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Indian Spices | © Joe mon bkk/Wikicommons
Indian Spices | © Joe mon bkk/Wikicommons

A Guide To Indian Culture In Toronto

Picture of Gargi Garach
Updated: 8 November 2016
Anyone who visits Toronto for the first time will instantly recognize the multitude of diverse cultures and languages. Toronto has its own mini-India, rich with flavorful food, colorful clothes and interesting places to see. If you are missing home or want to learn something about India, check out this guide to experience incredible India in Toronto.

 

Bombay Chowpatty

Located on Gerrard Street, Bombay Chowpatty brings you India’s best street food. Try out their Pani Puri (crispy hollow shells with chickpeas, potatoes and tamarind chutney served with tangy spicy water) or Channa Bhatura (deep fried white flour bread served with curried chickpeas along with chutneys, onions and pickles). You can also browse through their in-house video store for some Bollywood DVDs. Enjoy the sweet and tangy vegetarian street food always accompanied by some cool Bollywood music.

Bombay Chowpatty, 1386 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 405 8080

Try out their Pani Puri (crispy hollow shells with chickpeas, potatoes and tamarind chutney served with tangy spicy water) © Apoorva Jinka / Flickr

Try out their Pani Puri (crispy hollow shells with chickpeas, potatoes and tamarind chutney served with tangy spicy water) © Apoorva Jinka / Flickr

The Veggie Thali

If you are craving some healthy Indian food, The Veggie Thali is the place to be. Just off Eglinton Square on Victoria Park Avenue, it is a small and cozy joint with wholesome, great tasting Indian vegetarian cuisine. Every dish comes with a rich blend of herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and cumin, all of which have proven health benefits. Go for an authentic Indian thali (‘thali’ means meal) with chana masala, butter paneer, and dal makhani served with house-made basmati rice, (long grain rice), salad, fresh rotis (Indian bread), and a dessert. Want something spicy? Try pav bhaji, a mash of vegetables served with a bun. For drinks, go for a refreshing glass of mango shake. They also serve vegan options upon request.

The Veggie Thali, 1410 Victoria Park Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 285 8344

Try pav bhaji, a mash of vegetables served with a bun © Prateek Rungta / Flickr

Try pav bhaji, a mash of vegetables served with a bun © Prateek Rungta / Flickr

Kohinoor Foods

If you are drawn to the aromas of cloves, asafoetida, cardamom and cinnamon, you’ll love Kohinoor. This Indian grocery store brings you a range of aromatic herbs and spices to cook amazing Indian recipes. The store also houses gourmet groceries such as Indian gooseberry, bitter gourd, and tinda (a small squash-like fruit) that go great with their house baked naans and parathas (two types of Indian bread). They also have kitchen equipment.

Kohinoor Foods, 1438 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON, +1 416 461 4432, +1 416 835 5024

The store also houses gourmet groceries such as Indian gooseberry, bitter gourd, and tinda / Pixabay

The store also houses gourmet groceries such as Indian gooseberry, bitter gourd, and tinda / Pixabay

Nucreation

If you are looking for some traditional Indian outfits such as sarees or a lehenga suit (a short decorative top with a long tinseled skirt), Nucreation is the perfect boutique for you. They have exclusive silk and cotton products as well. You will also be awestruck by the wonderful collections of glistening watches, imitation jewelry, and artful pieces of home decoration. Walk into the store for a wonderful display of design and color.

Nucreation, 1414 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 465 1096

 Home décor at Nucreation | © Gargi Garach Photography

Home décor at Nucreation | © Gargi Garach Photography

 

Rang Home Décor

Home decor at its finest. Rang Home Décor has amazing collections of home accents, bed sets, curtains, Indian-style rugs, and furnishings. Don’t forget to check out their elaborate Indian handicraft collection including beadwork, embroidery, appliqué, patchwork, weaving and quillwork. You will be mesmerized by the vibrant shades of pink, blue, orange and red. Check out some artistically and intricately carved wooden furniture, flower vases, lampshades, and other Indian folk art.

Rang Home Décor, 1413 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 465 8837

 

Yoga Centre Toronto

Yoga Centre Toronto offers intensive meditation and yoga exercises. This method of systematic yoga hails from the Pune district of India and fine tunes the body and mind while enhancing overall health and well-being.  You can work with postures and breathing exercises to destress your mind and body. Furthermore, the asanas or postures can be adapted for all ages and levels of fitness. Join their courses for a relaxing hour of meditation and stress relief.

Yoga Centre Toronto, 2428 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 482 1334

 

Broken Dance Performing Arts.

If you want to swing to some upbeat Bollywood music, take a course at the Broken Dance Performing Arts. Choose classical Indian dance forms such as Kathak or Bharatnatyam (dance forms from the South of India) or go for more contemporary ones like Bollywood dance or bhangra (a popular dance form from the West of India). If you want to workout while having some fun, sign up for the Bollywood fitness class, which combines popular dance numbers with exercise.

Broken Dance Performing Arts, 220 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 647 546 3623

By Gargi Garach