When I first heard of this event I thought it was a parade for LGBT* vegetarians in Toronto. I then found out that it’s for all vegetarians/vegans who wish to loudly proclaim their chosen diet. This week’s Meatless Monday is a look at Toronto for the vegetarian/vegan.
Toronto is Canada’s most populous city. Its culinary beginnings were quite bland: unimaginative and relatively tasteless cuisine that borrowed from the British tradition of boiled vegetables and salted meat. Nowadays, with the many influxes of immigrants over the years, the food scene in Toronto has “lively up itself“. (Credit to Bob for this expression.)
Toronto has a number of celebrity chefs and the bulk of episodes of Top Chef Canada have been filmed here. But what is there for the vegetarian/vegan? Plenty.
*Toronto is currently the only place in Canada where one can pursue a Vegetarian Culinary Arts Certificate. (I am a third of the way from achieving mine.)
*The Vegetarian Food Festival held annually in September is considered “…the largest event of its kind in North America...” according to the Toronto Vegetarian website. (Quote retrieved June 9th 2013 from the following page: http://veg.ca/events/festival/)
*There are a number of good vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) from which to choose. Click here for current list.
*If you are in Toronto for any length of time it’s worth investing in a ‘Veg card’ from the Toronto Vegetarian Association.
Cost of basic membership: $25. Rewards: priceless. This card entitles you to discounts from a variety of participating businesses. Click here for current list.
In a calendar year I managed to attend the Annual Veggie Pride Parade followed up by the Toronto Raw/Vegan Food Festival the following weekend. I stuffed myself silly at the Vegan Bake-Off and sampled almost every restaurant during Veggielicious and there is still so much more to try!
Here are my recommendations so far:
- Fresh for a chic twist on healthy ingredients du jour
- Cruda Cafe and Live-Organic Food Bar! for sumptuous raw food
- Hot Beans for vegan tacos. You must try the barbecued jackfruit taco!
- Urban Herbivore for fast urban food veggie style
- Kensington Natural Bakery on Bloor Street West in the Annex neighbourhood. Cash only establishment.
- The Hogtown Vegan for good ol’ bad-for-you greasy food.
- St. Lawrence Market– Beware the meat locker! Otherwise a foodie heaven.
- Kensington Market for restaurants and reasonably priced organic, gluten-free and vegetarian groceries.
- The Big Carrot: This grocery store and cafe often has free seminars Thursday evenings.
- Noah’s Natural Foods: Another grocery store and vitamin shop.
- Any of the local Farmers Markets from June-October-ish
George Brown College Continuing Education – Culinary Arts (Vegetarian Culinary Arts Certificate)
Cruda Cafe for ‘uncooking’ classes
*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered
Scenes from The 4th Annual Veggie Pride Parade: