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Little Portugal is one of Toronto’s coolest neighbourhoods, and apparently, one of the world’s coolest too. Its rough borders are from Ossington to Lansdowne and College to the CNR train tracks.
In September 2018, Little Portugal’s Dufferin Grove subsection ranked 39th out of 50 “coolest neighbourhoods in the world,” by Time Out, a leading global media company. Dufferin Grove – and by extension, Little Portugal – beat out ‘hoods in Seattle, Buenos Aires and Beijing!
This west end neighbourhood has is the home base for Torontonians seeking a low-key atmosphere with lots to do. Surrounded by tree-lined streets and a bustling main strip, this Toronto gem offers the city a unique mix of amenities.
Besides being a shopping and entertainment haven, Little Portugal boasts some prime real estate, historic Victorian homes, and transit links envied by the rest of the city.
Residents flock to one of Toronto’s best parks, Dufferin Grove, for year-long recreation, or hit the lively Dundas West for a coffee and some people watching.
Its position a bit north of frenzied Queen West keeps things relatively calm, however, Little Portugal has enough street festivals, transit and housing to keep this area in popular demand.
Who lives in Little Portugal?
Brimming just above Queen West, Little Portugal is a mix of downtown families, young professionals and creative entrepreneurs. Your neighbour could be a newcomer to the city, a successful businessperson, an established family, or a young group of renters.
The following data was obtained from the 2016 Little Portugal neighbourhood census profile, and the City of Toronto Ward 18 profile. Average prices are determined by the realestatecondos.ca listings.
Population growth: 12.1%
Rent/Own: 56% / 44%
Median Age: 35
Average household income: 77,510
Average condo sale price: $994,331.36
Average condo rent price: $2,487.7
Average family size: 2
Population density: 12,859 people per square km
With a Walk Score of 88/100 and a Transit Score of 99/100, Little Portugal makes it easy for residents to traverse the megacity.
Two east-west streetcars serve the area and will drop commuters off at Line 1 (Yonge-University) stations if they so desire. The 506 Carlton stops at both Queen’s Park and College subway stations, while the 505 Dundas will take you to St. Patrick, Dundas or Broadview stations respectively.
North-south routes include the 29 Dufferin bus, the 63 Ossington bus and the 47 Lansdowne bus, all eventually arriving at terminal stations of the same name along TTC’s Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth).
No matter your destination, some of the city’s best transit links serve this busy neighbourhood.
Little Portugal amenities
Little Portugal benefits from its west end location in a variety of ways. It has one of Toronto’s busy shopping malls and the best in local grocery, retail and nightlife.
Shop ‘til you legitimately drop on Dundas West, one of Little Portugal’s main strips and one of the coolest in town. From Lansdowne to Ossington and beyond, you’ll find some of Toronto’s coolest boutique retail options that source and sell local fabric and designs, or, refurbish them.
Some of the most popular include:
- Penny Arcade Vintage
- Chosen Vintage
- VSP Consignment
- OVO Toronto Flagship
- SOOP SOOP
- Dufferin Mall
- Grasshopper Records
And even more if you head south on Ossington towards Queen West.
Well known restaurants and cafes
Dundas West and College Street make up one of Toronto’s freshest food destinations, with new spots popping up every season hoping to take advantage of the neighbourhood's popularity.
Both established and newer hotspots include:
- The Federal
- Loveless Café and Unlovable Bar
- Midfield Wine Bar & Tavern
- Enoteca Sociale
- Paris Paris
- Imanishi Japanese Kitchen
- Churrasqueira do Sardinha
- Laylow Brewery
- Tucana Coffee
- Pho Linh
- SoSo Food Club
- Han Moto
- The Lakeview Diner (24/7)
Little Portugal’s Dundas West is a welcome reprieve from its southern, more famed neighbour, Queen West, though it still holds its own as one of Toronto’s hottest nightlife destinations.
We will fill you in on some of the most popular below. Some are bar-restaurants, some are pool halls, and some are trusted live music venues, but most of all, they’re all yours to discover!
- The Dock Ellis Sports Bar
- The Libertine
- The City Pool
- The Dakota Tavern
- Get Well
- The Garrison
- The Baby G
- Lula Lounge
- The Communist’s Daughter
Schools in Little Portugal
Little Portugal isn’t just for the foodies and night revellers, it’s actually a viable school district and family friendly locale, attracting students from different points of Toronto’s west end – most notably from the Parkdale, Queen West and Trinity Bellwoods areas.
From junior and senior schools to high schools, French and Catholic schools, Little Portugal has a number of institutions to keep your kids busy. Below are some of the neighbourhood’s leading faculties:
- St. Mary’s Catholic Academy
- Bloor Collegiate Institute
- Alexander Muir/Gladstone Ave. Junior and Senior Public School
- The Grove Community School
- Shirley Street Public School
- Brock Junior Public School
- St. Helen Catholic School
- Toronto Ouest Secondary School
- Pope Francis Catholic School
- Ossington/Old Orchard Junior Public School
- Dewson Street Junior Public School
Parks in Little Portugal
What neighbourhood is complete without community green space? Little Portugal has a number of public parks popular with residents, dog walkers and folks out for a natural stroll.
First off, the ever-popular Trinity Bellwoods is at the eastern border of Little Portugal, just a bit farther than Ossington Ave. Next, Dufferin Grove Park is to Little Portugal’s north. Both parks offer the gamut of recreational activities, no matter the season.
From skateboarding ramps, campfire circles, outdoor volleyball and sports fields for the warm seasons, to ice hockey and skating rinks in the winter, either of these parks will show you something new in the city. Farmer’s markets are also run out of these two parks each season.
McCormick Park also houses an indoor ice rink and outdoor sports field, while Fred Hamilton playground will have your kids jumping and swinging from the jungle gym.
Toronto’s famous High Park and the popular Sorauren Park are not long commutes either.