Little Italy is one of Toronto’s trendiest spots for dining, shopping and bars. While its not as predominantly Italian and Portuguese as it was in previous decades, it still holds a traditional, Mediterranean vibe. If you want some of Toronto’s best espresso and gelato, look no further than Little Italy.
Little Italy saw thousands of immigrants come and live on its streets in the early 1910’s. Almost 40,000 Italians immigrated to Canada during the interwar period of 1914 to 1918. It thrived as an immigrant community and many of its trattorias and businesses remain to this day. One of Toronto’s prominent radio figures, Johnny Lombardi, went on to found one of the first Canadian multilingual radio station, CHIN, in 1966 in Little Italy.
Though over the decades the population of Italian immigrants has fluctuated with many immigrants moving north and out to the suburbs, Little Italy still retains many of its businesses and character of its Italian heritage in its many trattorias, gelato spots and traditional espresso bars.
Types of Homes You’ll Find
Little Italy boasts many detached and semi-detached single-family homes along many of its narrow streets and laneways. Many of the houses are a mix of Edwardian and Victorian architecture with a wide range of styles from cottages to small mansions. Mid-rise condominiums are also on the rise in Little Italy. In short, there’s something for everyone here whether you are a student or young professional, a young family or the wealthy upper class looking for luxury living.
Real estate demographics
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Little Italy has a vibrant mix of ages. It is popular with younger crowds who enjoy the nightlife and proximity to downtown as well as senior citizens who have lived there since they immigrated to Canada. You’ll see everyone from young professionals to families in the many trattorias. With a mix of traditional Italian and Portuguese residents alongside the new generation of hipsters and young families, it’s a place anyone can find their home.
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Parks & Green Spaces
Little Italy has a few parks and green spaces in its area. If you’re looking for a full recreational experience, Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre has plenty of facilities and amenities for you to enjoy. Bickford Park is home to plenty of bowling greens and diamonds as well as a leash-free dog area. Healey Willan Park is a small area with a playground and a wading pool. Finally, Art Eggleton Park has a ball diamond, sports field and playground with a wading pool for a great family experience.
Clinton Street Junior Public School
É Élém Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau
Dewson Street Junior Public School
Montrose Junior Public School
ÉÉC du Sacré-Coeur-Toronto
King Edward Junior and Senior Public School
St Bruno - St. Raymond Catholic School
Pope Francis Catholic School
St Francis of Assisi Catholic School
Bloor Collegiate Institute
Central Toronto Academy
ÉS Toronto Ouest
Harbord Collegiate Institute
Delta Alternative Senior School
Horizon Alternative Senior School
West End Alternative School
Getting In and Around
Little Italy has plenty of transit options to choose from and its close proximity to the downtown core means commutes are pretty great for Toronto. Little Italy also has rocket options on College, Bathurst and Dundas. There are plenty of bus options and the 506 streetcar will take you straight to the downtown core. Drivers have the option to get to Gardiner Lakeshore quickly and easily.
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Things to Do
Little Italy has plenty of things to do for people of all ages and backgrounds. When the sun is out, it’s a fantastic time to stroll down the streets enjoying the cafes, bistros, trattorias and restaurants.
Mod Club Theatre
A popular live music spot with many bands, DJ sets and dance parties held here. It’s in the heart of Little Italy and hosts a range of music genres from rock to electronic to hip hop and pop. It’s an iconic staple of the Toronto live music scene.
An atmospheric used book store with a wide selection of novels and books. From cookbooks to romance fiction to DVDs and movies, Balfour attracts all kinds of visitors. Open every day from 11 am to 8 pm, it’s a lovely spot to peruse and browse the shelves.
Open early until late, Bar Raval has an ever-changing menu of Spanish Tapas in a casual setting. A project of Grant van Gameren who also owns Tennesse Tavern, El Rey and Pretty Ugly across Toronto, Bar Raval has more standing room than sitting with a heated, covered patio area. Serving house-baked goods both savoury and sweet, Spanish-inspired tapas and a large menu of cocktails and drinks, it’s a perfect spot to meet with friends for drinks and socialisation.
This spot is nestled in the heart of Little Italy with a beautiful atmosphere and rooftop patio. It has some great classic Italian dishes and pizza and is a perfect place to enjoy food and wine with some friends.
A hub for coffee lovers, this prime spot serves up delicious Italian food and drinks with a beautiful alfresco dining setting. It is often a setting used by filmmakers and it gets busy especially on the weekends.