“More than 70,000 people living in Toronto list Spanish as their Mother Tongue.” (Inside Toronto)
Latino is a general term used to refer to people born in Latin America or someone that speaks Spanish as their mother term. According to the 2011 census, Spanish is in fourth place among non-official languages spoken in the city after Italian, Chinese and Mandarin (Inside Toronto).
In 2001, it was reported that 62% of Canadians who identify themselves as having Latin
American origins and live in Toronto were born outside Canada (Stadistics Canada). With this as fact, it comes to no surprise that there are many “Latinos” who feel nostalgic about their national dishes, national products and celebrations. From time to time you may find yourself wondering where can I find “Latinotown” like we can find Greektown at Danforth on the South East of the city or Chinatown in the downtown core.
The answer is you can’t. Interesting enough, according to HeritageToronto, although there are shared linguistic and cultural characteristics, the “Latino community is not a monolithic community, but rather one with multiple identities and experiences shaped by each country’s history and the causes of migration” (Heritage Toronto). The community’s common denominators are the Spanish language, and their determination to build a home in the new place they have come to. Therefore, you won’t find one specific neighbourhood for latinos. You will find them all around Toronto. In fact, Spanish is the most popular mother tongue after English in 14 of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods (InsideToronto).
According to Claudio Ruiz, executive director of the Centre for Spanish-Speaking Peoples, Latinos in greater Toronto are from 21 different countries(Toronto Star). This means that to find a “Latin Restaurant” you will have to make up your mind and look for the specific country dishes that you would like to try. Remember, Latin countries may use similar ingredients but dishes vary from country to country.
Photo: Latin American Street Food – www.dnme.cf
If you are looking for products and services in Spanish, there are several “community hubs”around the city that offer a variety of services tailored for latinos. In our neighbourhood, we are grateful for TorontoLatino. This hybrid business has been around since 1985 and offers groceries from different countries, dine in and take out from Colombia and Ecuador, money transfer services, music, CD’s, Soap operas and movies DVD’s, and more It even has it own radio station! (TorontoLatino.com). They are proudly located at 1786 Eglinton West.
Community hubs like this ones are not only good for latinos to get services in their language but also good for anyone interested in learning more about the different countries, food and culture.
If you decided to visit TorontoLatino be sure to check out neighbouring businesses. Have a treat at Spalistic with their spa services, get the latest hair styles at Hair to Desire, sign up for free Zumba Classes at Figura Ideal and because it’s tax season you may want to pass by Maria Cruzado Accounting Services to have your taxes done, everything on one trip!
1786 Eglinton Ave. West Toronto, ON M6E
1776 Eglinton Ave. West Toronto, ON M6E
1794 Eglinton Ave. West Toronto, ON M6E 2H6
1800 Eglinton Avenue West Toronto, ON M6E 2H6
1721 Eglinton Ave. West Toronto, ON M6E 2H4
“The Latin American Community in Canada.” Statistics Canada. Canada.gc.ca, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-621-x/89-621-x2007008-eng.htm>.
InsideToronto.com. “Spanish in Toronto: 10 neighbourhoods where you’re likely to hear it.” InsideToronto.com. Metrolandmedia, 07 July 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/5684384-spanish-in-toronto-10-neighbourhoods-where-you-re-likely-to-hear-it/>.
Taylor, Lesley Ciarula. “The GTA’s growing Latino problem.” Thestar.com. N.p., 06 Dec. 2008. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <https://www.thestar.com/news/2008/12/06/the_gtas_growing_latino_problem.html>.
“Latin American Canadians.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_American_Canadians#History>.
“Here and There: Hispanic Heritage in Toronto.” Heritage Toronto. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://heritagetoronto.org/here-and-there-hispanic-heritage-in-toronto/>.
“Latin Food Photography.” Latin American Cooking – Enlightenment Unveiled: Expound into Empowerment. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://dnme.cf/vepot/latin-american-cooking-711.php>.
“Toronto Latino.” Toronto Latino. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.torontolatino.com/toronto/>.