Toronto: The New York of Canada

Downtown Toronto as seen from Lake Ontario. The CN Tower stands tall to the left in the picture.

With its large ethnically mixed population and skyscraper skyline, Toronto, on the surface, looks quite similar New York City. Both metropolises, moreover, have a baseline of overlapping cultural identities, with parallel thriving theater scenes, busy stock exchanges and the status as the largest cities in their respective countries. A Little Italy and a Chinatown, continuing with the same comparison, can also be found in each of the cities, so it is not illogical that Toronto is sometimes called the New York of Canada.

Kensington Market

In the New York of Canada, the aforementioned Little Italy and Chinatown roughly border a neighborhood called Kensington Market, creating a tripartite area in downtown Toronto where locals and tourists alike readily go for a stroll. The area as a whole has a working-class yet trendy feel, with Little Italy and Chinatown, apart from their Mediterranean and oriental atmospheres, offering vintage-style street life and a range of restaurants. Eateries and appealing street life can also be found in the third hub of the tripartite district, Kensington Market, but here you are more likely to get your food from a street vendor or a hole-in-the-wall bar than from a conventional restaurant. Also in Kensington Market there is a wide variety of eclectic boutiques, graffiti and colorful buildings, making the neighborhood quite hipsterish.

Relocating to Toronto

Just south of Kensington Market, by Lake Ontario, are the famous CN Tower and the green escape of the Toronto Islands. From here you have a great view of both the lake and Toronto itself, with visitors to the CN Tower on clear days being able to see all the way across the big lake to neighboring New York State. However, in a sense, there is no need for either clear skies or visits to tall towers for Torontonians to see what inhabitants of New York see. This is because parts of Toronto, including its downtown skyscraper area, are so physically similar to the Big Apple that it is sometimes hard to tell the two cities apart. The same similarities, interestingly enough, have also allowed movie scenes set in New York City to be recorded in Toronto. American Psycho and The Incredible Hulk, for example, both have movie scenes purportedly set in the American east coast metropolis that are filmed in T-dot, a location switch made for economic purposes.