Little Italy is not an exclusively Italian neighbourhood, as its name might suggest.
While there is still a strong Italian community in this neighbourhood, there is also a large Portuguese population centered around the First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Centre on College Street, and the Portugal Village shopping district on Dundas Street West.
Today, Little Italy's Italian and Portuguese residents are welcoming new neighbours from around the world to what is now considered one of Toronto's most multi-cultural neighbourhoods.
It was during the 1920's that College Street's 'Little Italy', became recognized as the residential and commercial centre of Toronto's Italian community.
However, by the 1960's, many of Little Italy's residents began to move north to the the Corso Italia district on St. Clair Avenue West.
The Italian families that moved out of Little Italy were replaced by Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish families. This mix of cultures gives Little Italy the international flavour that it enjoys today.
In 1985, the local business association on College Street officially adopted the Little Italy name in recognition of the role this neighbourhood has played as the starting point for Italians in Toronto.
**The Toronto neighbourhood text profiles, sketches and maps displayed on this web site were originally published in “Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods”, are © Maple Tree Publishing Inc. and have been reproduced by Toronto Real Estate Board under license.