How to have a Greek vacation without ever leaving Toronto

This summer, it seems like everyone is traveling to Europe. Whether you’ve got your own European vacation planned this summer and don’t want it to end or are dreaming of getting a taste of Italy or Portugal, we’ve got you covered. Here’s your how-to guide to summer like a European this summer — without ever leaving Toronto, beginning with all things Greece.

Celebrate at T.O.’s biggest Greek festival

The Danforth has kept its Greek roots through the years, but never is it more alive than during the Taste of the Danforth. This year, this annual festival is being reimagined for 2023 to adapt to the changes on the street. From Aug. 11-13, head out to the neighbourhood to enjoy traditional Greek music, authentic food and plenty of entertainment to give you a taste of Greece in Toronto. 

Walk among the Greek gods in Toronto

For a delightful combination of Greek mythology and historic Canadian art, visit the Garden of the Greek Gods at Exhibition Place this summer. This collection of 20 sculptures by renowned Canadian sculptor E. B. Cox depicts favourite figures of Greek mythology, including Medusa, Orpheus and Hercules. 

Mamakas Taverna’s horiátiki

Get refreshed with a traditional Greek salad

Ossington Avenue, Toronto’s trendiest street, is also home to arguably the city’s trendiest Greek spot — Mamakas Taverna. The modern spot has crafted an authentically Greek menu, but the unmissable standout is their horiátiki: served traditionally sans lettuce, with a sumptuous block of feta to top off the colourful tomatoes.

Meander Ontario’s version of Nemea wine roads

Wine connoisseurs might recognize Nemea, the biggest wine region in all of Greece. Travellers often spend a full day sampling wines in the area — and you can do the same within the Hillier region of Prince Edward County. There’s a cluster of nine wineries in the area that you could visit all in a day if you’re ambitious. Try beginning at Trail Estate Winery and ending at Sugarbush Vineyards for your DIY wine tour.

Chow down on the best spanakopita in town

Run by Mamakas Food Group, this Greek street food pop-up kitchen in Yorkville serves up the best spanakopita in the city. This handmade phyllo pie, layered with spinach and top-notch feta, is perfectly flaky and flavourful and will transport you right into the streets of Athens.

Enjoy an open-air Greek theatre in the city

Get a taste of Greek theatre at the Guild Festival Theatre this summer — located in Scarborough, this open-air stage is built in the style of a traditional Grecian outdoor theatre. The summer program looks promising: Alice in Wonderland runs from July 12 to 22, Three Men in a Boat from July 27 to Aug. 13 and true crime story The Drowning Girls from Aug. 17 to 27.

Myth Restaurant

Have a Mykonos-style night to remember

For a dinner outing that will give you all the vibes of a Mykonos nightclub, the iconic Myth has officially reopened in June after a devastating fire. The decor, atmosphere, crafty cocktails and shareable dishes emulate that of an upscale dinner spot in Greece — great for girls’ night, date night or a funky drinks spot after a day at the beach.

Skim the skyline in a Toronto funicular

Visitors to Athens looking for the best views of the city will often hop on the Lycabettus Funicular, which whisks travellers up to the highest peak in the city. At Centreville Amusement Park on Centre Island, park goers can enjoy sweeping views of their own city from the Sky Ride — a chair lift-style adventure that will have you gliding high enough to glimpse the famous skyline. 

Sample a favourite Greek meze on the Danforth

Gigantes, a traditional and deliciously simple dish featuring large white beans baked in a tomato sauce, is an underrated Greek meze that you’ll find on most menus in the country. In Toronto, your best bet is to head to Pantheon on the Danforth — potentially Pantheon’s best dish, they’re served cold and pair well with Greece’s famous skordalia (garlic potatoes).