39. Your Toronto Tour

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Image©Ruth Lor Malloy 2011

Where do you take out-of-town guests who want to see multicultural Toronto? Please let me know so I can add those places to my list. Please let me know also if you agree with my choices.

I took a guest from Maryland to Gerrard Little India for a lunch of huge, crispy, wonderful dosas at the Udupi Palace restaurant there. We also spent a lot of time looking at fabrics and jewellery. It was especially enjoyable to see the variety of colours because most Torontonians wear too much ugh black.

We had a good time. It would have been better if there had been a festival. Then, there would be stalls from which we could sample kebobs and savouries. We would have seen some traditional dances. In the summer too, we could have bought Alphonso mangoes there, the sweetest mangoes in the world. http://www.gerrardindiabazaar.com/ .

I had hoped to take her to some of our other interesting areas, but alas, she only had enough energy for Little India. On my list is also St. Marks Coptic church and museum but only if we could make a date to meet curator Helene Moussa there.  With her you can see its museum as well as church. Otherwise, it’s usually open for services.  You can find out more about it at:

http://www.stmark.toronto.on.coptorthodox.ca/museum.asp .

Then for Chinese flavour, there’s the huge T&T grocery store at Warden and Steeles, a humongeous Chinese supermarket with live fish and sometimes live frogs and durian. There you can also buy ready-to-eat sushi and noodles as well as anything else that’s Asian. http://www.cn411.ca/IE01.aspx?WebURL=www.tnt-supermarket.com.

The second floor of the nearby Pacific Mall is touristy, I admit, but it’s classier than the Spadina Chinatown. I once bought a jacket there that friends later insisted I must have bought in Hong Kong or Singapore. There’s lots of interesting food to eat there too. You can see hand-made noodles made there if you order a bowl. Try the hotpot too but please avoid the sharks’ fins. The harvesting of sharks for their fins is too cruel.  The ground floor is like a Hong Kong mall. http://www.pacificmalltoronto.com/ .

The Fo Guan Shan Buddhist temple in Mississauga is also on my list but only on weekdays (except for Mondays) when an English-speaking guide is usually  available to show you around. http://www.fgs.ca/english/tour.html. The statues and antiques are spectacular. The chanting services are exotic  with worshippers wearing black robes and monks’ slippers. You can follow the chants from a booklet in Chinese and English. On week ends, its tea house offers a vegetarian lunch. http://www.fgs.ca/english/tour.html

I would certainly include the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. This is that beautiful Hindu temple at 427 just north of Finch Avenue West. Check out its web-site for its hours. http://www.swaminarayan.org/globalnetwork/america/toronto.htm

I’ve yet to see it myself, but I would like to include the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Vaughn. It has the largest mosque in Canada and it sounds very interesting. Let me know if you’ve been there. I’d like to learn more about Islam. Its web-site is:


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