While many Canadians might have forgotten the country’s second official language, Toronto still has a very active Francophone community. French culture is an integral part of Canadian identity, and there is no lack of it in Toronto. Here’s our guide to the best of French culture that Toronto has to offer.
Speak & Read Like the French
L’Alliance Française is the central hub for all French culture in Toronto. Present in five different locations of the GTA (Toronto, Mississauga, North York, Markham, Oakville), it holds film screenings, expositions, French classes, shows, conferences, and much more. L’Alliance Française organizes French immersion camps for children, with over fifty different kinds, including music, sculpture, theater, board games and robotic camps.
Alliance Francaise Toronto – Downtown Campus, 24 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 922 2014
Courtesy of Alliance Française
Situated at the Alliance Française, Librairie Mosaïque is currently the only Francophone bookstore. The Alliance Française started up this bookstore in partnership with Rainbow Caterpillar Bookshop, which specializes in international children’s books. French bookshops in Toronto have all closed down through the years, so now is the time to go shopping and support this local bookstore.
Librairie Mosaïque, 24 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 922 2014
Eat & Drink Like the French
Cafe, Dessert, French, $$$
Exclusively serving products imported from France, Douce France is located near Yonge and Eglinton. This Parisian cafe has a variety of French goods, ranging from jams to pastries and chocolates. Everything is baked on the day, so everything is sure to be fresh. Try Angelina’s hot chocolate and have a chat with the bilingual staff.
Douce France, 2471 Yonge St, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 647 779 6965
Courtesy of Douce France | Courtesy of Douce France
A fairly new addition to Toronto, the Point Bar is popular with French expatriates, especially sports fans. Showing many games that are not aired on Canadian television, this bar has become a haven for soccer and rugby enthusiasts. This French sports bar and restaurant serves local French beer, and great food for a small price. The Point Bar, named after a French pun, hosts monthly events, including traditional Sunday meals, and wine tastings.
Point Bar, 488 College St, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 647 748 4004
Chabichou started off as a cheese shop, after its owner noticed the lack of diversity in the market. Through the years, the store has started selling more and more products, including sausages, spices, cookbooks, and desserts. However, Chabichou’s costumers still come back for one reason above all: the store holds more than 61 types of cheese. Perfect for a baguette and cheese craving, Chabichou is known for its friendly atmosphere. The shop, situated at Harbord and Bathurst, serves meals and drinks as well in its cozy bistro.
Chabichou, 196 Borden St, Toronto, Canada, + 1 647 430 4942
Le Sélect Bistro
Restaurant, French, $$$
Le Sélect Bistro
With both a back garden and a terrace, organic ingredients and an incredible wine cellar, Le Sélect Bistro has a good reputation for a reason. While French cuisine can sometimes be a bit pricey, Le Sélect Bistro is very reasonable. The Steak Frite dinner especially, available late night, is a full menu for around 20 dollars. This restaurant offers brunch, lunch, and dinner, all at very affordable prices, in a great setting.
Le Sélect Bistro, 432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 596 6405
Restaurant, French, $$$
Chinatown is not necessarily where you would expect to find a French restaurant, but it is where Batifole is located. While it is named after the French word meaning “to lounge about”, Batifole is nowhere near lazy with its food. Intimate and cozy, its size acerbates its charm. The restaurant serves traditional French food, escargots and cassoulet, as well as duck two ways, pork chops, and many other well-loved dishes.
Batifole Restaurant, 744 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 462 9965
Courtesy of Batifole | Courtesy of Batifole
Take in French Culture
Francophone International Film Festival
The Francophone International Film Festival, or Cinéfranco, also holds a Youth Festival, showing films for a younger audience, such as Les Héritiers (Once In a Lifetime), and Les Profs (Serial Teachers). While those are Cinéfranco’s main events, they also show Francophone movies throughout the whole year.
Cinéfranco, 1027 Yonge St, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 928 9794
Franco-Fête is a celebration of Francophone culture over a fortnight. Entirely free and open to all ages, this festival is composed of activities and concerts, most of which take place at Yonge-Dundas Square. With additional concerts and after-parties at diverse venues in the city, Franco-Fête aims to provide Toronto with a dose of French culture both on the stage, and off. Usually taking place during the summer, this festival is a must-see.
La Semaine de la Francophonie
La Semaine de la Francophonie, has been going strong in Toronto since 2001. It is organized around the International Francophonie Day, which is celebrated worldwide on the 20th March. With a variety of events, there should be something for everyone. The program includes concerts, comedy open-mic nights, business meetings, wine and cheese tastings, and theater activities for children.