probably have never seen before, there was a huge amount of strange-looking (and smelling) food. How can you not love the caramelized ducks/chicken hanging at the restaurant windows?

    It was fun to see that this is a community where you don't have to speak English to get around. The staff at many places (restaurants included) could not speak English and even the police station has (what I guess are) Chinese writings on the wall.

    In any case it makes it a very special place and I am sure you will not be dissapointed.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Imaniac's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by Imaniac Written May 17, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This Chinatown is the 3rd biggest in the world. Only the ones in San Fransisco and New York rank higher.

    You could easily spend a whole afternoon just walking around Chinatown and tasting the atmosphere. Go shopping for spices and clothing in one of the many shops. Or have dim sum for lunch in one of the many restaurants. And you may also want to visit a Buddhist Temple.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Polly74's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by Polly74 Written May 10, 2004

    This ever-expanding area is home to ethnic Chinese from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and elsewhere.
    A wealth of oriental shops and fruit markets spills out onto the street, and a vast selection of authentic Chinese restaurants feature such delicacies as dim sum.
    Toronto's second Chinatown is located in the Broadview/Gerrard area, and three other distinctive Chinatowns are located in the suburbs.

    Was this review helpful?

  • paulbrec's Profile Photo

    Multi-Cultural Festivals: Chinatown Festival

    by paulbrec Updated May 7, 2004

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Kung Fu Demonstration

    Multi-Cultural Festivals: Chinatown Festival
    An Asian festival featuring Asian traditional dances, Chinese Opera, Asian foods, martial arts demonstrations and more. Held in August. Visit website for exact date this year.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • RB_Oakes's Profile Photo

    Well-known, but for good reason

    by RB_Oakes Written May 6, 2004

    Proximity and size make it one of the most well-known of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. Restaurants and grocery stores abound. For locals/self-caterers, Chinatown is probably the cheapest place to buy food in the developed world. They give food away pretty much. Meat is ridiculously cheap. I bought a green pepper for thirty cents last weekend.

    Among all the Chinese restaurants, I admit a little bit of heresy because my favourite place to eat here is Pho Hung, a Vietnamese beef soup specialist. Still, the main highlight of Chinatown is just to walk the streets. The bustle, swarms of people and indecipherable signage may not be authentic China, but it’s a reasonable enough facsimile and you’d be forgiven for wondering if you were still in Canada.

    I especially enjoy crowd-walking here. This is the art of getting through crowds as quickly as possible with a minimum of commotion. In other words, you don’t just blast your way through, shoving people to the ground. No, dexterity is key and you’re not supposed to bump into anybody. Form is important to – you shouldn’t be forever jumping out of the way, slamming on the brakes, etc. Rather, you should glide smoothly and easily through the crowds by choosing the best paths through the ever-shifting human maze, and use subtle shifts in momentum and body movements to maximize your progress while avoiding the disturbance of others. I might be the only person in the world who gets a kick out of this, but it’s one of the reasons I go to Chinatown so I figured I’d mention it. It’s not like you don’t have silly-sounding reasons to go places sometimes.

    Was this review helpful?

  • coolpanda87's Profile Photo

    Downtown Chinatown @ TO

    by coolpanda87 Updated Feb 28, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chinatown @ Daytime

    Toronto's downtown Chinatown is one of the Eastern seaboard's biggest, comparable to New York & Washington DC. Its heart is located at Spadina Ave. & Dundas Street, and the community spreads out from there. Toronto CBD also has a Eastern Chinatown located just east of the DVP, south of Bloor.

    Other Chinese shopping & entertainment areas in the Greater Toronto Area include Scarborough (Cultural Centre, restaurants), Markham (Pacific Mall, Market Village, First Markham Place & more), & Richmond Hill (concentrated at a part of Hwy. 7, 16th Ave). The new areas of Markham & Richmond Hill are highly populated with Hong Kong residents that just came to Canada right before 1997, so the restaurants there are more H.K. and international style & less Chinese.

    Like Vancouver, Toronto has Chinese listed as its third most spoken language in the city. Also interesting to note is the Chinese attraction to money, for Chinese people have flocked to "Richmond" in Vancouver & "Richmond Hill" in Toronto. Coincidence?

    Though Chinatown has a lot of Chinese people, there are also many other minorities including Vietnamnese and even South Asians. The Chinese @ Chinatown have also changed from mainly Cantonese & Fuken people to Mandarian people from throughout the Mainland. Now it is easier to get around knowing a couple of phrases of Mandarin like "Zhe shi shum mall ?" (translated: What is this?)

    There is a huge selection of cuisine for you to pick from, & though many places are very dirty, many times it is worth it! From Thai to Shanghainese...you could never leave with an empty stomach. There are also a lot of hawkers and mini-vendors throughout Chinatown that offer bargain offers. From Chinese calligraphy to pyjamas, there is a lot for eagar shoppers to sift through!

    On the newly reconstructed Spadina Ave, you could see a sculpture two red dragons wrapping around poles. The whole structure forms the Chinese word door, pronounced "moon" in Cantonese.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Toronto

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

74 travelers online now

Comments (1)

  • Nov 16, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I reside in Toronto and visit chinatown occasionally to purchase groceries. Be ware: most (not all) of the chinese vendors, in particular the women, are rude and impolite. In fact, the overall culture in this area behaves in a rude manner. I don't understand why? Don't these vendors want everyone's business? And don't these vendors want you to return and make more purchases? When I visit chinatown, which is seldom due to my bad experiences, I get there early to beat the crowds of rude locals. Chinatown locals: learn how to say "excuse me", "I'm sorry", "thank-you", ect. Some basic english and ethics won't hurt.

Hotels Near Chinatown
3.5 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.2 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Review
0.2 miles away
Show Prices

View all Toronto hotels