SOHO METROPOLITAN HOTEL

TORONTO NEIGHBOURHOODS & EVENTS

 

As a world-class destination, Toronto offers countless attractions and events throughout the year. With 200 different communities and neighbourhoods, it is a true multicultural metropolis with something for everyone.

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel is the perfect home base for your business ventures and leisure adventures.

Many great destinations are minutes away from the Met, and others are easily reached by cab or public transit. Some of our favourite downtown neighbourhoods are described below. Also, see our Events section for what's happening in Toronto in the coming months. We look forward to hosting you soon.

The Annex
The Bloor Annex neighbourhood, on Bloor Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street, features hip cafes, bars, restaurants and a wide array of shops, boutiques and services. This neighbourhood is popular with students, artists and other creative people. www.bloorannexbia.com

The Beaches
An eastward ride on Queen Street East between Woodbine Avenue and Maclean Avenue takes you to the Beaches neighbourhood. Queen East is a historical main street, with charming cafes, restaurants, pubs and bakeries as well small boutiques selling stylish clothing, accessories, fine art, handicrafts and gourmet food. A short walk to the lakeshore reveals scenic parks, sandy beaches, a boardwalk and a beach volleyball area. Special events include the Beach Studio Tour in May and October, the Waterfront Blues Festival in June and the Beaches International Jazz Festival in July. www.beachbia.com

Bloor West Village
Bloor West Village is located on Bloor Street West, west of High Park between Glendonwynne Road and South Kingsway. The neighbourhood boasts a wide variety of boutiques, restaurants, shops and cafes, as well as authentic Polish and Ukrainian delis and bakeries. A visit to the laid-back area is a great accompaniment to a trip to High Park. Bloor West Villages occasionally holds special events, such as outdoor festivals and annual sidewalk sales. www.bloorwestvillage.ca

Bloor-Yorkville
Bloor-Yorkville is a famous neighbourhood known for fashion, cuisine and culture. Often known as the Fashion Mile, the area spans Bloor Street from Yonge Street to Avenue Road, and includes the Yorkville neighbourhood. The area features upscale boutiques and larger high-end retailers including: Holt Renfrew, Stollery's, Harry Rosen and William Ashley China; as well as worldwide sought-after designer brands such as Prada, Hermes, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Crabtree & Evelyn, Williams-Sonoma and many more. Bloor-Yorkville also has many fine dining establishments, and every May, the area hosts the Sante Toronto International Wine Festival, which features tasty, educational and entertaining wine, cuisine and music events.

The Bloor-Yorkville area is also a centre of learning and culture, with museums, concert halls and more. Bloor Street is home to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Walter Hall, Theatre Museum Canada, the Bata Shoe Museum, the outdoor Canopy Theatre, and the Toronto International Film Festival box office, information centre and gift shop which is open year-round. Hart House Theatre is also not far away just a few blocks south of Bloor on the University of Toronto campus. www.bloor-yorkville.com

Cabbagetown and Riverdale
Toronto's Old Cabbagetown, centered around Parliament Street between Wellesley and Gerrard Street East, features Victorian architecture, fine restaurants and pubs; as well as the Danny Grossman Dance Company, the Toronto Dance Theatre and the Canadian Children's Dance Theatre. The Necropolis Cemetery on Winchester Street is the final resting place of notable Canadians such as William Lyon Mackenzie, leader of the 1837 Rebellion. The nearby Riverdale Park and Farm allows visitors to experience what it was like on a farm at the turn of the century. From May through October, the Riverdale Farm Farmer's Market operates on Tuesday afternoons. September brings several annual events to Cabbagetown, including a street festival, a short film festival, a tour of 19th century homes, and special wine tastings and menus and at area dining establishments. www.oldcabbagetown.com

Chinatown
Toronto's main Chinatown is on Spadina Avenue between Queen Street West and College Street and on Dundas Street West between Augusta Avenue and Beverley Street. The bustling neighbourhood features a wide range of restaurants serving authentic Chinese, Vietnamese and other types of Asian cuisine. The area also features many Chinese food markets and bakeries, as well as shops selling clothing, teas, spices, herbs, music, movies, handicrafts and other tempting items. The neighbourhood hosts traditional Chinese New Year's celebrations and the annual Chinatown Festival (usually in August), both which feature dance, music and other celebrations of Chinese culture. Just to the east, at Dundas and Beverley Streets is the Art Gallery of Ontario (which is closed until autumn 2008). www.chinatownbia.com

Chinatown East
Another Chinatown is located on Gerrard Street East, spanning from Broadview Avenue to Logan Avenue. This smaller Chinatown features authentic Chinese restaurants; specialized food, spice and teashops; as well as several grocers offering fresh produce and other goods.

Church Wellesley Village
Also known as the 'Gay Village' or simply 'The Village', this colourful and vibrant neighbourhood centred on Church and Wellesley Streets is the home of Canada's largest gay community. It features restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, boutiques and more. It is the central location for the annual Pride Week celebrations in June and Halloweek in October. www.churchwellesleyvillage.ca

Corso Italia and St. Clair West
One of Toronto's predominantly Italian neighbourhoods, Corso Italia, is on St. Clair Avenue West between Westmount Avenue and Lansdowne Avenue. The area features Italian restaurants, cafes and gelato shops; as well as various boutiques and shops. Italian is commonly spoken in stores and on the street. In addition to its strong Italian cultural presence, this neighbourhood also features many Latin American and Portuguese restaurants and businesses. Every July, the Corso Italia Toronto Fiesta street festival features musicians, street performers, food vendors, special sidewalk sales and more. The neighbourhood especially comes to life during World Cup and European Cup soccer games. St. Clair West is also the home of the annual Salsa on St. Clair street festival in July, and the Artwalk festival and studio tour in September. www.torontocorsoitalia.com, www.hillcrestvillage-bia.com & www.wychwoodheights-bia.com

Distillery District A short distance east from Toronto's central downtown area is the trendy and artsy Distillery District, bordered by Parliament Street, Mill Street, Cherry Street and the Gardiner Expressway. The pedestrian-only village is a refurbished former whiskey distillery from the Victorian era, now featuring restaurants, bars, cafes, art galleries, theatres, a craft brewery and retailers selling art, antiques, jewellery and other items. Throughout the year, the district hosts many outdoor and indoor festivals and special events. www.thedistillerydistrict.com

Downtown Yonge
The Yonge Street Strip spanning almost two miles from Front Street to Bloor Street boasts all sorts of shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities. Large shopping centres include: Eaton Centre, Hudson Bay Company (also known as The Bay), The Atrium on Bay, and College Park. Throughout the famous stretch are hundreds of stores offering clothing, footwear, accessories, jewellery, gadgets, music, movies, toys, collectables and pretty much anything you can think of.

The vibrant area also features several theatres and concert halls, including: Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, Canon Theatre, (formerly Pantages Theatre) Massey Hall, Panasonic Theatre (formerly the New Yorker Theatre), Mysteriously Yours Mystery Dinner Theatre, and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Located on Front Street, at the south end of Yonge, are the Sony Centre (formerly Hummingbird Centre), The Hockey Hall of Fame and Union Station a train, bus and subway station. In July, the annual Toronto Just For Laughs festival appears at Massey Hall, with free outdoor performances at Dundas Square.

Yonge-Dundas Square (also known as Dundas Square) is a public gathering place at the southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets. The square hosts many free concerts, film screenings, festivals and other cultural events throughout the year. There's often a buzz of activity, especially during the warm weather. On weekends and holidays, the artisan market features an eclectic mix of vendors selling unique and exotic handicrafts, artwork, clothing and accessories. The square also includes picturesque fountains, areas to sit and relax, and free wi-fi Internet access. www.downtownyonge.com & www.ydsquare.ca

Entertainment District
Toronto's entertainment district is on King Street West, Front Street and other nearby downtown streets. It's chock-full of theatres, sports venues, restaurants, nightclubs and other attractions for people of all ages and tastes. Within walking distance are: Princess of Wales Theatre, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Roy Thompson Hall (hosts the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and other well- established performers), the Canada Walk of Fame (where famous Canadians have commemorative plaques on the sidewalk), Second City Theatre, Factory Theatre, Diesel Playhouse, Laugh Resort, Yuk Yuk's, Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Museum (which documents decades of Canadian radio and TV broadcasting), Metro Convention Centre, Rogers Centre formerly known as Skydome (the home of Major League Baseball, CFL football, large concerts and other events), Air Canada Centre (with NHL hockey, NBA basketball and big-name concerts) and the CN Tower. www.thedistrict.ca

Exhibition Place, Ontario Place & Fort York
Exhibition Place is a 192-acre urban park and exhibition grounds bordered by The Gardiner Expressway, Strachan Avenue, Lakeshore Boulevard West and Dufferin Street. Developed for the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) held annually at the end of August it hosts many events throughout the year, including conventions and trade shows. Large annual events include the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair in November, the CHIN Picnic (free weekend festival) in the summer, and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (also known as Caribana) in July. Exhibition Place is great spot to watch the annual Festival of Fire (fireworks festival) in June/July and the Canadian International Air Show in early September. Exhibition Place includes Ricoh Coliseum (AHL hockey and big- name concerts), BMO Field (Major League Soccer and international soccer matches) and Medieval Times dinner and jousting tournament. South of Exhibition Place is Ontario Place, an amusement park built on man- made islands. It includes thrill rides, a water park, IMAX Theatre, pedal boats, beach volleyball and the outdoor concert venue Molson Amphitheatre which hosts many chart-topping performers during the warm seasons. Ontario Place is the best place to view the annual Festival of Fire (fireworks festival) in June/July and the Canadian International Air Show in early September. It's also the site of the annual Chinese Lantern Festival in September. A short walk east of Exhibition Place is Fort York at 100 Garrison Road a restored and preserved former military base. Established in 1793, and playing a major role in Toronto's history, it was opened as a heritage site museum in 1939. In addition to tours, battle re-enactments and other historical activities, Fort York is also the venue for cultural, historical and other types of events throughout most of the year, including the annual Toronto Festival of Beer in August. www.explace.on.ca, www.ontarioplace.com & www.fortyork.ca

Financial District
Not far from the Entertainment District is Toronto's financial district, which is based on Bay Street and adjoining streets. This is the economic centre of Toronto, with many national and international corporate headquarters, as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange and Design Exchange, a museum and education centre showcasing innovations in Canadian design. The Textile Museum of Canada is just to the west of the area, on Centre Street near the intersection of University Avenue and Dundas Street West.

Greektown
Bloor Street East turns into Danforth Avenue just east of the DVP, where Greektown sits between Broadview and Jones Avenues. Known as North America's biggest Greek neighbourhood, Danforth Avenue boasts all types of Greek food establishments, ranging from fine dining to quick takeout. The area also features a great selection of bakeries, grocers, boutiques and other types of retailers. The Taste of the Danforth street festival is in August, featuring food vendors, musicians, dancers and other activities. Two other summer events are the Sounds of the Danforth festival and a special sidewalk sale. www.greektowntoronto.com & www.thedanforth.ca

Harbourfront Centre and Queens' Quay Terminal
Queen's Quay Terminal and Harbourfront Centre, at Toronto's downtown lakefront, are centres of artistic creativity. The area features several art galleries and performing arts theatres, including Premiere Dance Theatre. Queen's Quay Terminal also includes restaurants, cafes and fine boutiques with jewellery, home accessories, fashionable clothes, toys and other special items. During the warm months, the area hosts various types of outdoor festivals and concerts, as well as vendors selling exotic and eclectic handicrafts, art and collectibles. In the winter, Harbourfront Centre has outdoor skating, with DJs providing the soundtrack. Scenic parks, boardwalks and paved paths also span much of Toronto's lakeshore. Next to Queen's Quay Terminal and east along the harbour are the starting points for many boat and bus tours, as well as cruise boats that can be chartered for social or corporate events. www.queensquayharbourfront.com

High Park
West of the downtown area on Bloor Street is the north entrance of High Park. The almost 400-acre wilderness park is bordered by Bloor Street West, Parkside Drive, The Queensway (which is connected to Queen Street West) and Ellis Avenue/Ellis Park Road. The park features rare trees and plants, creeks, ponds, wildlife in their home settings, paths, trails, landscaped gardens, outdoor sculptures, historical buildings, a playground, a mini zoo, sports fields and an outdoor skating rink. It's a great place for jogging, dog walking, cycling, bird/animal watching or having a picnic. In the summer, The Canadian Stage Company presents outdoor theatre productions under the banner Dream in High Park. www.toronto.ca/parks/highpark.htm

Little India
Gerrard Street East, between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenues, is commonly known as Little India or Gerrard India Bazaar. However, the area also offers up cultural treasures from other South Asian countries such as Dubai, Pakistan and Singapore. You can find a wide array of South Asian restaurants, and takeaways, as well as shops selling South Asian clothing, music, movies, jewellery, handicrafts, food and other products. www.gerrardindiabazaar.com

Little Italy
Toronto's main Little Italy is on College Street West, between Bathurst Street and Ossington Avenue. It has an abundance of Italian restaurants, cafes and gelato shops; as well as various types of boutiques and stores. Little Italy is particularly known for its dynamic nightlife, with an array of chic nightclubs, lounges and bars. The annual Taste of Little Italy street festival is normally held in June, and the Little Italy Fiera festival is in September. littleitaly.sites.toronto.com

Little Poland
If you travel Queen Street West all the way to Roncesvalles Avenue, you'll find yourself at the south end of Little Poland, which spans north to Dundas Street West (just south of where it intersects with Bloor Street West). Roncesvalles is full of traditional Polish delis, restaurants and bars as well as small independent shops, grocers and boutiques. It is also the home of Revue Cinema, one of Canada's oldest film theatres. In September, the neighbourhood hosts the Roncesvalles Polish Festival The street also runs parallel to High Park, and is a just a short walk away. (See High Park description on this page). www.roncesvallesvillage.ca

Kensington Market
Bordered by Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street West, Bathurst Street and College Street is the colourful and eclectic Kensington Market. Founded in the early twentieth century by Jewish and Italian immigrants, the neighbourhood has evolved into a multi-ethnic shopping district that appeals to foodies, fashionistas and artsy people of all ages and backgrounds. The small streets are packed with produce markets, butchers, bakeries, cheese shops, seafood merchants, as well as several cosy restaurants, bars and cafes. The next most visible presence in the neighbourhood is the many stores selling high-quality vintage clothing and accessories, as well a few offering hip and unique handmade creations. Additional shops sell music, houseware, handicrafts and other eye-catching gifts. In the summer, the neighbourhood hosts Pedestrian Sundays, with musicians, street performers and interactive events. www.kensington-market.ca

Queen Street West & West Queen West
A few blocks west of Yonge Street, is the Queen Street West strip. On the eastern edge of the strip, at University Avenue, is the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, which is the home of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. About a block west from there is a popular stretch of hip and trendy purveyors of clothing, footwear, music and other types of products. The CHUM-City/MuchMusic headquarters at Queen and John Streets often hosts outdoor performances by today's most popular music artists. Further west on Queen, and a few steps north on Ryerson Avenue is Theatre Passe Muraille, which showcases Canadian plays. Toronto's Gallery District starts a few blocks west of Queen and Bathurst Streets, near Trinity Bellwoods Park. Spanning westward to Dufferin Street and beyond, the strip features art galleries of various sizes and styles. Notable galleries include: the Stephen Bulger Gallery, Engine Gallery, Queen Street Qreative, Queen Street Gallery, Queen Street Studios Gallery, Edward Day Gallery, Omy Gallery, Loop, Zsa Zsa, Angell Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and many more. The district also includes the art and culture event venues Drake Hotel, Gladstone Hotel and Camera Bar. The Queen Street Arts Crawl runs in September. About a block east of the Queen West strip is Nathan Phillip's Square, a public gathering place in front of Toronto's City Hall, on the northeast corner of Queen Street West and Bay Street. Throughout the year, the square hosts many free concerts, festivals and other cultural events that suited for people of all ages. In the winter, a free outdoor skating rink helps you experience traditional winter fun during the day or in the evening. If you don't have your own skates with you, they can be rented for a reasonable fee. In the summer, the arch-covered rink is transformed into a reflecting pool. www.westqueenwest.ca & www.toronto.ca/city_hall_tour/nps.htm

St. Lawrence Market
A few blocks east of the southern end of Yonge Street is the famous St. Lawrence Market, which features many appealing sights, sounds and tastes. A wide variety of food items are for sale including: fresh meats, eggs, produce, seafood, cheeses, baked goods, jams, jellies, coffees, teas and wine. Non- food/beverage items include flowers, plants, antiques, handicrafts, jewellery, clothing accessories, artwork and other collectibles and practical products. The St. Lawrence Market complex also includes: restaurants, cafes, takeaway food vendors, and The Market Gallery, with Toronto art and history exhibits. The surrounding neighbourhood hosts two annual street festivals: Taste of St. Lawrence in July and Buskerfest in August. The area also features the St. Lawrence Centre for The Performing Arts, the Toronto Operetta Theatre and other nearby theatres and galleries. www.stlawrencemarket.com & www.stlawrencemarketbia.ca

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