Toronto is a hotspot for Asian culture. Here’s where to dive into the diaspora, during Asian Heritage Month and beyond.

One of the world’s most multicultural cities, Toronto has an immigrant population of nearly 47%—56% of whom are from Asia. 

With sizeable Chinese, Indian and Filipino Canadian communities, the 6ix is also home to significant numbers of Korean, Japanese and Tibetan Torontonians.

Given our numbers, the Asian influence is all over town. Here’s where to find it.

Delve into downtown Chinatown

Toronto is notable for its multiple Chinatowns, but its most iconic is downtown Chinatown, located along Spadina Avenue, between College and Dundas Streets. 

It’s one of North America’s largest and also one of its most photogenic, thanks to its vibrant storefronts, colourful vendor displays and streetcars.

Whether you’re looking for Cantonese lobster, Sichuan mapo doufu, Hakka salt-baked chicken or Taiwanese bubble tea, you’ll find it here.

Must-dos in downtown Chinatown:


Wander around East Chinatown

The east end’s up-and-coming Gerrard Street strip is home to Toronto’s other readily accessible Chinatown. 

While smaller than downtown Chinatown, this Riverdale enclave offers great walking, a strong restaurant game (particularly BBQ), lots of bakery and bubble tea options and plenty of photo ops.

A diverse neighbourhood, it’s stocked with as many Vietnamese shops and restaurants as Chinese. 

Must-dos in East Chinatown:

  • Grab a bag of red bean-filled sesame balls at Phoenix Bakery to nosh on while you snap photos of East Chinatown’s unique paifang (Chinese archway) 

  • Sit down to a meal of Cantonese-style BBQ, including epic char siu pork at Supreme Taste

Discover Little India’s street scene

Further east along Gerrard is Little India, home to chaat houses serving Indian street food, tandoor-oven restaurants and an array of shops and services geared at Toronto’s South Asian community. 

Also known as Gerrard India Bazaar, this neighbourhood is rich in Indian, Pakistani, Bengali, Nepali and Sri Lankan influences. Dynamic festivals make it a must-see, particularly during Diwali, the festival of lights. 

Must-dos in Little India:

  • Join the party at summer’s Festival of South Asia (July 20 & 21, 2024), one of North America’s largest South Asian street festivals

  • Splurge on stunning gold jewelry for your wedding or just because

  • Feast on beef ribs or lamb chops served on sizzling-hot tawa iron skillets at neighbourhood landmark Lahore Tikka House

Discover Filipino cuisine in Little Manila

Head uptown to the Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue area, and you’ll find Little Manila, home to the city’s highest concentration of Filipino homes and businesses. 

Located in multicultural North York, the neighbourhood hosts the annual Taste of Manila festival (August 16–18, 2024), the world’s biggest Filipino cultural festival outside the Philippines. Food is a big deal here for visitors and locals alike, so bring your appetite.

Must-dos in Little Manila:

  • Eat up at Kabalen Restaurant, home to a kamayan feast where you can graze on delicacies like BBQ pork skewers and grilled seafood served with rice on a bed of banana leaves 

  • Judge who serves up the more delectable fried chicken, mega-chain Jollibee or the indie Jollytops 

  • Save room for Filipino-inspired donuts at FK Dulce Bakery (while you’re there, snag a bag of seasoning so you can recreate their famous flavoured French fries at home)

Eat—and sing—your heart out in Koreatown

Conveniently situated on Bloor Street West between Christie and Bathurst subway stations, Koreatown is compact and easy to stroll. 

It’s adjacent to the University of Toronto-centric Annex neighbourhood, giving it a youthful energy, complete with trendy Asian dessert cafés, cool K beauty shops and salons, and squad-ready karaoke bars and escape rooms.

Must-dos in Koreatown:

Snack and shop in Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo is a small commercial enclave of Japanese shops and restaurants in Toronto’s original Chinatown at Dundas West and Bay Streets (which moved west to the nexus of Dundas and Spadina Avenues in the 1970s). 

While you’ll have to head uptown for the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival (June 6 – 20, 2024) and J Town’s curated food and J beauty boutiques, Little Tokyo offers a satisfying selection for ramen, matcha and Muji fans.

Must-dos in Little Tokyo:

  • Slurp down summery chilled ramen at Sansotei Ramen 

  • Feast on matcha cheesecake (and bring home a tin of ceremonial-grade matcha powder) at Tsujiri

  • Expand your summer wardrobe with Japanese minimalist staples from Muji

Explore Parkdale’s Little Tibet

Westside’s eclectic Parkdale neighbourhood hosts the largest community of Tibetan immigrants outside of Asia. 

The community is young and activist-oriented, with a thriving Students for a Free Tibet mobilization and anti-gentrification efforts. The result: a vibrant, walkable community with flourishing independent businesses with Indian, Nepalese and Chinese influences. 

Must-dos in Little Tibet: