The bustling city of Toronto is one of the most popular in Canada, and there are many Black-owned businesses you can support there. In addition to being the largest Canadian city, Toronto is “a world leader in business, finance, technology, entertainment and culture,” according to the Toronto website. You won’t have to worry about frequent crime or filth either; Toronto consistently gets high marks for safety and cleanliness.
There are plenty of nods to The Culture as well, such as Caribana Toronto, which takes place over July and August. There’s a vibrant population of people hailing from the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica. The ethnic enclave of Little Jamaica features “the highest concentration of Black and Caribbean- owned businesses in Toronto,” according to the website. It’s a great area to visit if you’re looking for that “irie” vibe outside of the island.
Here are some Black-owned businesses in Toronto you can patronize in 48-hours.
Day 1- Morning
Order some sinfully tasty beignets and a variety of drinks courtesy of Congo Coffee, which is owned by Nia Bangala. She works directly with coffee bean farmers based in Congo.
Never had a beignet before? Think of a funnel cake+ hush puppy+donut and that’s the result.
Spend some time at A Different Booklist, an independent bookstore which offers a wide selection of Black literature.
Owner Itah Sadu told Quill & Quire, “we wanted to encourage the narrative that young people of African descent in Canada read more when they see themselves reflected in the books.”
Day 1- Afternoon
Time for lunch! If you’re a fan of Jamaican food, you’ll find more places in Toronto than you’ll have time to visit.
On Kensington Avenue, check out Rasta Pasta, which fuses the flavors of Jamaica and Italy. There’s the grilled panini stuffed with jerk chicken, dreadlock pasta and reggae lasagna, among other fusion dishes.
There are also options for folks who want pure Jamaican food like ackee and saltfish, escovitch fish and oxtail.
If you want to stock up on Caribbean products and do some cooking for your own, head to Caribbean Corner on Baldwin Street. They have a broad selection of spices, fruits and more.
Day 1- Evening
Grab a drink, mingle and listen to some dope Afro- beats at Quincy’s Afro Bar on Parliament Street. The vibe is chill and friendly day and night.
Stock up on organic face and body products at Tribal Eye on Kensington Avenue. There are creams and oils for many skin conditions from eczema to hyperpigmentation. You can order online as well.
Day 2- Morning
Start your second day with a sweat at Club Enhergy, a Black woman-owned gym.
If you’re up really early, check out the “She Trains” class at 6AM on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This HIIT and weight- based class is guaranteed to challenge you.
Check out our feature on Club Enhergy here.
On Queen Street East, enjoy an all day breakfast special Ethiopian style at Enat Buna. Pair the Bayanatu dish with a delicious cup of coffee.
Day 2- Afternoon
Ballet Creole is a company centering African and Caribbean dance forms. Their dancers perform and teach drop-in classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Take a walk in one of Toronto’s many green parks including High Park and Bluffer’s Park, where you can enjoy views of the Scarborough Bluffs of Lake Ontario.
Day 2- Evening
Have a taste of Haiti at Boukan, the best rated food of its kind in Toronto, according to the Instagram page. The vibe and staff are equally warm and easygoing.
Grab a drink at Rhum Corner, co-owned by a Haitian businessman named Roland Jean.
Blog To describes it as a Caribbean dive bar. It goes on to say, “dim lighting, checkered floors, and a Haitian wall mural set a casual vibe. But the most important element of design is undoubtedly the library of obscure rum hanging on the bar wall.”