Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gerard India Bazaar/Little India - Toronto

Trying on some colourful outfits.  We bought this one.
My kids love wandering around Toronto.  Bumbling around Kensington Market and Chinatown is pretty much their favourite thing to do so I figured it was time to check out what used to be called Little India when I was growing up but is now officially known as the Gerard India Bazaar.  Gerard India Bazaar sounds like a big market when actually it is a neighbourhood covering about a half a dozen blocks.  It is on Gerard Street between Coxwell and Glenside and it contains at least 100 stores and restaurants specializing in South Asian goods. 
Checking out the fancy saris and other wares in one of the shops along Gerard St. 
I took my oldest daughter and her friend, both of whom are eight years old and they loved it.  Their favourite thing about the neighbourhood was checking out the clothes.  So many beautiful colours and textures.  My daughter is actually not at all interested in clothes or shopping normally but even she loved looking at all of the beautiful outfits.  The shopkeepers were all super friendly and inviting and had no problem with the kids touching things and trying things on.  One shopkeeper even gave each of the girls a set of bangles for free which they were pretty excited about. 
Popping a puri.  Always fun. 

We also tried out some food along the way.  We opted for some basics to get the kids started.  Pakoras, mango lassis, puris and samosas.  The kids didn't like all of the food but they liked trying out the new dishes. 
The public library on Gerard St.

I don't know if I would say that you should drive for hours to get to Gerard India Bazaar, but if you are nearby and have some time to kill it is a fun neighbourhood to wander around in for a few hours. 

Some things to keep in mind:
  • You can get there by TTC.  We took the College/Carlton streetcar.  We were rerouted due to construction but we did eventually get there!  There is also parking available.
  • Since Gerard India Bazaar is a neighbourhood, it is free to wander around.  There are several affordable restaurants and snack bar type places in the neighbourhood so you should have no trouble getting some snacks or a meal while you are there.  There is not much other than Indian food in the neighbourhood though so if you have picky eaters you might want to bring some food for them.  They can always eat naan.
  • Saris and salwar kameezes (I am not actually sure how you pluralize that!) are generally not cheap so you might want to prepare your kid that they likely won't be going home with one or at least not one of the very elaborate ones they see in the windows.  You can find some cute ones on the sale rack though.  We picked up the orange outfit pictured at the top of this post for $10 for the two pieces.  You can also find things like bracelets and other costume jewelery for very cheap ($1 for 12 bangles).
  • There is a great toy store right on the main strip.  It is not Indian, but the kids will love it!

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