As a newcomer settling into your new life in Canada, there may be times when you miss your country and home culture. It’s totally normal. What makes Canada so special is it welcomes all cultures and traditions and, no matter where you are in the country, you’ll always be able to find things that remind you of home.
Toronto, in particular, is Canada’s most diverse city. If you’re a newcomer from China living in or around Toronto, you’ll find it easy to stay connected to your heritage, traditions, and community. We spoke to some newcomers from China living in and around Toronto, and asked them to share their favourite places to eat, shop, enjoy their culture, and find daily support, so you can quickly adapt to life in your new city while getting a taste of home.
In this article:
- Chinese restaurants in Toronto and the GTA
- Chinese grocery stores in Toronto and the GTA
- Chinese shopping and cultural events in Toronto
- Places to worship across Toronto
- Find daily support in Toronto
Chinese food is everywhere in Toronto from the core of the city to the outskirts, like Scarborough and North York. According to the newcomers we interviewed, you can try a different Chinese restaurant every day of the year and enjoy each one of them. Here are some of the favourites:
- Mean Bao, multiple locations (try the pork belly and jerk chicken baos)
- Rol San Restaurant, Spadina Avenue (dim sum is most popular but squid tentacles are delicious)
- Four Four South Village, near Yonge and College (try the Taipei beef noodles)
- Hong Ming BBQ, Markham
- Charidise, Baldwin Village
- HaiDiLao, Markham and Scarborough (try the hotpot)
- Yu Seafood, Yorkdale and Richmond Hill (try the dim sum)
Many neighbourhoods in and around Toronto, such as Kensington Market, Gerrard Street East, Yonge and Sheppard, and parts of Scarborough, have local markets where you can find ingredients for Chinese cuisine. Here are some of the more popular markets that have multiple locations:
- T&T Supermarket
- Winco Food Mart
- Bestco Food Mart
- Nations Fresh Food
Most big cities in Canada have one Chinatown, however, Toronto has several. The Chinese community is lively in Toronto and you can participate in cultural events and festivities across the city. The Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto is a hub for Chinese events and culture where you can find everything from music festivals and lantern ceremonies to creative workshops at the centre.
The Chinatown Business Improvement Area (CBIA), which has a mandate to “preserve the Chinese heritage and culture […] and to create exciting community events,” is in the heart of Chinatown in downtown Toronto.
If you’re looking to connect with other members of your community, you can start by looking for them on WeChat. Many local newcomers are active on the platform and are happy to recommend places to visit.
As a newcomer, you’ll find several places to worship across the city, such as:
- Chamshan Temple
- Toronto Buddhist Church
- Chinese Presbyterian Church
- Toronto Chinese Alliance Church
As you begin to settle down in Toronto, you may need some extra support to adapt to life in Canada. You can find cultural support, skill-building workshops, employment resources, and other day-to-day support in the places listed below:
- Toronto Mainland Chinese Community Centre offers settlement services for newcomers, along with educational workshops and social services. They also provide youth services and summer job programs.
- The Centre for Immigration and Community Services is another strong resource. They provide family and senior services, language and training services, as well as volunteer opportunities so you can engage more deeply with the community.
- Regional school boards organize free language classes for children in traditional and simplified Chinese.
- Toronto Public Library is a great resource for newcomer services, such as access to settlement workers, personal finance programs, and for community building, with a variety of books available in simplified or traditional Chinese.
- ACCES Employment offers career guidance, including workshops on creating a Canadian-style resume and preparing for job interviews.
- COSTI Settlement Services offers online employment workshops, language training, and skill building services to help newcomers prepare for the workforce.
- Find a local YMCA. YMCAs are all over Toronto and offer childcare services, health and fitness activities (swimming and other sports), and helpful employment services.