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Toronto Chinatown

Toronto chinatown is a cross-shaped district running one block north and south along Spadina Ave and one block east and west along Dundas Street.

The area is bounded on the north-west by Kensington Market another 'exotic' (in the nicest sense of the word) part of an otherwise respectable, responsible city.

China town is home to mainly Chinese businesses (as you'd expect) but it also includes a lot of other Asian cultures too, Thai, Vietnamese, and so on.

The two dragons in the photo mark the entrance (or exit) to the district on Spadina. There's a pair at each end.

Toronto Chinatown, dragons marking the entrance

Having visited Hong Kong recently, we were struck by how like Hong Kong Toronto Chinatown is.

The streets here are wider but the feeling you get as you wander around is the same. The bustling crowds, noise, sights, scents and sounds overwhelm your senses.

Toronto Chinatown, street scene

And, even though it's in the heart of Toronto it feels very separate, as if the wider city barely existed.

Like most villages within cities, it seems to look inward. So much so that stepping over into Kensington Market you see every other nationality but Chinese.

Toronto Chinatown: Stores

Toronto Chinatown, grocery store

Toronto Chinatown isn't just small traders, though they are the majority, there's a large Chinese mall, Dragon City, on the corner of Spadina and Dundas, serving all your shopping needs only with a Chinese flavour.

Two kinds of businesses predominate - restaurants and hairdressers. Walking the streets of China Town leaves you imagining that folks in China really like eating and having their hair done!

Toronto Chinatown, basement store entrance

There are other stores, such as butchers selling Peking Duck and crispy pig, grocers selling dried seafood and vegetables of every kind, jewellers and gift shops with an emphasis on jade (of course), and fashion stores with an emphasis on chinese styled clothes and shoes.

One of my favorite tipples is 'Bubble Tea' and lots of stores sell it, as well as smoothies with chinese flavors. If you aren't familiar with Bubble Tea, it's a cold tea, usually fruit-flavored, with pearl-sized tapioca balls in it.

And finally my favorite stores -- bakeries, selling Sesame Balls and all the other Chinese baked goods.

Toronto Chinatown, street scene including moose

Finally, we can't forget we're in Canada. Here's Chinatown's version of a moose -- hiding halfway up the building at the left of the photo. It's more brightly colored than the regular Canadian variety, see our Moose page, but a moose nonetheless.

If you're looking for a place to stay that's handy for this neighborhood, visit our downtown hotels page. You can book your room right from there or using the search box below.

China town is a place you can spend the day in. For first time visitors, I recommend the Asian Legends restaurant on Dundas St. It's upmarket in decor, standards and service and reasonably priced by the standards of Toronto.

If you've enjoyed this page, and markets are your 'thing', visit our page on Toronto's oldest one -- St. Lawrence Market.

And if you're looking for the latest information about what's happening there, visit their website.

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