Where: Gerrard Street between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenues
How to get there by transit: 506 Carlton streetcar
The Naaz Theatre’s Bollywood screenings began drawing Toronto’s South Asian community to Gerrard Street in the early 1970s. Today, the area is gentrifying with trendy businesses such as the Blue Crow Gallery and Godspeed Brewery, but Toronto’s South Asian population and tourists alike still frequent the more than 125 shops and restaurants that comprise the Bazaar.
1. BJ Supermarket
Some of the best munchies on the block can be found in the most unassuming spots. BJ Supermarket carries samosas and pakoras made fresh daily, and handmade sweets such as barfi, while Kohinoor Foods carries Indian snacking staples such as masala-flavoured chips.
2. Udupi Palace
Udupi Palace features a sprawling dining room with an all-vegetarian menu, including a wide variety of curries and dosas (a crepe-like pancake stuffed with filling).
The Lahore Tikka House, a colourfully decorated Pakistani restaurant, with a large covered patio and a rickshaw parked in the dining room, has been serving halal kababs, curries and tikka since 1996.
4. Bollywood Music Centre
Today, a hair salon stands on the site where the Naaz Theatre once drew crowds, but the neighbourhood still bonds at the Bollywood Music Centre, which carries DVDs and CDs from India.
5. Hamsa Heaven
Primarily a crystal shop, Hamsa Heaven also carries spiritually significant gifts such as incense burners, chakra stones and singing bowls.
[This story appears in the May 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]