Last month I visited Toronto, one of the most vegan-friendly cities I’ve ever been to. Here are my recommendations:
Stay with my cousins! Obviously this option isn’t open to all and sundry, but you can replicate the experience by a) being delightful b) making me sort through a lot of Lego bricks and c) buying the sweary Thug Kitchen recipe books.
These recipes were the inspiration for a lot of lovely dinners including a Victoria Day feast when Virginia made three yes THREE puddings. It’s what Queen Victoria would have wanted.
A good tip is to pick up a Toronto Vegetarian Directory that includes listings and little maps by area showing you the nearest veggie outlet, a bit like Grindr but in hard copy and with no sex.
I can highly recommend Toronto’s markets. Kensington Market was possibly my favourite, a hipster street with almost too much choice. I had a delicious vegan lasagna at the 100% vegan Cosmic Treats.
They have an ice cream bar, including a vegan Mr Whippy style which I’d never seen before, a dessert bar and a candy shop with GoMax bars for half the price you pay in the UK.
On the same street I bought cinnamon buns and OH MY WORD a ginger molasses cookie at Bunner’s, a vegan gluten free bakery then popped into Fresh Collective which sells Matt and Nat bags and their new range of shoes.
For a weekend outing Evergreen Brickworks food market is fun and has plenty of vegan choices including fries in thyme, vegan sweet potato brownie, chocolate cookies and my first ever hot tamale. I had to ask if I was meant to eat the corn husk it was steamed in, but luckily Canadians are far too polite to laugh in my face.
Downtown has the historic indoor St Lawrence market with a vegan raw food stall doing great juices downstairs and a good health food store.
You can also stock up there on one of Canada’s most famous vegan exports: maple syrup.
Don’t forget to try maple butter too, which is like a sweet fudge that melts on toast.
I also exported lots of Daiya cheese, a Canadian product that achieves the holy trinity of actually looking, tasting and melting like cheese. It’s so good there’s an online campaign (as yet unsuccessful) to bring it to Europe.
If you’re fitting a bit of culture into your trip and visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario it is close to Baldwin Village and several veggie places. I ate at Vegetarian Haven which is vegan despite its name and does delicious Asian fusion food. I had California avocado rolls and pad Thai sitting outside in the sun.
If you fancy a walk by the Lake in the Beaches, do visit Tori's Bakery. It’s vegan, organic, offers a lot of gluten free and their stuff is amazing. I had a caramel chocolate pecan cupcake, a margarita lime cupcake and biscotti and wished I’d bought more.
I only had a week in Toronto and ran out of time for the excellent Fresh where I once saw a guy who looked a bit like Joaquín Phoenix (a story that has now evolved into “that time I had lunch with Joaquin Phoenix”), Bloomers, Live Organic Food Bar and Hog Town Vegan. If you have more vegan recommendations for Toronto please feel free to leave them in the Comments, so I have plenty more places to visit next time I go back. SOON.