Ontario Lifestyle and Culture
North and South Ontario have distinct cultures. The South is cosmopolitan, with its large, modern cities, while the rural north is more sparsely populated and laid back. Ontario has the most diverse population in Canada; more than one in four residents in the province were born outside of Canada, and the cultural landscape reflects that. Its major cities have thriving Korean, Greek, Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, and Vietnamese enclaves which are filled with associated retailers and restaurants.
- Jacques Bistro Du Parc in Yorkville, Downtown Toronto, is French Bistro dining at its finest. Their sumptuous dinner and lunch menus feature soups, salads, hors-d'oeuvres, entrees and omelettes. Opened in 1978, this bistro has won several awards, including the People’s Choice award for best French Food in the city.
- The first satellite branch of world-renowned chef David Chang’s New York restaurant, Mamofuko’s. The noodle bar and upstairs VIP section “Daisho” both serve incredible Korean cuisine with a fusion twist. Choose from mouth-watering “umami” flavours in their pho section or enjoy something a bit more adventurous like the shrimp buns or the clam and scallion noodle.
- Mystic Muffin is a must-visit in Toronto, with a great range of falafels, pitas, salads and pies. It is best known for its apple cake, and for its friendly owner, Elias Makhoul, who moved to Canada from Lebanon as a 21-year-old.
- Aperitivo in Kanata is somewhat on the pricy side of things, but the excellent service, atmosphere and exceptional food more than make up for that. It’s hard to pin down what type of restaurant they are, as the menu is constantly changing and evolving with the times, so best call in advance or check out their website to see what’s on the menu at the time.
- “Next” is a hip, laid-back eating experience in the suburban community of Stittsville. It’s great not only for one-off meals but for hosting larger events, so whether you’re looking for a location for a business meeting or just a casual night out, Next’s neighbourhood dining atmosphere is the perfect backdrop. Their primary attraction is the dinner menu and 80-seat dining room, serving everything from sushi to steak to stew.
- Check out Harry’s Deli on Kent Street for great Indian curries and samosas, as well as soups and sandwiches. The atmosphere and service are both some of the friendliest around, so you’ll leave satisfied and smiling.
- Toronto is definitely where you want to be in Ontario for a thriving nightlife scene. Toronto’s most famous nightclub is The Guvernment, where DJs and live performers keep patrons partying until the morning on its many stages and dance floors.
- Other nightclubs worth a visit include Lost and Found, House on Parliament, The Hoxton and Wrongbar.
- Barrymore’s Music Hall, on the corners of Bank and Gilmour Streets, is a popular nightspot. The venue hosts everything from alternative to jazz to Celtic rock, accommodating every musical taste. The clientele is as eclectic as the musical line-up, so expect a lot of tourists mingling with locals for a great night out.
- For a night out with a Latin twist, check out Club Caliente, considered by Ottawans as the place to do salsa in the nation’s capital. The energetic crowd of 20-somethings party well into the night, enjoying not only Latin music but disco, reggae and even a smattering of techno. Free salsa lessons are available on Thursdays for those who want to learn how to move to the groove.
- Other bars and nightclubs to check out while you’re in Ottawa include the much-loved Irish pub, D’Arcy McGees; the Euro-style cocktail lounge and dance bar Mercury Lounge; and the Black Thorn, a misleadingly threatening name for a place with homey charm and a laidback atmosphere. Games nights are popular during the winter and the patio is a great place to stretch out and soak up some sun in the summer.