Little Italy - Trendy Yet rich in Italian roots

Centered on College Street in Toronto, Canada, Little Italy is a diverse neighborhood with rich Italian roots. This historic district is best known for its delicious food and small shops with urban flair.


Little Italy in Toronto
Explore the rich history, food and entertainment of Little Italy
Toronto was a major hub for Italian immigration in the early 1900s. Centrally located in the city, the Ward was a temporary settling point for most of the arrivals from Italy. The growing community gradually spread westward into commercial areas that were designated for working-class residents. College Street became the focal point of the vibrant Italian enclave just west of Old Toronto. The 1950s marked another major immigration wave from Italy to the well-established district. By the end of the 1960s, many second-generation families in Little Italy relocated to other areas in the city, such as Corso Italia. Immigrants from Portugal, China and Latin America moved into the neighborhood that was slowly losing its long-time Italian residents.

Attractions and Points of Interest

Occupying several blocks on College Street, the Italian Walk of Fame in Little Italy celebrates prominent Canadians with Italian heritage. From hockey players and politicians to actors and financiers, the stars on the sidewalk display the names of accomplished individuals from diverse fields. A bronze statue of Johnny Lombardi is another notable landmark that's located near the IWOF. This installation honors the legendary radio broadcaster who launched the CHIN station in multiple languages in 1966. Lombardi played a major role in developing multilingual radio channels in Toronto and other metropolitan areas of Canada. Click to book your Toronto City Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. Little Italy in Toronto is also home to several historic places of worship that have accommodated local denominations for generations. Having an Anglo-Catholic designation, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene was established in the early 20th century. Prominent composer Healey Willan led the church's choir and other music programs for several decades. Having a Presbyterian denomination, the College Street United Church is another prominent religious facility in the neighborhood. The building has a Gothic Revival facade that surely stands out in an area that's mostly lined with commercial properties.

Dining and Entertainment

Cafe Diplomatico in Little Italy
Cafe Diplomatico Restaurant & Pizzeria on College Street
Many visitors relish the authentic cuisine that's served by restaurants and cafes in Little Italy, Toronto. From pizza and pasta to gelato and Tiramisu, the charming dining establishments in this district serve Italian classics. There's also an abundance of other international dishes on College Street, ranging from Vietnamese and Chinese to Mexican and Caribbean. The Taste of Little Italy is a food festival that offers the community's rich culinary treats to the public. Having an intimate setting for live music performances, the Mob Club is one of the neighborhood's hottest entertainment venues. Burlesque shows and concerts are some of the events that regularly entertain spectators at this trendy nightclub.

Visting Little Italy

Accommodating vehicles going eastbound and westbound, College Street cuts through the center of Little Italy, Toronto. You may use several streetcars to navigate this commercialized road. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) manages the 306 and 506 routes that stop at major intersections in this historic neighborhood. For example, both lines stop at the corner of Grace Street and College Street. Night service is provided by the 306 streetcars, but the 506 streetcar doesn't operate after midnight. Several TTC subway stations are situated just a few blocks north of this ethnic community. The Christie and Ossington underground stations are situated along the Bloor-Danforth Line 2. There's abundant parallel parking available on College Street and dozens of other side streets that are lined with dense residential properties. However, most of the relatively narrow roads that carry northbound or southbound traffic have one-way configurations. By: Denise Marie
Published On: 2019-07-18
Updated On: 2019-07-18

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