Palmerston-Little Italy

Emily May Rose Artbox
938 College Street
The traffic box is transformed into a historic Toronto low-rise apartment building. Throughout the windows and fire escapes are a gang of everyone's favourite Toronto mascot - racoons, of course - climbing around and causing mischief, as they do.

Portuguese Canadian Walk of Fame
722 College Street
The Portuguese Canadian Walk of Fame was established at this corner back in 2013 to celebrate 60 years of Portuguese immigration to Canada and instill pride within the Portuguese community. It commemorates world-famous Portuguese-Canadians such as singers Nelly Furtado and Shawn Desman as well as community heroes like Antonio Sousa who, after immigrating to Toronto in the 1950s, provided fellow newcomers with shelter, meals and employment assistance.

Italian Walk of Fame
College Street from Grace Street to Clinton Street
The Italian Walk of Fame celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of Italians in a wide range of fields from business, science, art, film, theatre, finance, medicine, literature, architecture, religion and politics. The walk was created in 2009 by Italian Canadian singer/songwriter Jim Bertucci, best known for the band Abraham's Children, and Marisa Beaco Lang. Stars are set into the pavement along the north side of College Street from Grace to Clinton Streets, and include inductees such as Phil Esposito, Johnny Lombardi, Beverly D'Angelo and Connie Francis, among other luminaries.

The Former Pylon Theatre
608 College Street
The Pylon Theatre opened in 1939, and was owned and operated by Ray Lewis. Lewis was an unusual theatre operator at the time as she was a woman. Born Rae Levinsky, she became the editor of the 'Canadian Moving Picture Digest', and planned to build a venue that provided the pinnacle of entertainment. When it opened, the Pylon boasted a roller-skating rink, dance hall, and 749 seat theatre. The building was designed by Bernard Schwartz, and is a prime example of late Art Deco style. The yellow brick facade with rounded corners, raised brick detail and curved marquee with signage help the building stand out on the street. This landmark cinema has screened Hollywood movies, indie films, hosted film festivals and other niche fare over its long history, and was added to the Inventory of Heritage Properties in 2005. The theatre was a filming location for the 2013 feature 'What If'.

Palmerston Gates
Bloor and College at Palmerston Boulevard
Unique among the many streets in the neighbourhood, the Palmerston Gates mark the late Victorian residential development that spanned from College to Bloor. At the north and south end of Palmerston Boulevard, large stone gates indicate the change from the surrounding neighbourhood to this unusual enclave. Many of the houses along the street were built between 1903 and 1910, and were originally large, single family homes for the upper-middle class. These buildings were eventually converted into multi-family dwellings as neighbourhood demands for more housing increased by mid-century. The original street lights were intended for pedestrians rather than motorists, which is why the lights are so much lower than typically found throughout the city. The gates and lights were added to the Heritage Properties Inventory in 1973, and still provide a pedestrian friendly walking experience at night.

Former Offices of Contrast Newspaper
28 Lennox Street
In the 1980s, you would have found the offices of Contrast newspaper, 'the eyes, ears and voice of the community' here at 28 Lennox Street. Founded in 1969 by Al Hamilton, the paper took a direct approach in covering topics of racism, justice issues, policing, education and immigration affecting the Black community. Hamilton came to Toronto in the 1950s, and worked for Italian language paper Corriere Canadese before taking over the West Indian News Observer, which evolved into Contrast and focused on the Black community. Contrast became the launchpad for several Black journalists in Toronto (such as Austin Clarke, Jojo Chintoh, Cecil Foster and Royson James), founded a support group for immigrants, and continued to advocate for visible minorities. The paper ceased publication in the early 1990s, but the legacy of Al Hamilton continues today.

Former Location of Honest Ed's
581 Bloor Street West
Use caution and observe from a distance as construction is taking place on site. Though Honest Ed's is no longer physically at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst, its impact can still be seen to this day. Ed and Anne Mirvish began their retail business in a small store in 1943. Over several years, they expanded, acquired and built up Honest Ed's into a 160,000 square foot retail space. Famous for the 23,000 lightbulbs used in its iconic signage and the puns and slogans used in its marketing, the promotional giveaways at the store were integral to the community for decades. The Victorian row-houses behind the main store were turned into smaller businesses and dubbed 'Mirvish Village'. Mirvish was also deeply involved in the world of 'show biz', purchasing several theatres and expanding his empire into this sphere of business. The store closed for good in 2017. Fortunately, images of the store remain in films such as 'The Long Kiss Goodbye', 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World', and the documentary 'There's No Place Like This Place, Anyplace'.

'Imagine Your Korea' Mural
675 Bloor Street West
Commissioned by the Korea Tourism Organization in Toronto, this mural graces the eastern wall of a grocery store to honour Korean heritage and culture. It includes King Sejong the Great, the famous Namsan Seoul Tower and Namdamun Gate in Seoul and Chomseondae, the oldest observatory in all of Asia. Peaking over the top of the building, you can also see Jose-Gabriel Kizmet's mural when standing on the corner of Bloor and Manning Avenue.

The Indigenous Murals Project (Bickford Centre) Johl Whiteduck Ringuette, Keitha Keeshig-Tobias
777 Bloor Street West
*Note - The murals are painted around the building, and are not all visible from sidewalks or level ground. The Indigenous Murals project at Bickford Centre achieved 12 new murals painted by artists that came together under the banner RUN - Red Urban Nation Arts Collective, with a focus on cultural celebration and reclamation. Traditional teachings, food, plants and medicines are an important theme of all the murals. 'Plants As Medicine' was a guiding statement and each artist branched out with their own creativity from that starting point. The Bickford Centre provides On the Line training programs in culinary arts for youth and young adults through the Toronto District School Board.

Jason Pinney & Jarus Mural
925 Bloor Street West
The mural on the side of this building was created by artists Jason Pinney and Jarus. Their use of Cubist realism embodies the theme of celebrating creativity through music and features a Les Paul guitar. This mural, completed in 2019, replaces one by Pinney originally created in 2008. This building was once the site of the Concord Tavern, which opened in the late 1940s and offered live music in the form of big band concerts. Shifting to rock, country and blues music in the 1960s, Conway Twitty, Bo Diddly and Duane Eddy could be seen on the stage. The Band, who eventually became Bob Dylan's back-up band, were originally formed here by Ronnie Hawkins as the house band The Hawks. The Concord Tavern closed in 1983.

Harbord Street Bridge
Harbord Street west of Grace Street
Along Harbord Street, on the south side of Bickford Park, sits the only visible piece of the partially buried Harbord Street Bridge. This bridge once used to connect Brockton Village to the University of Toronto Campus spanning over Garrison Creek. The bridge was completed in 1914, and was intended to allow for the residents to move through the newly created neighbourhoods. In 1917, infilling of the creek and valley had begun, and by the 1930s the creek was mostly filled in and the bridge crossing obsolete. Only the northern balustrades of the bridge remain visible today.

Bickford Park
400 Grace Street
Often overshadowed by the more-popular Christie Pits Park across the street, Bickford Park is a quaint green space nestled in between Bloor Street West and Harbord Street. The 2.8 hectare park features two baseball diamonds and an off-leash dog park. At the north end of the park sits the Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre. Named for the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductee and former coach of the Elizabeth Playground sports team, the centre offers a host of programming for families and preschoolers.

Explore Palmerston-Little Italy

Now is the time for residents to experience all that tourists have been raving about for years. Discover shops, stops, places and spaces on city main streets. Stay curious, Toronto.

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Don't Miss

Artists from various disciplines present messages of hope and resilience throughout the city in the form of text-based visual art installations.
Women Paint
Toronto Public Library: Dufferin/St. Clair Branch
1625 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6H 3L9

Check out main street storefront art installations, in the neighbourhood or nearby, created by Local Arts Organizations and Business Improvement Areas across the City.

Painting Icon StrollTO Guided Walks:

On select weekend dates, join guided walks and discover the diverse histories and cultural significance behind neighbourhood landmarks and attractions.
Learn more and register.

We hope that you enjoyed exploring this Toronto neighbourhood and found many other points of interest along the way. While StrollTO highlights some of the 'hidden gems' in the neighbourhood, there may be others that could be included in a future edition. Would you like to share a point of interest that you discovered in the neighbourhood? Email us at [email protected].

Neighbourhood Stroll

Palmerston-Little Italy was the destination for a diverse group of immigrants, and waves of newcomers have changed and shaped this neighbourhood for generations. An eclectic mix of the old and the new, strolling through the streets you might pass old buildings with new purpose, and new buildings with old souls. A collection of enticing shops, interesting food vendors, delightful murals and charming green spaces to enjoy await you in this little slice of the city. Some of the fantastic businesses are part of the many BIAs that can be found in this area, including the Little Italy, College Promenade, Bloorcourt Village, Korea Town, and Mirvish Village BIAs.

Main Streets: College Street, Bloor Street West, Bathurst Street, Harbord Street
  1. Emily May Rose Artbox
    938 College Street
    The traffic box is transformed into a historic Toronto low-rise apartment building. Throughout the windows and fire escapes are a gang of everyone's favourite Toronto mascot - racoons, of course - climbing around and causing mischief, as they do.
  2. Portuguese Canadian Walk of Fame
    722 College Street
    The Portuguese Canadian Walk of Fame was established at this corner back in 2013 to celebrate 60 years of Portuguese immigration to Canada and instill pride within the Portuguese community. It commemorates world-famous Portuguese-Canadians such as singers Nelly Furtado and Shawn Desman as well as community heroes like Antonio Sousa who, after immigrating to Toronto in the 1950s, provided fellow newcomers with shelter, meals and employment assistance.
  3. Italian Walk of Fame
    College Street from Grace Street to Clinton Street
    The Italian Walk of Fame celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of Italians in a wide range of fields from business, science, art, film, theatre, finance, medicine, literature, architecture, religion and politics. The walk was created in 2009 by Italian Canadian singer/songwriter Jim Bertucci, best known for the band Abraham's Children, and Marisa Beaco Lang. Stars are set into the pavement along the north side of College Street from Grace to Clinton Streets, and include inductees such as Phil Esposito, Johnny Lombardi, Beverly D'Angelo and Connie Francis, among other luminaries.
  4. The Former Pylon Theatre
    608 College Street
    The Pylon Theatre opened in 1939, and was owned and operated by Ray Lewis. Lewis was an unusual theatre operator at the time as she was a woman. Born Rae Levinsky, she became the editor of the 'Canadian Moving Picture Digest', and planned to build a venue that provided the pinnacle of entertainment. When it opened, the Pylon boasted a roller-skating rink, dance hall, and 749 seat theatre. The building was designed by Bernard Schwartz, and is a prime example of late Art Deco style. The yellow brick facade with rounded corners, raised brick detail and curved marquee with signage help the building stand out on the street. This landmark cinema has screened Hollywood movies, indie films, hosted film festivals and other niche fare over its long history, and was added to the Inventory of Heritage Properties in 2005. The theatre was a filming location for the 2013 feature 'What If'.
  5. Palmerston Gates
    Bloor and College at Palmerston Boulevard
    Unique among the many streets in the neighbourhood, the Palmerston Gates mark the late Victorian residential development that spanned from College to Bloor. At the north and south end of Palmerston Boulevard, large stone gates indicate the change from the surrounding neighbourhood to this unusual enclave. Many of the houses along the street were built between 1903 and 1910, and were originally large, single family homes for the upper-middle class. These buildings were eventually converted into multi-family dwellings as neighbourhood demands for more housing increased by mid-century. The original street lights were intended for pedestrians rather than motorists, which is why the lights are so much lower than typically found throughout the city. The gates and lights were added to the Heritage Properties Inventory in 1973, and still provide a pedestrian friendly walking experience at night.
  6. Former Offices of Contrast Newspaper
    28 Lennox Street
    In the 1980s, you would have found the offices of Contrast newspaper, 'the eyes, ears and voice of the community' here at 28 Lennox Street. Founded in 1969 by Al Hamilton, the paper took a direct approach in covering topics of racism, justice issues, policing, education and immigration affecting the Black community. Hamilton came to Toronto in the 1950s, and worked for Italian language paper Corriere Canadese before taking over the West Indian News Observer, which evolved into Contrast and focused on the Black community. Contrast became the launchpad for several Black journalists in Toronto (such as Austin Clarke, Jojo Chintoh, Cecil Foster and Royson James), founded a support group for immigrants, and continued to advocate for visible minorities. The paper ceased publication in the early 1990s, but the legacy of Al Hamilton continues today.
  7. Former Location of Honest Ed's
    581 Bloor Street West
    Use caution and observe from a distance as construction is taking place on site. Though Honest Ed's is no longer physically at the corner of Bloor and Bathurst, its impact can still be seen to this day. Ed and Anne Mirvish began their retail business in a small store in 1943. Over several years, they expanded, acquired and built up Honest Ed's into a 160,000 square foot retail space. Famous for the 23,000 lightbulbs used in its iconic signage and the puns and slogans used in its marketing, the promotional giveaways at the store were integral to the community for decades. The Victorian row-houses behind the main store were turned into smaller businesses and dubbed 'Mirvish Village'. Mirvish was also deeply involved in the world of 'show biz', purchasing several theatres and expanding his empire into this sphere of business. The store closed for good in 2017. Fortunately, images of the store remain in films such as 'The Long Kiss Goodbye', 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World', and the documentary 'There's No Place Like This Place, Anyplace'.
  8. 'Imagine Your Korea' Mural
    675 Bloor Street West
    Commissioned by the Korea Tourism Organization in Toronto, this mural graces the eastern wall of a grocery store to honour Korean heritage and culture. It includes King Sejong the Great, the famous Namsan Seoul Tower and Namdamun Gate in Seoul and Chomseondae, the oldest observatory in all of Asia. Peaking over the top of the building, you can also see Jose-Gabriel Kizmet's mural when standing on the corner of Bloor and Manning Avenue.
  9. The Indigenous Murals Project (Bickford Centre) Johl Whiteduck Ringuette, Keitha Keeshig-Tobias
    777 Bloor Street West
    *Note - The murals are painted around the building, and are not all visible from sidewalks or level ground. The Indigenous Murals project at Bickford Centre achieved 12 new murals painted by artists that came together under the banner RUN - Red Urban Nation Arts Collective, with a focus on cultural celebration and reclamation. Traditional teachings, food, plants and medicines are an important theme of all the murals. 'Plants As Medicine' was a guiding statement and each artist branched out with their own creativity from that starting point. The Bickford Centre provides On the Line training programs in culinary arts for youth and young adults through the Toronto District School Board.
  10. Jason Pinney & Jarus Mural
    925 Bloor Street West
    The mural on the side of this building was created by artists Jason Pinney and Jarus. Their use of Cubist realism embodies the theme of celebrating creativity through music and features a Les Paul guitar. This mural, completed in 2019, replaces one by Pinney originally created in 2008. This building was once the site of the Concord Tavern, which opened in the late 1940s and offered live music in the form of big band concerts. Shifting to rock, country and blues music in the 1960s, Conway Twitty, Bo Diddly and Duane Eddy could be seen on the stage. The Band, who eventually became Bob Dylan's back-up band, were originally formed here by Ronnie Hawkins as the house band The Hawks. The Concord Tavern closed in 1983.
  11. Harbord Street Bridge
    Harbord Street west of Grace Street
    Along Harbord Street, on the south side of Bickford Park, sits the only visible piece of the partially buried Harbord Street Bridge. This bridge once used to connect Brockton Village to the University of Toronto Campus spanning over Garrison Creek. The bridge was completed in 1914, and was intended to allow for the residents to move through the newly created neighbourhoods. In 1917, infilling of the creek and valley had begun, and by the 1930s the creek was mostly filled in and the bridge crossing obsolete. Only the northern balustrades of the bridge remain visible today.
  12. Bickford Park
    400 Grace Street
    Often overshadowed by the more-popular Christie Pits Park across the street, Bickford Park is a quaint green space nestled in between Bloor Street West and Harbord Street. The 2.8 hectare park features two baseball diamonds and an off-leash dog park. At the north end of the park sits the Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre. Named for the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductee and former coach of the Elizabeth Playground sports team, the centre offers a host of programming for families and preschoolers.

Accessibility information: Most of the points of interest on this stroll are viewable from the street. The murals at the Bickford Centre are painted around the building, and are not all visible from sidewalks or level ground. The Contrast and Honest Ed's buildings no longer exist. All other locations are visible from the sidewalk. Main roads are paved and level, and parks generally have paths.

Soundtracks of the City

From global superstars to local favourites and ones to watch, the Soundtracks of the City playlists all feature artists who have called Toronto home. Whether it’s a lyric about the neighborhood, an artist representing a cultural community, or a tie-in to the StrollTO itinerary itself, all the music reflects connections to an individual ward or the City as a whole.

Music was chosen based on an artist’s Spotify presence and each song’s broad appeal, as well as its associations with the cultures, languages and ethnicities that reflect Toronto’s neighborhoods and diverse music scene. Soundtracks of the City combines 425 songs that feature more than 500 different local artists or acts, showcasing songs in 23 different languages.