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Little Italy is located south of College Street, north of Dundas Street West, east of Ossington Avenue, and west of Bathurst Street.
Although the name would suggest that this neighbourhood is exclusively Italian, that’s not the case. In fact, most of the first immigrants to the area weren’t even from Italy. The first residents of this neighbourhood were fugitive slaves escaping from the US. Over time, an influx of immigrants from Europe settled in the area. Ultimately, Italian immigrants moved in as other immigrant groups moved out, and the name “Little Italy” stuck. Today, there are still some Italian families living in the area. However, there’s also a sizable Portuguese-speaking contingent.
The mix of cultures means that there are frequent festivities or processions taking place on the streets, giving the neighbourhood a lively, welcoming vibe. You don’t have to be Italian or Portuguese to participate – there’s an enormous diversity of backgrounds in this neighbourhood. People of all ages and ethnicities call Little Italy home. They love the Old World architecture, the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, and the convenience of being in an urban environment.
Although there are many older buildings in Little Italy, a number of new condo developments have been built in recent years. They offer the modernity of new buildings while allowing residents to enjoy living in an area with a deep history.
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