Let me tell you, not all areas of Toronto are created equal. And some neighbourhoods in Toronto, just downright suck for vegans. I work up close to the Markham area and if I don’t preplan my lunches, I am eating a bag of potato chips from a vending machine. There’s nothing around and it’s horrible. Sorry to anyone who lives up there and absolutely loves it. So, what are some of the best neighbourhoods for being vegan in Toronto?
Hands down this is a vegan’s mecca. Kensington Market houses a mix of eclectic independent stores from waterholes, restaurants, cafes, fresh produce, independent variety stores to name a few. Of note, Urban Herbivore and King’s Café are two of the biggest vegan eateries in the neighbourhood. Watch out for the no fur sign on Urban Herbivore’s window. Hibiscous, a small café, offers not only good fare but also an array of vegan desserts, such as crepes and ice cream (all made in-house). And if it’s vegan friendly beauty, cosmetics, clothing and so on you’re after, you’ll find it here in one of the many independent stores.
Yes, when one thinks Danforth, vegan usually doesn’t come to mind. More like welcoming Greeks with meat on skewers. But the Chester area does appeal to the eco-loving, vegan-friendly crowd. From the Carrot Commons to the multitude of yoga studios and eco goods stores. The Big Carrot (and adjacent juice bar) offer many options for vegans, from food to household products to beauty. Grassroots is one of Toronto’s longest running eco-goods stores, supplying Torontonians with environmentally friendly products for the last 20 years.
In general I find the Indian cuisine easy to accommodate a vegan diet. While mainly vegetarian options, it’s quite easy to determine which dishes are best for vegans. Two of the bigger vegetarian places in Little India are Siddartha and Udupi Palace, both extremely good and quite reasonably priced. And while in the neighbourhood, you have the option of many local grocery stores offering exotic fruits and spices (a must in any vegan’s diet).
The Junction Triangle
Here are just a few vegan options you can find in the Junction Triangle:
- Lunch Box
- Soup n’ Such Café
- Bunner’s Bake Shop
- The Sweet Potato
- The Best Organic Cafe + Market
- Magic Oven
- Gourmet Vegan Pizza
- The Thai Cuisine
- Mersin Mediterranean Cuisine
- Foods For Life
- Max’s Market
- Cafe Novo
- Pho Huong
Bloor (Yorkville to Annex)
Ok, maybe I’m cheating a little by lumping in two Toronto neighbourhoods into one. But how can I not? From Bloor/Yonge all the way to Spadina you have Whole Foods, two Noah’s (Toronto biggest independent health store), and several options of fully vegan restaurants (Camros, Fresh, Rawlicious and One Love to name a few) and all within walking distance.
Now downtown is definitely more convenient for a vegan, given the shear volume of options and all relatively within walking distance or a short subway ride away. That said, I’m not knocking other parts of Toronto as unvegan friendly (I mean there is a Rawlicious in Markham). But when one doesn’t drive and you add in the distance between such places, it certainly makes it challenging.