Authentic and atmospheric, Toronto's Chinatown is one of the largest in North America. Colourful restaurant signs entice diners, street stalls are packed with wonderful foods, and there's a bustle of the district throughout the day and night. It is found along Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue, in the west of Downtown Toronto. Over the years the area has also expanded along Gerrard Street and Broadview Avenue.
Street signs in Chinatown are bilingual, adding another layer of authenticity to the ubiquitous barbeque restaurants. Small shops sell a huge variety of imported products while traditional tea houses entice visitors with their exotic smells. Dragon City and Chinatown Centre are modern shopping malls in the heart of Chinatown, flanked by establishments that reflect the recent diversification of the area. An influx of Vietnamese and Thai stores close to the shopping malls glimpse at how Chinatown has become a hub for a wider East Asian culture.
Riding the Spadina streetcar is the iconic way of travelling through Chinatown. With Cantonese symbols gleaming on either side of Spadina Avenue, this street car is an excellent introduction to what Chinatown is all about. When travelling on the Toronto subway, exit at St Patrick Station and walk west along Dundas Street West.
There have been Chinese restaurants in Toronto for over 100 years when the first Chinatown was situated in the space that Toronto City Hall now occupies. In the 1960s, the district shifted a few blocks west to create a new area that is now known as Chinatown. The continued expansion over the decades is a recognition of the area's success as a popular destination for both Toronto locals and tourists.