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A vision of the future | © Lone Primate/Flickr
A vision of the future | © Lone Primate/Flickr
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An Irish Guide To Toronto, Canada

Picture of Georgina Ganly
Updated: 24 October 2016
Craving a bit of Irish life here in Toronto? Whether you’re a recent Irish transplant, just passing through, or a seasoned Torontonian who’s keen to channel your inner Irish-self, this is the guide for you. If it’s a taste of home (or simply a taste of Ireland) that you’re craving, below are just some of the Irish establishments which help make Toronto feel like a home away from home.
Craving a bit of Irish life here in Toronto? © Michael Gil / Flickr
Craving a bit of Irish life here in Toronto? | © Michael Gil / Flickr

Food and Drink

Irish Embassy Pub and Grill

Situated in Toronto’s financial district, the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill stands on the corner of Yonge and Wellington in what was once an 18th century bank building. High ceilings and dark wood make for a warm and comfortable experience. Food, drink, historical memorabilia, and regular screenings of sporting events from back home make this pub popular among the Irish.

Irish Embassy Pub and Grill, 49 Yonge St (Wellington St E), Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 866 8282

High ceilings and dark wood make for a warm and comfortable experience © Jeff Hitchcock / Flickr
High ceilings and dark wood make for a warm and comfortable experience | © Jeff Hitchcock / Flickr

Watermark Irish Pub and Restaurant

A pint of Guinness in hand surrounded by water — sounds like your average rainy day at home in Ireland. Except nothing is average about Watermark Irish Pub and Restaurant, located at the Harbourfront District in the Queen’s Quay Terminal. If you’re lucky enough to be here during summer, enjoy brunch, lunch, and dinner al fresco on the patio. If not, inside there’s a sleek and rich pub and restaurant. Guinness, Harp Premium Lager, and Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale are all available on tap. The Friday daily special of fish and chips is well priced, and the crunchy fried chicken sandwich is to die for and bears a close resemblance to the beloved Irish hot chicken roll.

Watermark Irish Pub and Restaurant, 207 Queen’s Quay W, Toronto ON, Canada+1 416 214 2772

PwC event – yummy snacks! #pwc #watermarkirishpubandrestaurant #food #snacks #yum

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Sandy Aleksander

While there is plenty more to Ireland’s cuisine than the Sunday fry, for some it is the be-all and end-all when it comes to comfort food. At Sandy Aleksander, a fine food store, you can pick up the essentials and cook up a storm. Brennan’s Irish breakfast foods, black and white pudding, cocktail sausages, back bacon, and authentic soda bread mix are all available for purchase at the Leslieville location.

Sandy Aleksander, 1183A Queen St E, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 466 2600

Music

Fynn’s of Temple Bar

Fynn’s of Temple Bar displays the medieval and historic charm of Dublin, Ireland’s fair city, in the popular King Street West area of downtown Toronto. Open until 2am every night of the week, this Irish pub promises good food and drink and a good time. The weekly line-up includes East Coast Céili Wednesdays with live music from 9pm during fall, winter, and spring. Bring your dancing shoes, and enjoy the live session.

Fynn’s of Temple Bar, 489 King St W, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 586 1331

Fynn’s of Temple Bar displays the medieval and historic charm of Dublin © Ryan Tir / Flickr
Fynn’s of Temple Bar displays the medieval and historic charm of Dublin | © Ryan Tir / Flickr

McVeigh’s

Transport yourself to the west of Ireland in this quaint traditional pub on Church and Richmond. You can hear traditional Irish music six days a week at McVeigh’s Irish Pub, established in 1962 and exuding character that will make you feel right at home. Check out the show listings on the website for an up to date line up each week.

McVeigh’s, 124 Church St, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 364 9698

Crafts and Fashion

Irish Design House

If you’re looking to browse, spend, or just in need of a gift, the Irish Design House in the Riverside/Leslieville district should tickle your fancy. Showcasing crafts and fashion from Ireland, all handmade by craftspeople and designers, this eclectic store will whisk you away from the big city and ensure a calm and enjoyable shopping experience. Knitwear, homeware, and trinkets are placed meticulously around the store with care. For those who fancy designing, there is a sewing school at the store with one-to-one classes. You’ll find Horizontal Ribbed Cardigans and Giant Cable Sweaters and be sure to check the website for sale items and great reductions.

Irish Design House, 756 Queen St E, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 388 0479

Entertainment Highlights

Toronto Irish Film Festival

March marks a big month on the calendar, with celebrations for Ireland and St Patrick all over the world. This year the festivities kick off with the sixth annual Toronto Irish Film Festival (TIRFF). Held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, this film festival showcases a mixture of features, documentaries, and shorts. Last year, actor Brian Gleeson (son of Brendan Gleeson) was in attendance at the opening night for his appearance in Standby. This year renowned actor Aiden Gillen stars in You’re Ugly Too, marking its Toronto premiere. Director Mark Noonan will be in attendance on Friday night for a Q + A following the screening. This year also sees the launch of a new programme featuring the best of Irish animation. With shorts from Academy Award–nominated studio Cartoon Saloon, you won’t want to miss the show on Sunday March 6th at 1pm.

Toronto Irish Film Festival, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 599 8433

Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The annual Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13th, is bound to make you feel right at home. Dress in green from top to toe and take in everything from the marching bands to floats and, new to the festival this year, The Ginger Jig. 2016 marks the year when an all-Ginger march will join the parade. If you’re feeling really patriotic, you can become a sponsor or volunteer through their website.

St Patrick’s Day Parade, 65 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 487 1566

The annual Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13th, is bound to make you feel right at home © John Vetterli / Flickr
The annual Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13th, is bound to make you feel right at home | © John Vetterli / Flickr

Sport

Toronto GAA

It doesn’t get much more Irish than this. If you’re looking to keep fit, make new friends, or just keep yourself busy in the evenings and on weekends, join a GAA team in the city. Toronto GAA overlooks Gaelic football, the Toronto hurling club, and the camogie club and is made up of many teams for men, women, and minors. A league championship and tournaments, scattered throughout the summer months, keep the season busy. No doubt there are a few social events to mark on the calendar in typical Irish style.

Email secretary.toronto.ca@gaa.ie for more details | Facebook: Toronto GAA