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A Scandinavian guide to Toronto

Posted by Guest Contributor / August 23, 2012

toronto scandinavianToronto is a city that boasts about its multiculturalism. You can find anything and anyone here from any corner of the globe. But it seems that the entire Scandinavian and Nordic region has been ignoring Toronto, and I'm not talking about H&M and IKEA.

So, what's a Scandophile like me to do without booking a flight to the cold, reserved cities of Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm? With some digging, it is actually possible to find Scandinavian goods here in Toronto. Hopefully this list will tide you over until your next (or first) visit to the land of welfare, winter and wienerbrød.

Note: While Finland is technically "Nordic" and not "Scandinavian," it's still included in this guide.


toronto scandinavianHansen's Danish Bakery (1017 Pape Avenue)
Customers - Danish and non-Danish alike - have been raving about Hansen's danishes, butter cookies and strudels baked in-house. Danish canned and jarred goods line the walls of this tiny east-end gem of Toronto, including the very special pålægchokolade - thin slices of chocolate for buttered toast.

The Danish Pastry House (366 Revus Avenue, Port Credit, Mississauga)
The Danish Pastry House is the holy grail of Danish pastries in the GTA and possibly beyond. Hidden in an industrial plaza at the end of a residential road in Port Credit, the classic marzipan-lined spandauer and cinnamon rolls here compete with some of Copenhagen's best native bakeries. The 10-month old bakery is only open to the public Saturday 11am to 1pm, and Sunday 12pm to 2pm, while the rest of the week is wholesale.

toronto scandinavianTHOR Espresso Bar (35 Bathurst Street)
While there is nothing remotely Norse about Thor's servings, their menu gets points for mentioning Mjölnir, or Thor's Hammer. The in-house Mjölnir espresso is almost as intense as a red-eye or a Red Bull (pick your poison). If you can't handle the intensity, Thor has a plethora of great espresso-based drinks. But the best part about this place is the atmosphere - the vibrant Viking mural lights up the room beautifully.

IKEA (various locations)
There are actually zero places to get a proper Scandinavian meal in Toronto, aside from IKEA where you can find sumptuous meatballs, salmon, open-face sandwiches and marzipan cakes. The legacy of Scandinavian food in Toronto has been short-lived; meanwhile, Copenhagen has been having a culinary renaissance for the past few years with celebrated restaurants like Noma. Plainly put, Toronto needs a real taste of Scandinavia.

toronto scandinavianFanny Chadwick's (268 Howland Avenue)
For a morning treat, Fanny Chadwick's offers traditional Finnish pancakes and smoked fish as part of their brunch menu. The rest of the menu might not read Scandinavian but I don't hear anyone complaining. (Note: Holy Oak Cafe also used to serve Finish pancakes but they no longer offer it.)

Viking Foods (31 Railside Road, Unit 5)
This Finnish-Canadian owned shop in industrial Don Mills has been in business for over 56 years, stocked with Swedish crisp breads, jams, tubed caviar, mandatory licorice, and chocolates from Finnish brands like Karl Fazer and Dumle. This is the only place I've seen Swedish cream cheese, but unfortunately, I have yet to see imports of lascivious Danish butter.

Beaches Bake Shop (900 Kingston Road)
Toronto's "only Swedish cafe" serves fresh soups, quiches and salads that are not particularly Scandinavian. However, what is Scandinavian here are the divine servings of Sarah Bernard chocolate meringue cakes and marzipan-based Dammsugare and Princess Cakes. The cafe is a hub of activity with cooking classes and an annual Swedish Cinnamon Bun Day in early October. Find Kalles Kaviar, saft (syrup) and packages of rose-hip soup, nyponsoppa, on the pantry without having to trek to IKEA.


Change (315 Queen Street West)
Toronto is one of the few locations in North America where you can find Change lingerie from Denmark. Change is good, so don't feel stuck at La Senza or La Vie en Rose. Whether essential or luxurious, Change offers an affordable range of bra sizes from A to J and bra-fitting services to boot.

toronto scandinavianDESIGN

Mjölk (2959 Dundas Street West, at Keele)
Mjölk ("milk" in Swedish) is the Scandophile's design dream come true. Clean and minimalist, the store carries furniture, housewares and harmonious accessories from Swedish and Japanese designers. Increasingly, the owners are carrying brands America and Canada that fit their aesthetic such as Hoi Bo. While you're on Dundas, check out Everyday Housewife (1066 Dundas Street West) for Bev Hisey's collection of vintage Scandinavian glass.

The Finnish Place (7670 Yonge Street, Thornhill)
It's no doubt that Finland has mastered bright and coloruful interior décor. Since 1971, the Finnish Place has been carrying hoards of beautiful things from brands like Iitala and Marimekko in Thornhill. With iconic ceramics, textiles, gifts and Moomin accessories (though they could use more), the shop also offers affordable Finnish snacks and shampoos. This place is definitely wedding-registry worthy.

toronto scandinavianHästens (18 Distillery Lane)
Feel like spending five figures on a luxury Swedish mattress? Then Hästens is for you! The family-owned business from Koping, Sweden, has been serving the royal family of Sweden since 1852 with its all-natural beds. Hand-made from horsehair, flax, cotton, down, pine, wool and Swedish steel, Hästens is instantly recognizable with its large blue-checked gingham textiles and linens. While in the Distillery District, also check out Bergo, known to carry Arne Jacobsen, Georg Jensen, Henning Koppel, Alvar Aalto and Design House Stockholm.

TORP (345 Wellesley Street East)
TORP represents Danish and Scandinavian design companies and carries the unforgettable space-age silverware of Georg Jensen, which is sure to convert you to mid-century modern Danishness forever. TORP preaches quality from renowned game-changing designers such as PP Mobler, Muuto and Askman. This is where you go to for Danish Design 101.

toronto scandinavianBoConcept (230 Adelaide Street East)
BoConcept is an international brand that started in the tiny town of Herning, Denmark in the 1950s. Now it is Denmark's most global retail furniture chain, specializing in basic home goods as well as custom designs. At its Toronto location, you can find work from Anders Nørgaard and Morten Georgsen, just to name a few, and plenty of Danish-inspired designs.

Scan Décor (1200 Kennedy Road)
Scan Décor in Scarborough is the place you go to die happy on the legendary Norwegian Ekornes-Stressless recliner. While the store carries some wooden teak furniture, they mostly specialize in splurge-worthy couches, sofas, and armchairs. In the mood for more teak? The Teak Gallery (2623 Eglington Avenue East) sells the largest selection of Scandinavian furniture in the GTA, and GUFF (1142 Queen Street East) and Machine Age Modern (1000 Queen Street East) are known for carrying Danish and Norwegian vintage teak furniture.

Russet & Empire (390 Keele Street)
Recognized for its vintage Canadian memorabilia, Russet & Empire loves a culture that embraces the winter. That's why in the last two years, the owners have been traveling to Sweden on buying trips, drawing parallels between Swedish and Canadian culture. This Junction store has the potential to become an adorable house of mid-century Swedish design and attract aficionados from all over the city.


Harbourfront Swedish Christmas Festival, end of November
Swedes love their Christmas celebrations. At the Christmas Festival you can find ornaments, Swedish books, and rows upon rows of tubed salmon, jarred herring, elderflower jam, and an assortment of crackers and mustards. Drink the glogg, a spiced mulled wine from Northern Europe. This is as Nordic as Toronto gets, so don't miss out.

Steve Gravestock's programming, Toronto International Film Festival
Want to know about Scandinavian film in the city? Steve Gravestock has built his reputation in Nordic film programming during TIFF. This year, Steve has scheduled loads of Norwegian films at this year's festival (90 Minutes, Kon-Tiki, All that Matters is Past). Also check out Danish films (The Hunt, A Hijacking), Icelandic film The Deep, Finnish film Road North, and Swedish film Blondie in September. More films TBA.

Writing by Erin Pehlivan



tea / August 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm
"While Finland is technically "Nordic" and not "Scandinavian..."

Jake / August 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm
Any of the Danish places carry Anton Berg marzipan?

Viking foods used to carry Norwegian freia mjölkchoklad, but not anymore, can't find it anywhere here anymore, only when I'm in Oslo once a year.
P. replying to a comment from tea / August 23, 2012 at 01:38 pm
What's wrong?
theoadorno / August 23, 2012 at 01:38 pm
while only having an 'on-line' presence, this web shop based in Toronto sells a variety of Icelandic sheepskins and Sami reindeer hides.

"Local pick-up is available here in Toronto upon special request."
Svej / August 23, 2012 at 01:44 pm
Finally! Scandinavia and the other Nordic countries are severely under-represented in Toronto. Lack of demographic I suppose ...

Also, for a taste of Sweden, you could check out the Beaches Bakeshop in the Upper Beaches (

Now if only someone can point me in the direction of some Swedish-style waffles! ;)
Melissa / August 23, 2012 at 01:54 pm
You forgot the vegan danish bakery. Their frozen vegan lasagna and cupcakes are amazing!
Kristen / August 23, 2012 at 01:55 pm
Jake: I believe Hansen's carries the Anthon Berg chocolate covered marzipan bars.
Miss Kris / August 23, 2012 at 02:06 pm
It's not really IN Toronto but expat Danes looking for authentic and awesome food, B&B, and events hall try Sunset Villa in Collingwood. Yes, it's also (sorta of?) a retirement home but it's amazing and the people you will meet there are so kind.
Ben / August 23, 2012 at 02:06 pm
Torontonian living in Copenhagen right now. Was pretty awesome to see this article.

Just to note, the Scandinavian tour of Toronto won't be complete until there is a joint that serves Smørrebrod and Cocio.

@tea Nordic does not mean Scandinavian. Different language families and histories.
Ben / August 23, 2012 at 02:07 pm
Should clarify: Scandinavia is a Nordic country, but not all Nordic countries are in Scandinavia.
Ben / August 23, 2012 at 02:07 pm
Jesus Christ I am dumb....Scandinavian countries are Nordic countries.
Heather / August 23, 2012 at 02:10 pm
Love me some Scandinavia! Didn't know about many of these places, but HIGHLY recommend the Danish Pastry House, mmmm.... spandauer
Stephen / August 23, 2012 at 02:18 pm
*warning - shamless plug!*

For what it's worth, my wife and I have a Toronto-based Etsy store where we specialize in Scandiavian items. You can check it out here:
Katya / August 23, 2012 at 02:24 pm
And don't forget the vintage side of things!
the lemur replying to a comment from tea / August 23, 2012 at 02:33 pm
Under Fashion, you might want to add the fact that you can get Bruun og Stengade men's shirts from Denmark at the Bay and there's some Swedish brand whose name escapes me at Tip Top.
Erin replying to a comment from the lemur / August 23, 2012 at 02:36 pm
Yeah, there are quite a lot of clothing stores that carry Scandinavian brands like Acne, Fjallraven, Cheap Monday, Nudie...a bit too many to be included on this list. There isn't one clothing store that specifically carries *only* Scandinavian brands though. That would have been ideal for this article. Thanks for the suggestion!
Mike replying to a comment from Jake / August 23, 2012 at 02:46 pm
Hi Jake.
I have heard that Marabou Milk chocolate is the same recipe as the Freia. We have Marabou Milk, Hazelnut and Dark chocolate in stock now.
Robert / August 23, 2012 at 02:49 pm
Any Iceland anything in Toronto (besides the aforementioned wool sweaters)? Was just there and absolutely fell in love with the place!
katya replying to a comment from Katya / August 23, 2012 at 03:07 pm
And I should have added that we are in Toronto too! Local pick up available!
katya / August 23, 2012 at 03:07 pm

And I should say that we are also in Toronto, local pick up is available!
GRBY / August 23, 2012 at 03:15 pm
Movenpick has a very Scandinavian taste and feel to it. It's Swiss, which is quite similar.
the lemur replying to a comment from GRBY / August 23, 2012 at 04:04 pm
I strongly disagree. There is little about the appearance of Mövenpick that feels Scandinavian and nothing in the way of food that comes closely to suggesting, say, a Danish sandwich place or bakery. They actually don't even do a good job of representing their Swissness, aside from a few items. And Swiss things are Scandinavian things are usually more different than they are similar, except perhaps in the area of design.
Miss Kris replying to a comment from katya / August 23, 2012 at 04:24 pm
Oh mercy. Please open a store. Or a pop-up, or anything where I can try this jewelry on in-person.
Pk replying to a comment from the lemur / August 23, 2012 at 04:45 pm
Please tell us how Coke and New Coke differ.
PDG / August 23, 2012 at 05:08 pm
I'll check out the shop in Don Mills, as I'm almost out of Mills kaviar. I live in the Junction, and have been to Mjolk numerous times. As a Norwegian, I can't really agree that their stuff is typical or traditional, especially since they started carrying Japanese items. When I asked where things are sourced (Norge is a big country) they just said, "In Oslo", leading me to believe they shop online. Norsk and Swedish design are beautiful, but some of the retailers here are charging as much/more than you'd pay in Norway or Sweden, where things cost much more than they do here.
the lemur replying to a comment from Pk / August 23, 2012 at 05:13 pm
False comparison. It's up to GRBY to provide examples of how Swiss things and Scandinavian things are 'quite similar'.
Kara / August 23, 2012 at 06:34 pm
Coming from the Sudbury area (high Finnish population) and from a Finnish background I thank blogto for shining some light on where I can get my Finnish goods in the gta! I didn't really think there were any places!
matpakke replying to a comment from PDG / August 23, 2012 at 07:51 pm
PDG, where do you get Mills kaviar in Toronto? I miss it so! (I also miss Kavli flavoured cheese spread--a guilty pleasure.)

To contribute to the general thread, the Intersteer now has a Scandinavian-inspired menu (well, at least a portion of the menu). I haven't been yet, so I can't comment on the food. Here's the menu for those interested:
Erin replying to a comment from matpakke / August 23, 2012 at 09:30 pm
Thanks for your contribution. That place looks amazing. So happy they have smorrebrod, can't wait to try it out.
adventurefood / August 23, 2012 at 09:40 pm
The Inter Steer on Roncesvalles just overhauled their menu. It includes smørrebrød, Swedish meatballs, herring, and other Northern European "bodega" food. Akvavit is at the bar
Alana / August 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm
This is perfect. Just moved back to Toronto from Copenhagen and am in insane withdrawal. Does Hansen's sell rugbrød?
Mike / August 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm
This is an unexpected and awesome list! Thanks.

True, Swedes do love their christmas celebrations - I went to Gothenburg in 2005 about 2 weeks before christmas, and I already felt like it was the 25th. Everything was very well done and cutesy, and it was one of my favourite holidays. Definitely checking out the Harbourfront Swedish Christmas Festival!
evan / August 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm
This is the best list ever. I have one major addition. TIFF!!! Steve Gravestock programs the best scandinavian films… I've seen so many great Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, etc. films over the years. It's definitely my favourite region for filmmaking.
Erin replying to a comment from Alana / August 24, 2012 at 11:13 am
I believe I saw rugbrød somewhere, though I am not sure. It's worth it to call these places and find out because surely someone will be selling it in Toronto. Only thing missing is Danish butter to go with the rugbrød! Best butter I've had in my life.
Juli replying to a comment from Robert / August 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm
Hi Robert - we sell Icelandic design items in our shop Mjolk in the Junction :)
Beaches Bakeshop & Cafe' / September 13, 2012 at 09:51 pm
Thanks for mentioning our cafe on this great list! We bake fresh Swedish Cinnamon buns with cardamom every day. We also carry lots of neccesary chocolates and candy! Come by for a visit!
Birgitta / September 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Hillside Cafe at 594 Mount Pleasant Rd specializes in Finnish and Estonian foods.
They produce Pastries, breads, kringles, European style dark rye, sweet and sour rye, cookies. They also carry a great deli section and a wide variety of imported product from Finland and Sweden.
Sonia / October 30, 2012 at 09:51 am
Anyone know where I can find Norwegian lutefisk and lefse in the GTA area? I brought Linie Aquavit back from Saskatchewan at Thanksgiving, but would love to have the food to go with it. If need be, I will make the lefse myself, but my landlord might object to the lutefisk smell... LOL
Matt King / December 25, 2012 at 01:23 pm
I know it is NOT scandinavian, but my girlfriend went to Finland last year and told me about a delicious food that she calls "squeeky cheese". I think its like a loaf or big wheel of cheese, or a mix of cheese and something else??

Anyways, does anyone know what I am talking about and if there is somewhere in Toronto that carries it.

Would be a nice surprise.
vicki / January 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm
These places are not nearly as close to the food you get in norway and sweden. even IKEA is closer.
Mark / January 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm
you missed Karelia Kitchen in Bloordale (bloor/duff)
all scandinavian, all delicious
the lemur replying to a comment from vicki / January 10, 2013 at 12:31 am
You're kidding, right? Most of these places offer exactly the things you can get in Scandinavia (and not just 'Norway and Sweden', thanks very much), or something made authentically.

Meanwhile, IKEA being its usual cheap outsourcing self, aside from a few items, sells 'Swedish' food items that don't even come from Sweden. Meatballs from Hungary or somewhere like that, same deal with the sauce. Enjoy.
Daniel replying to a comment from tea / February 10, 2013 at 09:17 am
I really liked your comment
Thank you
Daniel replying to a comment from Ben / February 10, 2013 at 09:20 am
Thank you! liked your comment! People don't attention about geography as much as they shoould
Daniel replying to a comment from Ben / February 10, 2013 at 09:20 am
Sorry ! Pay attention, I meant
Daniel replying to a comment from vicki / February 10, 2013 at 09:26 am
Thank you Vicki! I have visited different places in Toronto, which are claiming that they support Scandinavian food and culture, but as you mentioned Ikea is closer. I bought frozen cinnamon buns from IKEA and just put them in Oven. It was exactly like cinnamon bun in Göteborg.
fandy / February 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm
Hello, can you help me for review my blog,i think its goodd for my article, if I written back. Regards
Mary replying to a comment from Miss Kris / March 8, 2013 at 09:36 am
Hi.Just a correction on the location of Sunset Villa - it is in Crieff - just a few minutes off the 401 at the Guelph/Aberfoyle exit. All are welcome to enjoy the 50+ acres of parkland, authentic Danish restaurant (Thursday to Sunday), events such as Constitution Day picnic and St. Hans Day (including bonfire), and the friendly people.
Staffan / March 17, 2013 at 02:39 pm
Quick question. How do you think a big swedish café with a Deli in it would work in Toronto?
I got some plans.....
Jorgen replying to a comment from Staffan / April 5, 2013 at 04:40 pm
Swdish cafe? Where? Sign me up! Just make sure to have some Norwegian treats included. ;-)
M / May 11, 2013 at 06:33 pm
You may want to add the new Tiger of Sweden store to the list too. Ordning&Reda also has a store in Toronto now I believe. There is also the Little Norway park downtown if one is interested in their history in the city during the second world war.

Actually Scandinavians are generally under represented as a whole in North America, even in the Midwest and the west and what have you. Toronto is actually not bad in that regards. It is because the majority moved there more than a century ago. The only relatively large scale recent immigrants are the Danes. And they used to have more of a presence in Toronto. Remember Copenhagen Room? The Finns also has a relatively big presence in the city as well.

But I think a big Swedish cafe would work in Toronto. With some nice Swedish cinnamon buns and seasonal baked goods, maybe even daily lunches like those workman's course, meatballs, soup...etc. You can even market those cake days like Cinnamon bun days and Lucia bun days like they do in Sweden. I think Torontoians would take to the fika culture.
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Jeri / July 20, 2013 at 03:58 pm
I was a Scandinavian home furnishings retailer in Ottawa from the fifties until the nineties. I am downsizing my home and have many items from a variety of artists from Den Permanente and other high end suppliers as well as a lot of Rosenthal Studio Line and Boda glass artifacts.
I can furnish pictures and sizes. My preference would naturally be to sell multiple pieces at one time.
Marko Paajanen / September 7, 2013 at 04:06 pm
Just to help you with your facts. The five "official" Scandinavian" countries are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, FINLAND, and ICELAND. A country can be both Nordic and Scandinavian (Nordic combined sports for example have their roots in all the Scandinavian countries).
the lemur replying to a comment from Marko Paajanen / September 8, 2013 at 12:32 am
There is no 'official' definition of Scandinavia as being those five (who would define that?), but it's most commonly understood to be Norway and Sweden (together, the Scandinavian peninsula) and Denmark.

That's the geographical entity and it coincides with an area bound together by culture, history and language. Finland obviously has connections to that region (primarily to Sweden) but it's not automatically included unless you use the term Fenno-Scandinavia (which extends further to include places like Karelia).

At most, you could include Iceland, the Faroes and the possessions of the three main countries in the definition of Scandinavia, but the more you add the more it becomes the Nordic countries.
Coffee / September 21, 2013 at 11:45 pm
Tea, what are you head desking about? Finland is not a Scandinavian nation, just as Newfoundland is not a Maritime province? What's your beef? (Or rather, your elk?)
pz / October 25, 2013 at 11:01 am
hej BlogTO, time to update this list with Karelia Kitchen!!! :)

tack sa mycket
E.P. replying to a comment from pz / November 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm
I totally agree. I'm not sure what the process is and whether or not I, as the original writer, need to add it to the guide or not. Better check with an editor.
seo for writers / December 6, 2013 at 12:32 am
Nice response in return of this issue with solid arguments
and explaining the whole thing about that.
Faktura Zaliczkowa / January 8, 2014 at 11:15 pm
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AnnaTvinnereim / January 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm
Just as an FYI, I am the owner of Beaches Bakeshop & Cafe' and we have decided to close our doors for good on January 30th. Until then we are serving SEMLA buns and of course our ever so popular Swedish Cinnamon Buns with Cardamom. Also known as Pulla, in Finland! Drop by before the end and thanks for the past 7 years, it has really been a blast!
Tapio / January 22, 2014 at 04:13 am
Here comes belated answer to Matt King. You're talking about 'Leipäjuusto' = Bread cheese

check this link...
Monica / February 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm
You can order online from:
Jordana / July 3, 2014 at 02:30 am
I'm seriously debating opening an establishment called A Special Place in Helsinki
Mike L / August 24, 2014 at 07:42 pm
Finland is so very much part of Scandinavia. As is Iceland. All Scandinavian countries have a similar flag design. Also, Finland was once part of Sweden. #FACEPALM
Mike L / August 24, 2014 at 07:44 pm
One update. Vikings on Laird burned down a few years ago.
Anna / August 25, 2014 at 10:11 pm
Another update is needed here!
My cafe' Beaches Bakeshop & Cafe' is not closed after all. we are very much up and running. As previously we sell scandinavian products and bake lots of traditional swedish/ scandinavian treats! Please come for a visit!
Koskinen / November 10, 2014 at 04:56 pm
Although it is North of Toronto (Newmarket) you can't forget the best Finnish bakery there is. It used to be located on Laird Dr. in Toronto until it was burned down by a fire in 2009.

It is now located at 350 Davis Dr in Newmarket and it is phenomenal. If you're a Finn like me, THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO! For authentic, fresh Finnish goods.

Tim Maloney / December 5, 2014 at 04:34 pm
Looking to buy some lefse in the GTA for Christmas...can anyone help... / May 21, 2015 at 11:43 am
No longer the preserve of the classical or traditional home these sturdy indigo and cyan tones bring a vibrant contemporary edge to the living rooms above.
Eugenia replying to a comment from Alana / August 24, 2015 at 01:17 pm
Alana, you can buy a rugbrød mix at any IKEA here and bake it yourself! Wasn't able to find proper rugbrød here yet, but you also need a piece of dough from Denmark anyway ;)
Tjøne / December 12, 2015 at 02:57 am
Of what I've seen of this city in not surprised, it lives in stark contrast to Scandanavian culture and values so I am not suprise anyone would want to setup shop here. The shops which exist here which cater to those interested in our culture all seem to be design-centric which is fine, however, this by no means constitutes a "Scandanavaian shop" merely Scandinavian products. The most authentic Scandinavian shop you have is IKEA and their market has more than meatballs. Canada is not a hot spot for us to settle abroad, if anything we look at places like BC first, Toronto is a lifeless mashup of shops trying to remain relevant... Sadly, I'd like to have seen some things uniquely Toronto (design, food etc) rather than having national stereotypes such as Tim Hortons and Hockey offered up.
Other Cities: Montreal