It is already known that Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. But did you know that 50,000 residents are Korean-born or have Korean heritage?
The Korean community is so large in Toronto that it boasts its very own Koreatown. You’ll find it along Bloor Street between Christie and Bathurst Streets in Seaton Village (it’s clearly signposted so you can’t miss it). It’s a must-visit while in the city, whether you’re well-versed in Korean culture or don’t know your K-Pop from your bibimbap. Here are all the top spots to get you started.
Dano is a traditional Korean festival that falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Korean calendar. It is traditionally a day of worshipping the sky deity in celebration of the end of the sowing season. Every year Korean-Canadians congregate in Christie Pits Park and celebrate Korean culture, dance, music and food.
Food and Drink
If you have a sweet tooth you need to stop by Hodo Kwaja, a Korean bakery. The star of the menu is the Walnut Cake: a walnut-shaped sweet with waffle-like consistency and traditional red bean paste filling. Customers can also watch the confectionary being made.
Korean Village Restaurant
This mainstay has been serving some of the best food in Koreatown since 1978. The menu is incredibly generous with recognisable dishes like sushi through to lesser-known Asian foods like Pal Bo Chae. You can also order BBQ food that you cook yourself at your table. Also, take your time to wander through the restaurant perusing the decorations – especially the Wall of Fame where they showcase the famous faces who have stopped by for dinner.
P.A.T. Central Supermarket
This Korean supermarket opened in 1972 and is still the best place to pick up traditional Korean groceries. If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation and fancy a night in cooking, we recommend digging through the isles to see what you can find.
Put a Cone on It
If you’re visiting in the summer and fancy some ice-cream, we recommend this little place. Here you’ll find unique and forward-thinking ice-cream flavours like Pumpkin Pie, Black Sesame, Red Bean, Guava and Matcha. Vegan sorbets are also available.
Karaoke is a massive part of Korean culture and you’ll find numerous karaoke bars in Koreatown. Here are two that we recommend.
If you’re a bit shy, then BMB Karaoke is perfect. There are thirteen rooms so you and your friends can book one out and perform only to each other. There’s also a bar.
Echo Karaoke also has private rooms – and their very own catalogue of Drake songs.
Just You – Sarah & Tom
If you adore Asian toys of any kind, you need to visit this store. It’s a toy, gift, and stationery shop with an eclectic mix of anime toys, Hello Kitty, K-Pop posters, and Korean stationery.
Hanji Handmade Paper and Gifts
If you’re looking for hand-made gifts made by Korean artists, then you need to stop by this shop. Hani is Korean for handmade mulberry paper, and the couple build their own personal relationships with the artists. There’s also a little craft section with ribbons, ties, and book-making materials.