Greektown on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue may be best known for its souvlaki and flaming dishes of saganaki cheese, but what most people don’t know is that this vibrant neighbourhood is also dotted with an eclectic mix of boutiques, designer stores, and specialty shops. Home to one of the world’s largest Greek populations outside of Greece, its cafés are popular hangouts for Toronto’s Greek community to watch a soccer game or get together with friends.
Launch your excursion at the sunny west corner of Pape and Danforth, where the beautiful dome of 100-year-old Holy Name Parish Church, an architectural landmark inspired by the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, presides over the bustling streets. Need further proof you’re really in Greektown? Just take a look at the signposts, where the street names appear in both Greek and English. Plus, you can’t miss the blue-and-white flags waving cheerily from lampposts and hanging flower baskets.
Toys for Kids and Parents
Your first stop should be Treasure Island Toys, one of Toronto’s most beloved toy stores. It looks deceptively small, but even the fussiest tot will be gobsmacked when they enter—and doubly so once they spot the Toy Ahoy, a huge ship in the middle of the store captained by a life-sized Playmobil buddy. Set your little one down at one of the play tables, like the Calico Critters house, where they can tell a story with furry friends. Or just hunker down on the floor and read a book together.
Nearby is iQliving, where you can whip your kitchen into spring shape with stylish pantry organizers and crowd-pleasing tableware. If you’re obsessed with charming kitchen goods (and who isn’t?), you’ll love iQliving’s fab inventory—from olivewood cheese boards to Zoku mini popsicle molds—ideal for Mother’s Day giving.
Chocolate and a Walk in the Park
Need a break? At Leonidas Chocolate Shop you can indulge in Belgian chocolate before soaking up some Hellenic atmosphere at Alexander the Great Parkette. This popular hub is decked out with a profusion of spring tulips and daffodils and features a circular mosaic fountain, a stage with Corinthian columns, and two bronze statues of Alexander the Great.
If lounging in a plush bathrobe sounds like fun, make a stop at Ici Paris, Greektown’s longest established skin care clinic and spa. Book a cleansing European facial or opt for a heavenly mani-pedi that will have your toes springtime ready.
Once your feet have enjoyed some pampering, step into Corso Shoes, where you can browse the latest designs in European footwear from quality brands such as Geox, Patrizia, and Un Tour en Ville. Corso’s expert fitters focus on fit and comfort, so you’ll get shoes with runway flair that look as fantastic as they feel.
Further west is Grassroots, a go-to destination for eco-conscious shoppers. If you’re planning on doing some spring cleaning, check out their supply of biodegradable cleaning supplies, disinfectants, and gear. You’ll also find plenty of gardening inspiration such as Urban Harvest’s white icicle radish and chioggio beet seeds.
Health food fanatics shouldn’t miss Carrot Common—a leafy outdoor courtyard featuring an organic juice bar, a crystal shop, a holistic dispensary—and The Big Carrot, a cooperative health food store where you can stock up on detox ingredients and organic, fair-trade food.
When your shopping spree is done, don’t hurry home. No visit to Greektown is complete without a meal. Sure, there’s delicious sushi, tacos, or designer hamburgers—but when you’re on Danforth, you’ve gotta go Greek. There are plenty of temptations, as the scent of fresh oregano and sizzling souvlaki wafts through open doorways.
A top choice is Megas Restaurant, where Mastercard holders enjoy a special promotion that includes a complimentary appetizer or dessert. Wrap up your day in Greektown with a dish of authentic moussaka or a café frappe as delicious as what you’d find on the island of Mykonos. Be sure to try a baklava, the honey soaked squares of phyllo pastry or kataifi, a heavenly nest of cheese pastry soaked in sweet syrup.