Right about now, many of us are longing for a vacation to Greece, but can’t get away or flights may be just too expensive. A visit to Toronto’s famed Greek town, offers a taste of what many of us are longing for, a bit of Greece right here in our backyard. While many here in North America think of New York’s “Astoria” as the place to visit when they long to feel a bit Greek, Toronto’s Greek town is arguable as good as or better. A few weeks ago,on a recent visit to Toronto, I took an afternoon stroll down the main strip where I shot a few images, grabbed a bite and chatted with some of the locals.

One of Toronto’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan neighborhoods, Greek Town is also one of the City’s best-known Business Improvement Associations with over 400 members. With a wide array of restaurants, retail stores, services and cafes, all within easy walking distance from each other. Next week, the biggest Greek festival in North America kicks off. Some million and a half people will visit the affair that last nearly three days.

In the recent years the Chair of Greek Town BIA, Mr. Constantine Voidonicolas and his board have helped to grow their annual festival knows as The Taste of Danforth to be one of the world’s largest street festivals. The annual “Taste of the Danforth” is a large food festival held over 2½ days in early August. With no admission charge, the event welcomes all to enjoy modestly priced samples of cuisine available at restaurants along this stretch of Danforth Avenue. Greek food prevails, but there are numerous options, including Thai, Chinese, Brazilian, Indian, Japanese and others. A midway offers games, children’s rides, and interactive sports that include a climbing wall, street hockey and basketball. Several stages offer musical entertainment spanning the globe, with one stage emphasizing Greek performers of music, song, and dance. The event has grown substantially since the first Taste, in 1994, when 5,000 attended. In 2008, it drew over a million people.