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15 Things You Need to Know About Toronto Culture

15 Things You Need to Know About Toronto Culture
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15 Things You Need to Know About Toronto Culture

Each city has its own culture, which also represents its identity. As one of the major cities in the world, Toronto has a culture that shows its progressiveness and vibrancy. 

What is Toronto culture like?

Toronto culture celebrates the diversity of things–art, food, finance, sports, and celebrator events. It’s is rooted in tradition in history while being open to modern developments and innovations. 

Here are 15 things you need to know about Toronto culture. We hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoy living them every day! 

1. Toronto is multicultural. 

Toronto is multicultural
Image source: Anna Cherkasova via IStock

One of the things that make up our vibrant and welcoming culture is the fact that our city is literally multicultural and multiracial. We are ethnically-diverse, with almost more than half of the population filled with immigrants! 

Walking the streets of Toronto means stumbling upon people who came from different countries to either study, work, or just build a better life. Latest data gathering and research, in fact, shows that over 200 ethnic groups are in our area alone. 

While English is the primary language in Toronto, the city speaks a hundred languages. Among the other popular languages here are French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Spanish, and Tamil, so tourists and newbies wouldn’t find it hard to communicate. 

We do admit that there are still racist people in Toronto (let’s face it, there are racist people anywhere). Still, we can attest that most of the people you will meet are open and friendly, and that we try to be as accommodating as possible. 

After all, coming to Toronto means being open to exposing yourself to different cultures. Part of the city experience is basically having a small tour of the rest of the world. 

2. In Toronto, eating is definitely a thing! 

In Toronto, eating is definitely a thing
Image source: Jay Wennington via Unsplash

You’ve probably heard of the fact that New York City has so many restaurants that it would take one person years to try them all. Well, Toronto lives up to the challenge! 

As of writing, there are an average of 8,000 restaurants in the city already. Take note that this does not count the little food stalls you’ll see on the street, along with a few food trucks that occasionally pop around neighbourhoods. 

Bottomline: We Torontonians just love to eat. Even the food business owners here love to explore different cuisines and support each other through healthy competition. 

Rest assured that you will find any type of cuisine in Toronto. There are stretches of  Italian restaurants, buffets, and barbecues on almost any street. 

Cafés and bars also serve food even during late nights. This goes to show that the city is a perfect place for those who love to eat. 

If you can’t find anything you want, you can always rely on the good old fast food chains that are also all over Toronto. Some reliable food delivery services are available 24/7. 

3. Torontonians have a heart for street art. 

Torontonians have a heart for street art
Image source: Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash

As you walk along the streets of Toronto, you will find that the city is plastered with colors. This is because many Torontonians love art and they show this by creating murals and random graffiti in the city. 

In fact, some street artists from other countries and cities even migrate to our city just because of the art community here. Nothing is ever considered vandalism, as the walls also present a sense of identity for each neighbourhood. 

Could Toronto get any more colourful than it already is? The answer is a definite yes! 

4. We are a music-loving community. 

We are a music-loving community
Image source: Mike Giles via Unsplash

Along with street art, performing street musicians is another everyday scene in the city. We support both local and international artists, with music icons such as rapper Drake and singer Daniel Caesar originating from – where else? – Toronto. 

You will find people gathered in a circle, whether it’s a guy with a guitar, a group of friends just playing their hearts out, or even just an old lady hitting the keys of a public piano. 

During performances, operas, and concerts, Toronto music venues and stadiums also get sold out. Some Torontonians will even invite their friends from other places just to come and watch with them. 

While riding the train or bus, you will also see many people just vibing to music while wearing earphones or headsets. Even your taxi driver will talk to you about what’s hot on the radio! 

5. We love to see movies. 

We love to see movies
Image source: Lianhao Qu via Unsplash

On top of music, Torontonians also love the film industry. Cinemas in the city are never out of people, with most malls having their own given the patronage. 

What adds to this is the fact that our beloved city is also a hub for television and film shoots. This means that film is really embedded in the culture already and that part of everyday Toronto life may include meeting directors and film people in the streets. 

Film communities in the city also organize movie nights of their own, with some hosting huge gatherings in public parks. Despite these happening in later hours of the day, people still flock to them. 

Toronto is also known for the Toronto Film Festival. No one could ask for more proof that Torontonians have high appreciation and genuine love for film. 

6. Toronto holds an annual carnival. 

Toronto holds an annual carnival
Image source: blogTO

Part of the Toronto culture and history is the annual Toronto Carribean Carnival. This has been happening and was conceived as early as 1967 and is recognised as North America’s Largest Caribbean Carnival. 

The Toronto Carribean Carnival was formerly known as Caribana. It is a festival of Caribbean culture and traditions held every summer in the city, where people dress up in cultural and colourful costumes and go on parades. 

This event is undeniably a part of our culture, one that has been celebrated by generations and continues to showcase the vibrancy of the city’s community. 

7. We like our amusement parks.

We like our amusement parks
Image source: Elyse Turton via Unsplash

Because Toronto is among the popular choices of people to build and raise families, the city especially takes children into consideration. This is why we have a number of amusement parks, with some of them converted as venues during special seasons. 

Many people enjoy the variety of rides in the city, along with different sites such as game booths, toy booths, and more. 

Amusement parks also form part of the Toronto nightlife, as some of these are open until early mornings. Some also come to amusement parks just to warm up the fun before going to nightclubs, pubs, and bars around the area. 

During the summer and vacation seasons, amusement parks are also among the many places that Torontonians go to to meet, mingle, and just have fun. 

8. Torontonians shop till they drop. 

Torontonians shop till they drop
Image source: Scott Gummerson via Unsplash

We mean this literally. Shopping in Toronto means walking around numerous stalls and holding paper bags until you literally just want to sit down and rest from exhaustion. 

The city itself is a shopping capital as well, with many luxury brands holding their own stores in the area. There are also an average of one hundred malls in the city, with it having five major shopping districts. 

PATH, which is known as the world’s largest underground shopping complex, is also located in Toronto. This stretch of walkways and tunnels is never out of people, as it hosts both retro bargains and the newest items. 

Museum and gallery dates are part of the Toronto norm
Image source: Luqman Yasin via Unsplash

Toronto has a vibrant and growing art community. This is influenced by the amount of museums and galleries that are scattered all over the city, with these displaying works by both rising and established artists. 

Over the years, visiting Toronto’s museums and galleries became part of our culture. Some people even flock to the city just for this, as its art spaces and places have undoubtedly become part of its identity. 

Some of the most popular art and history hubs are the Royal Ontario Museum (pictured above) and the Art Gallery of Ontario

It’s safe to say that before museum and gallery dates were popularised by social media, they were already normal for those of us here in Toronto. 

10. Toronto people love taking photos. 

Toronto people love taking photos
Image source: Matt Quinn via Unsplash

Seeing a group going on photo walks around Toronto is so normal that it can pass as an everyday scene. This city is so big and filled with plenty of attractions that people cannot just help but bring out their DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, or even just their smartphones. 

There is also a roster of talented photographers in Toronto. Photoshoots are also free to do in any of the city’s public spaces, so those who are on a budget wouldn’t have to worry. 

As many continue to see Toronto’s vibrancy, they also gradually increase their chances of documenting it. Literally no one will judge you if you randomly take a random, public selfie here!

11. Toronto is a sporty city. 

Toronto is a sporty city
Image source: Filip Mroz via Unsplash

Aside from the fact that Toronto is home to beautiful sports stadiums and outstanding players and teams in various sports fields, the city is also filled with plenty of sports fans. 

You never have to worry if a crowd is wild when watching a game in Toronto. Be it basketball, football, wrestling, or even just a small game in the neighbourhood, you can count on us to make noise and cheer for our teams. 

Toronto also participates in the Labour Day Classic, which is a week of the Canadian Football League. During this time, some friends and small groups even make fun bets or gamble to express their admiration for the teams and the players. 

There are no winners and losers in Toronto, honestly. Just people who enjoy the game. 

12. The queer community thrives in Toronto. 

The queer community thrives in Toronto
Image source: Kyle Hinkson via Unsplash

Toronto is a gay-friendly city. Part of the Toronto culture is inclusivity not just in terms of race, but also with regards to gender. 

There are a number of neighbourhoods in Toronto where the LGBTQIA+ community have taken their space, putting up their own queer businesses and holding events that encourage hope and pride for the community. 

We are also home to the annual Pride Toronto, which is one of the largest pride festivals in the world. 

In fact, the city’s pride identity traces back to history during Operation Soap, a raid by the Metropolitan Toronto Police against four gay bathhouses in the city. This happened in 1981 and gave birth to various pride commemorations and protests. 

Make no mistake – homophobes aren’t tolerated in Toronto! Just colours, pride, and positivity! 

13. Hustle culture is part of Toronto culture. 

Hustle culture is part of Toronto culture
Image source: Jason Goodman via Unsplash

Not to self-praise, but Torontonians are very hard-working people. With the city becoming one of the leading places for great job opportunities in the world, the hustle culture is very popular here. 

This is also accentuated by the fact that salary in Toronto is good as compared to other places, so you can only imagine why people in the city are determined to meet their work targets and career goals. 

The Finance District is the most popular place to showcase this. Many of the working class attend office here during weekdays, showing how busy the city can get in terms of corporate matters. 

Creative people also hustle in the city. You will find a community of freelance writers, artists, photographers, and videographers in Toronto who are constantly looking for gigs and clients. 

14. People actually go to libraries in Toronto.

People actually go to libraries in Toronto
Image source: Nick Smith via Unsplash

While libraries seem to have taken a back seat in the rest of the world, the case is different for us here in Toronto. 

With the city having one of the largest library systems in the world, the Toronto Public Library’s branches are never empty. Even the small ones have at least one or two visitors every day. 

Torontonians actually come to libraries for some quiet reading, research, an alternative work environment, or just to enjoy the city library’s privileges. 

If you miss the feeling of stepping into a library, the Toronto library culture will definitely live up to your expectations. 

15. The Toronto Slang lives on!

The Toronto Slang lives on
Image source: Alex_Ischenko via IStock

You can’t stay in Toronto without learning even just a bit about the Toronto Slang. This is spoken by the younger working-class people in the inner-city, where the population is very diverse and is heavily influenced by Caribbean culture. 

The Toronto Slang is basically informal Canadian English of the Greater Toronto Area, where it is most widely spoken. Other areas that speak this are Hamilton, Barrie, and Ottawa.  

The Toronto Slang has its own set of adjectives, interjections, pronouns, nouns, and verbs. Other areas and even countries have seemed to have adapted this as well, as some terms are borrowed from internet slang or popularly used in social media. 

Some of the Toronto Slang words you’ve probably heard of are “soft,” which is used to describe a person who is weak, scared, or afraid, and “flex,” which means to show off something such as money or clothes. 

We hope you get to learn a few terms so you can show off your Toronto Slang! If not, many of us here will be glad to give you a quick lesson or two!