With files from Caleigh Alleyne and Ryan Hinkson
Scoop up cool finds and hot eats at Toronto’s most exciting Black-owned shops and restaurants.
Toronto is a multicultural city where you can find Black-owned Canadian businesses ranging in origin across the African, Caribbean and Afro-Latino diaspora.
From a Black-owned boutique hotel to a market that exclusively features Black-owned businesses, the city is home to some of the most innovative shops and restaurants.
Travel journalist Caleigh Alleyne and Toronto food influencer Ryan Hinkson round up the best Black-owned businesses across the city to visit, not just during Black History Month but all year round.
Caleigh’s top 5 picks
Each of the eight rooms at this boutique hotel has a unique colour scheme, art and vibe, letting you stay in Little Portugal’s eclectic Dundas West Strip in a space that feels like your stylish friend's downtown loft.
Ode Toronto has bespoke furnishings created by Toronto-based businesses, even fitting a kitchenette into the functionally-designed rooms.
A Different Booklist
Pick up a book from one of the many diverse authors carried at the Annex neighbourhood’s A Different Booklist. They curate their books by origin, geographical regions and on topics like race or gender studies. They even have a collection of books for all ages written by local authors.
The store also doubles as a culture centre, hosting experiences and events for people of African and Caribbean ancestry.
Located in the Eastside’s vibrant Danforth Avenue, Mary's Brigadeiro creates handcrafted Brazilian chocolates in small batches.
Each chocolate has toppings like coconut, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg or fruit fillings that complement the delicately sweet and smooth truffles, making them the perfect sweet treat to bring home to share with friends.
Designed by Catherine Addai, Kaela Kay's bold and colourful prints draw inspiration from her Ghanaian heritage to use Ankara textiles in modern silhouettes for contemporary cocktail and evening wear that is feminine and timeless.
Her ability to marry high fashion with her African heritage has resulted in a growing fan base, with A-list clients wearing her designs frequently on local television. Visit her flagship store to shop and explore uptown North York’s local dining scene.
Roasting rich and aromatic single-origin Ethiopian coffee in-house, Mofer Coffee has four locations across Toronto.
The cafés have an extensive coffee and tea menu, but if it’s your first time trying their brews, you’ll want to try their steep and filter method coffee, which involves pouring the coffee through an organic cotton filter to intensify the flavour.
Ryan’s top 5 picks
The Heartbreak Chef
With menu items boasting names like the Big Ass Chicken Sandwich, the Dutty Chicken and Big Jerk Energy, Kensington Market-adjacent Heartbreak Chef is not your ordinary restaurant.
Try ordering the Chicken & Waffled Mac & Cheese off the secret menu. If you look up “perfection” in the dictionary, you will definitely see a picture of it!
By indulging in some Afrobeat Kitchen grub, you'll satisfy your cravings for West African flavours. For those new to West African cuisine, start off with some famous favourites like jollof rice.
But make sure to check out this Parkdale restaurant’s spins on classics like Miso Mafe Stew or gems like Sticky Suya Hot Wings, too.
Sweet N’ Nice
Created in the 1940s on the beautiful island of Trinidad, the family recipe at Neale's Sweet N' Nice Ice Cream has been feeding ice cream lovers for years, magically transporting Canadians to the West Indies from the comfort of their homes (or hotels).
Island vibes are guaranteed with tropical flavours like Banana Chocolate, Rum and Raisin and Mango. But this ice cream isn’t available by the scoop, so pick it up at select supermarkets, then grab a couple of spoons and dig in!
Do you remember when restaurant ball pits were a thing? They were a source of unabashed fun… but also a source of grimy germs.
Balu Organics ball pits and kids’ toys are remarkably stylish and comfy conversation pieces in keeping with today’s sleek condos and urban homes. Now the kids of today can also know the joy of the all-mighty ball pit—safely.
Shop online for a Toronto souvenir delivered to your doorstep.
Black Owned TO
Toronto’s number one destination for Black-owned products, this Scarborough Town Centre shop is home to a whole host of goods, including skin and haircare, art, books, clothing and so much more.
Black Owned TO has also been home to some wildly successful pop-ups and features products created by local business owners in the Greater Toronto Area and across Canada.