Willowdale: North York’s concrete jungle with a lot of heart

Real people with real stories in the neighbourhood of Willowdale.

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This Willowdale resident, who's lived here for the past five years, says the neighbourhood can get a little noisy at night because of all the young people living here.



Mississauga native currently studying journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University. Loves to explore different visual mediums to tell impactful stories that need to be seen.

Adele Lukusa BW

Adele Lukusa

A graduate of TMU, Kitchener native enamoured with Toronto and lover of Jamila Woods. Currently working on supporting mutual aid efforts and unpacking the nuances of Black haircare.

July 1, 2024

Don’t count out Willowdale — this North York neighbourhood has more to offer than meets the eye.

Over half of Willowdale’s population are immigrants, hailing from Iran, China, South Korea and the Philippines; this diversity is reflected in the restaurants that make up the neighbourhood.

Locals told us that restaurants come and go, but there’s never a shortage of new and familiar spots to dine in. From eating Korean-style corn dogs with friends at Chungchun Rice Dog, and picking up fresh slices from Pizzeria Libretto, to dining al fresco at the tropical Korean spot Pocha 1989, Willowdale home to both familiar chains like Jack Astor's Bar & Grill and unique restaurants you can only find in North York.


In terms of entertainment, you can catch concerts, comedy shows, broadway musicals and more at Meridian Arts Centre. From Hannah Gadsby to orchestral renditions of the iconic Twilight films, the centre offers a beautiful space for locals to enjoy art.

For those looking for hands-on activities, there’s North York Central Library where you have full access to a 3D printer, vinyl printer/cutter, podcasting equipment and more. 

Willowdale does have its challenges, including, as locals told us, the lack of green space. But that doesn’t stop its residents from spending time outdoors, especially at Mel Lastman Square. 

The neighbourhood is proof that even the most concrete of jungles can still make room for a thriving, colourful and diverse community.

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