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Robert Nardi Little Italy

 

Little Italy, is a neighborhood in central Toronto known for numerous multicultural businesses and restaurants, as well as a vibrant nightlife. The neighborhood is centered on a strip on College Street with restaurants, shopping, and bars. It has gained popularity throughout the years for its close proximity to the downtown core. Although known as little Italy the neighborhood is home to a large number of Latin Americans, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “Latintown”, there is also a large Portuguese community in the area.

The neighborhood was fully laid out in the early 1900’s with 2 and 3 storey buildings, typically used as commercial in the main floor and storage above, although some have used the main floor as a restaurant and the upper as a night club, as is the case with plaza flamingo restaurant.

Most of the businesses in the area are patio café’s such as Riviera Bakery, Sicilian Ice Cream, Bitondos Pizza, and Bar Italia. There is also a movie theater which was recently renovated (Royal Repertory Cinema) Banks, Grocery Stores and small businesses serving the neighborhood.

The side streets are mostly detached or semi-detached single family homes dating to the early-1900s Edwardian period, with front porches and smaller lots, as was the custom at the time.

History
Italians arrived in Toronto in large numbers during the early 20th century. Italians first settled in an area then known as The Ward. By the 1920s, most Italians had moved west of Bathurst Street and the College area had emerged as the city's major Little Italy. The affordable Edwardian homes that line the side streets of this neighborhood were bought by Italian immigrants, many of whom found work on the railways and in road construction. Italians started businesses on and around College Street. As Mentioned Before the neighborhood is much more diverse as Italians also started settling in Corso Italia neighborhood as well as Toronto suburbs like Woodbridge, Maple, Mississisauga etc

Schools
Dewson Street Junior Public School - A public elementary school located at 65 Concord Avenue, near the intersection of Ossington Avenue and College Street. The school was first built in 1884 with an enrolment of 76 students. The original building consisted of a basement and four rooms on two floors. It was built on land that was formerly part of the Village of Dovercourt, annexed to the City in 1910. In 1965, the Board of Education decided to replace the old building, which, after a series of additions, consisted of 23 classrooms, 4 kindergartens, playrooms and offices. In September 1968 a new three-storey school building was constructed. A new playground opened in the fall of 2002.

Clinton Public School - home to Elias Blahacek, Connor Byrne and Leo Timmins.

Harbord Collegiate Institute

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**Source - Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods. Maple Tree Publishing**

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