Follow Giulia's tips: GiuliaFalsetti
I’ve lived in Toronto most of my life and while I’ve travelled to over 20 countries, I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I love my city.
Toronto is a city of immigrants. My own parents emigrated here over 45 years ago from Southern Italy. Like many others, they left their country due to extreme poverty and hardship. My dad tells me when Italians or Greeks came to Toronto with nowhere to go, they would hop in a cab at the airport, tell the driver their country of origin, and the cabbie would drop them off in Little Italy or Greektown. From there, a new life began with people from the old country who helped them get started. Eventually, a job was obtained and more family members came over.
According to the City of Toronto website, Toronto is home to virtually all of the world's cultures and a city where more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken. The city has several radio stations that broadcast in various languages as well as two multicultural TV channels. The Toronto Transit Commission (public transit) has a helpline that deals in 70 languages and the city’s 911 emergency services are equipped to respond in over 150 languages.
My friends represent many of these cultures, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Koreatown, Greektown, Little Italy, Portugal Village, and Little India. Like many Torontonians, I love trying the local food, and especially enjoy catching the various festivals that take place throughout the year. I cannot think of any other city that offers so much multiculturalism in such a small area.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city, with a population of over 2.5 million, making it the fifth most populous city in North America. Even so, the city has a diverse array of public spaces, including green space, ranging from city squares to public parks.
In the summer, I enjoy getting away from the office and spending my lunch hour reading a book at Nathan Phillips Square, the city’s main square in downtown Toronto, which forms the entrance to City Hall. In winter, the fountain converts to an ice rink.
As a child, my mum and dad would take my sister and me to Edwards Gardens regularly, a park which sits next to the Toronto Botanical Gardens. The former estate garden is filled with perennials, roses, wildflowers and trees. The park is located near a ravine, which is connected to hiking and cycling trails. It is a favourite venue for wedding parties taking photographs and I remember admiring the Indian brides, decked in gold and beautiful red saris, who were so different from the brides in white that I was familiar with.
I recall sitting on the manicured lawns having a picnic with my parents, embarrassed to be eating “our” food in public: buns stuffed with slices of baked veal, tomato sauce and cheese, eggplants in olive oil, my dad biting into a garden-grown tomato and hunks of cheese, washing it all down with a bottle of home-made wine. People would gawk at us, pointing at our food. There was a restaurant that sold hamburgers in the Gardens, but we were not allowed to eat there.
Toronto is a mecca for foodies. There are plenty of restaurants, cafés, food markets, even street food. There are farmer’s markets, food festivals, beer festivals, and everything in between. I try to attend as many as possible and I am always searching for places that offer a great cup of coffee, the best kebabs, the best smoked meat, the best high tea, the best brunch, the list goes on and on.
I’ve brunched with friends and acquaintances almost every weekend over the past two years, and we’ve brunched at over 50 different restaurants, ranging from local neighbourhood venues to ethnic eateries and pubs.
I especially love Toronto in the summertime - I never leave town in the summer - and I plan on sharing some of my favourite things to do in this awesome city: eating, relaxing, catching a performance, visiting a gallery or a festival.
* You can follow Giulia's tips as she puts them on the site. Her username is: GiuliaFalsetti
She also has her own independent foodie blog at: http://figsandgorgonzola.wordpress.com/ Go back to locals index