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Published on July 9th, 2018 | by Miriam Porter

Top 5 Toronto Neighbourhoods to Explore in July.­­­

Last month, we gave you a first taste of five great areas to explore in Toronto.

Now, we welcome you to the second installment of neighbhourhoods you should explore this summer in Toronto.

These five neighbourhoods are perfect to visit in July and each one offers something unique. Read on to find out more about High Park, Cabbagetown, the Annex, Chinatown and Parkdale.

High Park.

Toronto’s popular High Park neighbourhood is all about green space, tree-lined streets and the countless opportunities to get back to nature in the Bloor Street West community. This area is famous for the park of the same name. High Park is Toronto’s biggest public park and home to hiking trails, ponds, gardens, a kids play area, greenhouses, sports facilities and a leash-free dog park. It’s located at 1873 Bloor Street West and open daily. Pack a picnic lunch and find a quiet place to sit near Grenadier Pond on the west side. Save time for an iced latte at Grenadier Café, located in the park. If you are venturing outside the park there are several European Bakeries, fruit and veggie stands, outdoor patios for people watching and several authentic Ukrainian restaurants. For homemade European pierogis, arrive hungry and visit Amber European Restaurant at 2372 Bloor Street West.

Grenadier Pond, High Park. Photo courtesy of The City of Toronto.

Cabbagetown.

The main intersection of Toronto’s Cabbagetown is Parliament and Carlton and the history of this unique neighbhourhood dates back to the 19th century. Back then many Irish immigrant families were growing vegetables on their front lawns, specifically lots of cabbages. They were escaping the potato famine back home and cabbages were growing everywhere in order to put food on the table. Many of the homes in this area were built in the late 19th century, but this working-class community took a big hit during the 1930s Depression, especially in the Gerrard Street area. But then in the late 1970s and 1980s, new homebuyers arrived and these old Victorian homes were restored and revitalized. These days, Parliament Street is thriving and you can find an assortment of delicious restaurants like Italian, Mexican, South Asian and Thai, as well as cafes and bars. Enjoy a coffee at 519 Parliament at Jet Fuel Coffee, a Toronto landmark and the perfect place to refuel before walking the old city streets. Or rent a bike at the bike sharing station right outside the restaurant.

Classic Cabbagetown Victorian Homes. Photo courtesy of dbking, Wikimedia Commons.

The Annex.

The lively and vibrant Annex neighbourhood occupies the vicinity near University of Toronto and Bloor Street West between Avenue Road and Bathurst Street. If you like book shops, music stores and art galleries, this is the place to be. Pay a visit to the famous Royal Ontario Museum and check out the latest exhibits on display or old favourites. Due to the proximity of the university, this area is student friendly and you don’t need to spend a lot of money for a slice of pizza or sushi (although there are multi-million dollar homes not far away). For a healthy plant-based meal, dine at Rawlicious at Bathurst and Bloor in their cozy and intimate restaurant.

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Chinatown.

Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West is where you will find Toronto’s Chinatown. For some people it will feel like you are stepping into another city with store and street signs in Chinese characters, plus bustling crowds similar to those in Hong Kong. For others, this feels like a home away from home. East Asian shops and markets line the city streets and you will find everything from exotic fruits, bulk food, Chinese herbs and remedies to authentic trinkets and electronics. If you love dining on Asian-style food, you are in luck with so many to choose from – there are Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai restaurants. For an authentic, tasty dish, visit Buddha’s Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant at 666 Dundas Street West. They are one of Toronto’s earliest Chinese veggie restaurants and serve healthy Asian cuisine at affordable prices.

Chinatown. Photo courtesy of The City of Toronto.

Parkdale.

Parkdale is slowly changing and becoming an up-and-coming Toronto neighbhourhood with a different flair than before. The area stretches from Queen Street West between Roncesvalles and Dufferin. Of course, Parkdale has always been the place to be if you want to browse through comics at West End Comics at 1590 Queen Street West or shop for vintage treasures in one of many trendy boutiques. But these days, Parkdale has been nicknamed Vegandale by some due to the influx of vegan restaurants sprouting up. This community is bringing veganism to the masses, at least on one Vegandale block. Businesses that are free from animal products are popping up as demand for these increases. In fact, four more vegan businesses are set to launch this summer. Shop for cruelty-free products at vegan retail store The Imperative. The store is directly across the street from Doomies and Mythology Diner, which are both plant-based restaurants ‘veganizing’ comfort food classics. If you plan on visiting Mythology Diner (located at 1265 Queen Street West), arrive early especially for weekend brunch since they often have lineups stretching down the street as hungry patrons wait for Chef Doug McNish to create his famous vegan ‘egg’ benedict.

Parkdale is home to the famous Gladstone Hotel. Photo courtesy of csaila, Wikimedia Commons.

What is your favourite Toronto neighbhourhood? 

Let us know in the comments and it might be featured it in our third and final installment of this series next month.

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