Toronto Canada, also known as the six! Home to the CNN tower, Degrassi, Poutine, King street and my favorite a thriving Black community! As a traveler whose visited the city, this time was for sure my favorite. Learning about Black history and heroes whose legacy runs deep throughout the city was not only inspiring but liberating. With Black excellence hailing from every inch of the earth #BLACKOWNEDTORONTO should be a MUST on your travel list.
Stay: Ode Toronto, is the cities only Black owned boutique hotel. Opened in 2021 Ode Hotel is a labor of love to the Little Portugal community.
Family owned and operated I knew immediately I wanted to support this accommodation. Ran by the Hebert family I spoke many times to Tiffany the eldest daughter and was greeted by Mother Ms.Erica. From the modern designs of the rooms to the inspiring rooftops this accommodation is a gem right in the thick of things. With food options galore, I was able to eat and drink well. A safe neighborhood I was able to run to and from a nearby park anytime of day. This property fills up quick, so make sure to start early!
Eat: Toronto's Black community showcases remarkable diversity, and this woven into the city's culinary landscape, offering an array of finger licking food choices.
Boukan was my first introduction to Haitian food and it did not disappoint! I had no idea where to start so I ordered everything.
Service was fast, staff was beyond friendly, the drinks were strong and the food was SO GOOD! I'm a huge Plantain and mango lover as well as Jerk anything and they had all those included. Boukan is definitely the move for brunch and it definitely is a favorite so reservations are a must.
Afrobeat Kitchen supplied the vibes from the moment we walked in. We literally danced from the front to the back patio and knew instantly we were going to enjoy. With Chop Life painted on the wall I again wanted to try everything. With a fantastic selection of West African food, we ate until we were full. I always appreciate when any Chef takes the time to speak to their guest. And even though Chef Victor is a fan of a football team (premiere league) I refuse to mention, please visit and tell him I sent you.
There's no shortage of Jamaican food in the city and I appreciate the story the Real Jerk Restaurant is creating. With multiple locations we made the mistake of going to the original Real Jerk instead of the Real Jerk Legacy and for the record, no matter which you go to you'll leave satisfied. With 2/4 of my crew being Jamaican when they clear their plate , you know its good!
The Real Jerk legacy recently opened in Little Italy and it's more than a restaurant, it's a full experience. With two floors to serve you good vibes and good food, check their schedule to see when they'll have live DJ's or bands.
Miss Lickklemores initially started off as a pop up and has rightfully earned its spot on King Street! An urban oasis paying homage to strong Black female matriarchs this restaurant is the ''It'' spot.
Deemed as ''Toronto’s first haute Caribbean-inspired dining house'' it is an amazing fine dining option. The food portions are flavorful and plenty and is a unique twist on your favorite Jamaican classic with modern flare. With so many options, make sure you save some room for the carrot cake!
See: I was shocked when I found out Toronto had a Black owned Bike tour! Toronto Bike Tours is the best way to see and learn about the city. Serving the city since 2008 Mr.Terrence has created an unforgettable experience. His knowledge of the city is impeccable and the locations you visit shows the true diversity of Toronto. There was one instant where we stopped at a light and the car next to us was playing some song we loved. My friends and I broke out in a full fledge bike performance, and when Mr.Terrence started dancing too, I knew we were in good hands. The tour can last anywhere from 2-4 hours , in order to fully enjoy please give yourself the full allotted time.
Do: If you're looking for a fun activity to do with friends, family or even for date night Fresh Paint studio will meet all your needs. I honestly thought it was going to be another sip and paint situation, but when I had the chance to really connect with the staff about the studio,
their mission and who they serve, it truly elevated my artist experience! I also loved that they embraced your art level wherever you're at and let you add your own interpretation to your artwork. My cousin is a sneaker head and she legit added some Nike's to her painting!
Ms.Roxane, the owner, is reason to visit all by herself. I loved the conversations we shared and the realness she displayed about the city and how best to support it. With both virtual and in person options you deserve a fresh paint experience!
Although it was closed for renovations, A Different Booklist Bookstore came highly recommended by everyone. I was able to pull up and peek through the doors and nothing feels better than seeing hundreds of books with your face on it.Open six days a week from 10:00am to 6:00pm definitely add it to your list.
Self Care : I love to see the Black community prioritizing self care. We are hard workers who deserve time to relax and rejuvenate. ST.Skin tones Beauty provides skincare for all shades. With products and services that speak to melanated features they have something for everyone. From the moment you arrive they ensure you're cozy and they waste no time. As a person always on the go prioritizing self care while on holiday is priority and I truly enjoyed my time with them.
When we pulled up to ST.Skin Tones we had no idea that they were part of a campaign with other Black owned businesses in the Oakwood village area.
Through QR codes and art you can learn about Black owned businesses and their owners in the area. This campaign is so brilliant and is one that can be used across destinations to celebrate Black owned businesses and support the people behind them.
I'm so excited to see how the Black businesses in Toronto continue to grow and support the cities needs. Toronto is a destination you visit multiple times as there's so much to offer. When you visit don't forget to leave a review in the app. Enjoy!