Where: Dundas Street and Spadina Avenue
How to get there by transit: 510 Spadina or 505 Dundas
In the 1880s, during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, thousands of Chinese workers migrated to Canada and eventually settled in Toronto. Two-thirds of the city’s original Chinatown was demolished by the late 1950s to prepare for the construction of Toronto’s new City Hall and public square. But the community put down deep roots a few blocks west in its current location around Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street, successfully fighting against any further redevelopment.
1. Mother’s Dumplings and Dumpling House Restaurant
Within walking distance are two popular dim sum destinations: Mother’s Dumplings and Dumpling House Restaurant. The only way to truly declare your allegiance is to sample them both.
For Canadian-Chinese fusion head to R&D restaurant from chefs Alvin Leung and Eric Chong. This hot spot serves inventive dishes such as a Thai-chili take on chicken and waffles and the self-proclaimed “best duck in the city.”
3. 8090 KTV
8090 KTV is a private karaoke bar (individual rooms range in size) with a Drake aesthetic—think dangling chandeliers and gold damask wallpaper.
Some say CutiePie Cupcakes & Co. beat Starbucks to the garishly gorgeous Unicorn Latte trend with its similar “LattePie” drink, a cotton candy-spiked latte served hot or cold with a side of whoopie pie.
The (literally) underground shop, AnimeXtreme, carries Toronto’s largest selection of anime, including hundreds of Gundam build-your-own-robot kits.
[This story appears in the May 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]