Hey Toronto: Come on down to Little Italy

Are hipsters ignoring you? Are the grey skies and black slush underfoot making winter unbearable? When life in the big city starts to get you down, then you need to go where everyone knows your name. OK, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you certainly will feel like part of the family in Little Italy; a taste of Europe in the heart of Toronto.

Running along College Street from Euclid Avenue to Shaw Street, Little Italy is a warm and friendly place sprinkled with a touch of trendy and claims to be the largest Italian community outside of Italy. There are an abundance of Italian restaurants, coffee shops and shops with a distinctly European flair where you can browse. From the Vespa shop, to the trendy Italian boutiques to the fabulous Italian bakeries and supermarkets, Little Italy is a great place to spend an afternoon shopping. For the more adventurous, the numerous nightclubs in the area offer a more festive atmosphere.

Little Italy follows the age-old tradition of Italian hospitality; making it a warm and inviting area which is best suited to meeting friends over a delicious meal. One of its greatest claims to fame is that Sophie Loren dined at one of its roadside cafe’s when visiting Toronto. Perhaps this is what inspired the Italian ‘Walk of Fame’. Here Italians who excel in any field are immortalized with their own sidewalk stars. This attempt to preserve Italian culture began in 2009 and has since seen a number of famous achievers honoured annually with a red carpet unveiling and gala event.

The highlight of the calendar year in Little Italy is the amazing food and wine fest that takes place in early September. Here vendors and local eateries line the streets with tables and dispense an unbelievable amount of Chianti and traditional Italian dishes to festival goers who take advantage of the summer weather to sun themselves at the roadside cafes.

Whether you are looking for a night on the town, or a casual afternoon shopping excursion, Little Italy has something for everyone. A warm and inviting atmosphere pervades the European-style streets and cafes and reminds you that spring, and gelato, are only a few months away.

Image via nguy1

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