Toronto: queen of the melting pot
Tour the world in miniature in the capital of Ontario, the most vibrant and multicultural of North American cities.
As the largest city in Canada, the seventh strongest global stock market, and the location of most of the head offices of Canadian companies, Toronto is staggering. British actor Peter Ustinov, who was not lacking in wit, said of Toronto that it is 'a kind of New York run by the Swiss'. But today, he would no longer recognise the austere little city of the 1960s that huddled on the Northwest shore of Lake Ontario. An uneventful life in the banking, financial, and commercial heart of Canada is no longer possible! Better still, in many areas, the 'Queen City' (or 'Hog town' or 'The Big Smoke') as it is sometimes called in Canada, is a global reference: its film festival is the equal without juried awards of those of Cannes and Venice; the entertainment district welcomes, like Broadway, the biggest musicals, and the Caribana Festival is one of the liveliest summer street parties in North America.
Toronto, with a great many institutions of higher education, is a symbol of the intellectual and cultural life of English-speaking Canada. It also has a fine range of galleries and museums, designer boutiques on Queen Street West the 'alternative' street and one of the world's most vibrant cultural mosaics. Therein lies the secret of Toronto. It is thanks to multiculturalism (more than 100 nationalities and ethnic groups co-exist here) that this hub of trade has gradually become a bustling metropolis. In the north and west of the metropolis, you find the fashionable districts of Yorkville, Rosedale, and Little Italy, and in the east, it is Cabbage town, a residential area with Victorian homes. Kensington Market, between Dundas and Oxford Streets, reflects the cosmopolitan side of the city: this busy market is full of food products, shops and objects, combining Jewish, Portuguese, and Caribbean influences.
Strolling the streets of the various neighbourhoods is like taking a tour of the world in miniature. You can sample some WenShou in Chinatown, order an Americano in Little Italy, have a Greek dinner in a neighbourhood that evokes that of the Plaka in Athens, and end your evening dancing in a Latin club. How better to taste the magic of Toronto!
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© Text and photography courtesy of EnVols