Greektown, also known as The Danforth, is a commercial-residential neighbourhood and ethnic enclave in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located on Danforth Avenue, between Chester Avenue and Dewhurst Boulevard, in east Toronto. Named after Asa Danforth, Jr., an American contractor who designed Queen Street and Kingston Road, the area is known for its architecture dating back to as early as 1910, and for its number of Greek restaurants and stores. The area was one of the major settlement areas of Greek immigrants to Toronto after World War I.
Prior to World War II, Toronto's nascent Greek population of about 3,000 was concentrated in the area bounded by Yonge Street, Carlton Street, Church Street and what is now Dundas Street East. It was this area that was the focus of the 1918 Toronto anti-Greek riot.
In the 1950s, the Danforth saw an influx of Italian immigrants followed by Greek immigrants in the 1960s - many of whom were fleeing political and economic unrest which culminated in the seizure of power by the Greek military junta of 1967–74. In the 1970s and 1980s the Danforth was regarded as the largest Greektown in North America.
In 1993, the BIA Board of Management's lobbying of City Hall paid off, and the BIA was officially renamed "GreekTown on the Danforth". More recently, the area has experienced a wave of gentrification as higher-priced restaurants and bars have moved in, as well as a European-style public square (at Logan Avenue). Greektown on the Danforth boasts one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per kilometre in the world. The neighbourhood is home to local raconteur Tom Petkos, and is mentioned in the Barenaked Ladies song, The Old Apartment, and by critically acclaimed author Joseph Assenza in his novel, "The History of John." Several scenes in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding were shot here, mentioned on free walking tours of the neighbourhood.
Some parts of Greektown are still dominated by Canadians of Greek descent (Greek-Canadians). Greeks constitute the most populous ethnic group in the Toronto—Danforth ward located in Greektown, at 7.3% of the total 100,000 population).
Taste of the Danforth
The annual Taste of the Danforth is a large food festival held over 2½ days in mid-August. With no admission charge, the event welcomes all to enjoy modestly priced samples of cuisine available at restaurants along the stretch of Danforth Avenue from Broadview to Jones Avenues. Greek food prevails, but there are numerous options, including Thai, Chinese, Brazilian, Indian, Japanese and others. A midway offers games, children's rides, and interactive sports that include a climbing wall, street hockey and basketball. Several stages offer musical entertainment spanning the globe, with one stage emphasizing Greek performers of music, song, and dance. The event has grown substantially since the first Taste, in 1994, when 5,000 attended. In 2008, it drew over a million people, moving to 1.5 million by 2015.
The street signs in Greektown are in both English and modern Greek.
- Danforth Avenue – Οδος Ντανφορθ (Odos Ntanforth)
- "Three dead, including shooter, 12 injured in Toronto mass shooting".
- "Our Story". Taste of the Danforth. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
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