Toronto Little India
Located in the heart of the city’s east end, Toronto's Little India is a small business district best known for its array of South Asian restaurants. Also known as the Grand India Bazaar, the area constitutes North America’s largest South Asian market and hosts the annual Festival of South Asia, one of Toronto’s most popular street fairs.
While tours of Toronto rarely include Little India due to its distance from downtown highlights, a day or afternoon in the east end (neighborhoods located east of the Don Valley Parkway) is a popular addition to Toronto itineraries. Little India is often visited in conjunction with restaurants and pastry shops in Greektown, the quaint boardwalks found in The Beaches, and vintage stores, boutiques, and hip cafés in Leslieville.
Things to Know Before You Go
Little India is a must for foodies.
Note that Gerrard Street consists of two parts: Lower and Upper. Little India is located on Lower Gerrard Street East.
Bring cash: Some Little India businesses do not take credit cards.
The time limit for street parking is three hours unless specified otherwise.
How to Get There
Defined as the stretch of Gerrard Street East between Coxwell Avenue and Greenwood Avenue, Little India is easily accessible using Toronto’s public transit system. Take streetcar 506 to Lower Gerrard Street East and Woodfield Road or bus 22 to Coxwell Avenue and Lower Gerrard Street East.
When to Get There
Little India hosts one of Toronto’s most popular fairs, the Festival of South Asia, held annually in August. In addition to food samples from a wide range of cuisines, from Sri Lankan to Singaporean, the festival offers dance and music performances, art installations, and cultural classes. In November, an annual Diwali celebration covers the streets of Little India in twinkling lights.
Little India owes its origins to Gian Naaz, who opened the first theater in North America to exclusively screen South Asian films here in 1972. Small businesses began to pop up to serve Naaz Theater’s patrons, who traveled from across the region to attend the screenings. While it was never a residential area for Toronto’s South Asian community, Little India has remained a hub for restaurants, distributors, and small businesses.