Little Italy is still one of the most popular destinations in Toronto for house-hunters looking for glorious tree-lined streets and stunning Victorian homes with plenty of character.
It’s also one of the most happening neighbourhoods in this city. With its popular restaurants, cafes, bakeries, clothing stores, shoe boutiques, and retro record shops, and it is no wonder why. With so much to do, at every turn, it is also one of the more relaxing parts of the city to enjoy.
The Italian trattorias, known for their family-style, casual dining, are as much about the social atmosphere as the food itself. If you’re not that hungry, but still craving good company, head to one of the traditional Italian coffee shops or billiard halls. These “social clubs” are filled with conversation, laughter and many passionate discussions about soccer.
Little Italy Real Estate
The majority of Little Italy’s row-houses and attached Victorian homes were built between 1880 and 1910. These houses are set on narrow tree-lined streets with parking facilities located at the back of the property, off a rear laneway.
In-line with the European style of the area, surrounding residential side streets (off of College Street) hug visitors with well-manicured lawns, immaculate front porches, beautiful brick homes, waving hands, and friendly faces. The residential makeup of Little Italy varies between the old and young and old-school and new-school.
In tune with the rest of the city, Little Italy’s housing market is in high demand. People who have lived in Little Italy a long time seldom want to leave the convenience, community, and welcoming ‘vibe’ so rare in big city living behind.
Some of the most in-demand streets can be found in the Little Italy neighbourhood. Palmerston, Crawford, Euclid, Manning – all of these streets are what detached homeowners’ dreams are made of. Some steals can still be found for an untouched house in desperate need of a gut-job, but most you’ll find are fully renovated stunners that were snagged up a few years ago by motivated flippers looking to make their real estate dreams come true.
Drive north from College along Palmerston to see some of the area’s fancier homes. Lack of inventory is having an upward effect on the pricing here in general, as popularity remains steady and availability remains low.
A small handful of low-rise condos are making their way into the area, for first-time buyers and those not looking for a full-on detached house, this could be a good option. One we have our eye on is the Carvalo Condos coming to 877 College Street.
The patios and streets are full most times of the year, but if you’re heading down to this neighbourhood on a weekend, be prepared for a lively buzz unlike any in Toronto. Patios are packed, cafes are full and friendly faces line the streets.
If you live in this area you’ll frequent “The Dip”, or as non-residents call it, Café Diplomatico. This popular destination has become a Toronto institution for coffee lovers and has even been used as a set by filmmakers. There might be a line-up just to get a seat, but the savoury Italian dishes, reasonable prices and people-watching opportunities make it well worth the wait.
Although the area is still traditionally Italian, there are a number of other restaurants that have found huge followings on College Street. On one side you’ll find Bar Raval – one of the top restaurants in all of Toronto. Bar Raval is similar to its sibling restaurant Bar Isabel with a perpetually changing menu of Spanish tapas, but with a casual atmosphere that involves mostly standing room and a bar laden with pintxos.
It’s another project of Grant van Gameren, who also has Eastern European pub Tennessee Tavern and mezcal-heavy bars El Rey and Pretty Ugly. Unlike these other places, though, Raval is open early til late for coffee and pastries up to cocktails and conservas.
Another one of our favourite spots in Little Italy that’s not on the super-fancy side is Duff’s Wings. Uber popular for their variety of flavours and one of the best poutine’s in the city, it’s a reason in itself to venture to this neighbourhood. Tuesday nights are their wing specials – we dare you to try the Armageddon – eat them up and get your name on their wall of fame.
Little Italy, with its tree-lined streets and sought-after addresses will remain at the top of buyers wish lists for many years to come. If you’d like to see the latest listings that we think are good picks, or if you’d like to see what your Little Italy home is worth, simply fill out our form below – we’ll be in touch right away.