Toronto’s Chinatown gives travellers a global snapshot within Canadian city. Experience the sights and sounds of Asia without ever leaving the city.
Quick Facts About Chinatown in Toronto
• One of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods: Chinatown was established in 1878.
• Events year-round: Popular festivals are held in Toronto’s Chinatown each year.
• Lots of dim sum: Eat your heart out at some of the best Chinese restaurants in Toronto.
• Hotel choices: From budget to mid-range to high-end there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from.
• Easy to get around: The streetcar and subway systems in Toronto are some of the best ways to get to Chinatown.
Toronto’s Chinatown was founded when Chinese workers from San Francisco decided to seek refuge in Toronto, as they were tired of the discriminatory practices they were enduring. The new Chinese migrants created a small, burgeoning enclave within the downtown area of Toronto. And while Chinatown as a community has remained, the physical location has moved three times since its founding in 1878.
Toronto Chinatown Attractions
Celebrate global events throughout the year in Chinatown.
• The Chinese New Year: Celebrations for the Lunar New Year can be found in Toronto’s Chinatown. The best of Chinese New Year include the Lion Dance parade and a street festival along Spadina Ave. and Dundas St. W. Head to Toronto’s Chinatown Centre for information during the event. The next Chinese New Year falls on January 25th, 2020.
• The Chinatown Festival: Held in August of each year and drawing crowds by the thousands, visitors can go on walking tours of Chinatown and learn more about Chinese history and culture. Chinatown Festival is a Toronto summer event for the whole family!
• The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival: This popular Chinese cultural festival takes place in cities throughout the world, and Toronto is no exception. The festival is usually held around the time of the summer solstice, the event takes place on Toronto Island. Over 120 teams compete in this race, and you can get information on next year’s event and registration here.
Further reading: Best Places to Travel Based on Your Chinese Zodiac Sign
Restaurants in Toronto Chinatown
Toronto’s Chinatown has a vibrant life of its own, offering a mix of mainland Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese specialties throughout the neighbourhood. Some local favourites include Mother’s Dumplings for some of the best dumplings in the city. Or there’s King’s Noodle for some Cantonese bbq, and Buddha’s Restaurant for delicious vegetarian Hong Kong-style fare. If you’re not in the mood for Chinese food there are great pho and bahn mi restaurants in Chinatown as well.
Top Chinatown Hotels
Here are some hotel options if you’d like to stay within walking distance to Chinatown and other popular Toronto neighbourhoods.
- Thompson Toronto: A luxury and business option near Toronto’s Chinatown features a rooftop pool and lounge, contemporary design and lots of amenities. It’s hard not to love this place!
- Hotel Ocho: A good mid-range option with a restaurant on-site, funky and minimalist design, and friendly staff. This hotel is also well-rated for its location.
- Planet Traveler’s Hostel: One of the top budget and backpacker options in the city of Toronto. This space seems to check all of the boxes: it’s eco-friendly, there’s a rooftop bar, it’s well-located in Kensington Market near Chinatown, and you can rent bikes on-site.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Toronto. For a look at some of the city’s top boutique hotels, see our list here.
Just south of Toronto’s Kensington Market, you’ll find Chinatown at the crossroads of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street. There are lots of ways to get to Chinatown by public transport, as it’s easily accessible on the TTC. Hop on the King streetcar (number 504) to Spadina then walk the two blocks north. You can also take the Dundas streetcar (506) to St. Patrick station as well as the subway, and walk west two blocks.
The Spadina streetcar (510) runs right through Chinatown. The trolley travels between Spadina and Union stations.