Explore | East Chinatown

I’m falling in love all over again.

After living in Calgary for 7 years, I am re-igniting the flame with Toronto.  Although I grew up in Burlington, a city 60 kilometers away, the “Six” resonates more to my #inthecity lifestyle.

One of the benefits of living in a big city is the multitude of communities to explore and engage in. Every weekend is a staycation!

This past weekend, my friend Michelle and I navigated the streets of East Chinatown, a community east of the downtown core extending along the intersection of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street.

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East Chinatown – predominately occupied by mainland Chinese and Chinese-Vietnamese – was born out of the number of Chinese Canadians who couldn’t afford the rising property values in the original Chinatown in the west end.

The Vietnamese influence is evident with the generous offerings of restaurants including Bach Yen (738 Gerrard St E).

Since it was hot and humid outside, pho was out of the question. We had our own wrapping party by selecting the Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake) and char-grilled marinated beef wrapped in fresh herbs along with vermicelli and veggies with rice paper wrap.

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We spent a few hours chatting and digesting lunch before heading to Wong’s Ice Cream, the newest hottest dessert joint, in the city.  The intriguingly distinctive flavours offered at Wong’s is a representation of the uniqueness of the neighbourhood.

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How cute is this … orange candied vegan + Vietnamese coffee ice cream in a Chinese take-out container!

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Black sesame with salted duck egg and ube (my fave flavours)
I actually met the owner Ed Wong awhile back when he was working at Henry Brown’s in the Hamilton Farmer’s Market. He spoke about the possibility of opening an Asian-inspired ice cream shop. It’s nice to see his dream come into fruition and business is flourishing based on the line-ups and accolades on social media.

East Chinatown hasn’t evolved much with the same old restaurants and grocery stores with pockets of abandoned stores awaiting for revenue-generating opportunities.  The city could use another coffee shop with gothic flooring for Instagrammers *smirk*

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Maybe it will undergo a drastic transformation similar to the new, improved and gentrified nearby community of Leslieville increasing property values and pushing low-income families out.

Actually, let’s leave this hood as is.

Smooches xo

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