Background and HistoryLittle India of Toronto developed its distinct character in the early 1970s. In an effort to entertain the city's growing Indian community, a local entrepreneur introduced popular Bollywood movies at the Eastwood Theatre, which had a prominent location on the busy Gerrard Street. In its early years, this independent theatre only featured films from India and Pakistan. This small venue gradually attracted an influx of other businesses that catered to the local South Asian community. By the end of the 1970s, Little India was one of the most significant ethnic enclaves of its kind in Toronto and all of Canada. However, the city officially adopted the Little India term during the 1980s. At the time, the bustling district already had well more than 100 successful businesses in a wide range of niches. A business improvement district was created for the neighborhood in early 1980s. Since then, Little India has been one of the most visited South Asian marketplaces in North America. Today, the original Eastwood Theatre is a private mixed-used property that stands as an important historic landmark in the heart of the neighborhood. Click to book your Toronto tour.
Retail and Food HighlightsThe Gerrard India Bazaar is home to dozens of restaurants, cafes and other establishments that serve the finest South Asian cuisine in the Greater Toronto Area. From naan bread and biryani rice bowls to tandoori chicken and vada pav sandwiches, the district offers a variety of traditional treats. Shoppers will also find large selections of spices, curries, herbs and other conventional Indian ingredients at the local grocery stores and supermarkets. Little India specializes in a wide range of regional dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other neighboring countries. You may also satisfy your cravings for Vietnamese, Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. The Gerrard India Bazaar offers a great selection of traditional fashion items, such as Jodhpuri suits, Kurtas, turbans and wedding saris. Most of the apparel and accessories serve religious purposes for the diverse South Asian community. For example, some of the vendors in Little India specialize in classic Islamic attire for men and women. Shoppers will also find an extensive selection of premium jewelry imported from the Middle East and South Asia. From gold bars and nose pins to Dubai-style bangles and Calcutta-style sets, the local jewelers offer exclusive pieces that you won't find at department stores and other chain retailers. Of course, the Gerrard India Bazaar is the best place in Toronto to buy the latest Bollywood multimedia and memorabilia.
Visiting Gerrard India BazaarThe Gerrard India Bazaar is easily accessible by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcars. Running eastbound and westbound, the 306 and 506 lines can drop you off near this ethnic shopping center on Gerrard Street. Outdoor stations are available at the intersection of this commercial thoroughfare and several other streets, including Greenwood Avenue and Coxwell Avenue. Both streetcar routes link the ethnic district with downtown Toronto. Parking on this busy stretch of Little India is limited, so it's highly recommended that you ride the streetcars. However, you may find some parallel parking spots on the adjacent side streets, like Highfield Road and Rhodes Avenue. Click here to visit Gerrard India Bazaar facebook page.
By: Denise Marie
Published On: 2019-09-23
Updated On: 2019-09-23
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