I was asked to create a guidebook to Toronto – my hometown! – to celebrate the Louboutin exhibition at the Design Exchange. I was the researcher, writer and photographer for the Little Red Guide to Toronto – click through the photo album here for a taste of the city, its festivals, art, architecture and locals.
If it’s your first time visiting the city – Hog Town, T Dot, the 4-1-6 – then the first thing you should know is that here, we don’t pronounce the second T. Locals slur the city’s name into a casual, nasally Tarana.
Toronto (sorry, Tarana) is the biggest city in Canada – it’s big enough to keep you entertained, but not so big so as to be intimidating. Like New York or London, it’s comprised of many eclectic neighbourhoods, and, according to both locals and the Statistics Bureau, it’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Take the rickety streetcar West along Queen Street from the laid-back, Victorian-meets-hippie Beaches (read on to find the best places to take a swim) all the way to Parkdale, where hipsters hang out on the borders of the Polish and Portuguese communities. Amble over Spadina Avenue, where Chinatown merges into Kensington Market, a thriving modern Bohemia where vintage shops are sandwiched between Homeopathic Apothecaries and Dutch-style cafés.
Canadians are notoriously polite – sometimes even overbearingly modest – but Torontonians have a sense of swagger. Especially in the summer, when the heat brings everyone onto the streets, down to the beach, and onto the patios for which Toronto is famous. The city pulses; its residents parade. Toronto is a chic, glassy metropolis with a big heart at its core – keep this guide handy as you explore.