Toronto Walk: Little India

Today we’re headed to Little India, or the India Bazaar, in Toronto.

Fueled by South Asian entrepreneurs immigrating to Toronto and settling around the beacon of the Naaz Theatre, Little India has been a vibrant community in Toronto since the 1960’s. The sights, sounds, and smells of the strip of Gerrard has been a siren call to many, leaving friends who have lived in the area earning Pavlovian reactions to cardamom and curry.  The street, lined with the eateries, grocers, jewelry shops, travel agencies, and sari shops, has collectively earned the name India Bazaar, (even though the area has it’s own little Pakistani, Little Bangladeshi, Little Afghan and Little Sri Lankan segments) and over the years the local BIA (the Gerrard India Bazaar Business Improvement Area) has spent it’s effort and resources making drastic improvements and focusing on cultural street festivals.

Toronto’s personal Delhi of downtown is chock-full of history, including the Naaz Theatre

Over time, the Bazaar has changed, with many South Asian settlers choosing to move to the suburbs where property prices are cheaper, changing the face of Etobicoke, Scarborough, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, and Vaughan and sparking the creation of Little India’s across the GTHA. Still, the India Bazaar calls many back to the six blocks between Coxwell and Greenwood Ave which supports 200+ shops. 

In the last two years, a growing concern is that the Little Indias across the GTHA have been “sucking up business” in the off season, today we’ll see what the impact has been on the Original Little India, one of North America’s largest South Asian Bazaars. 

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