Medical Elective: Chinese in Toronto, Canada

A popular choice of university of medical students in the University of Toronto (Faculty of Medicine). It is conveniently located in downtown Toronto with the student residences about a 2.5km walk away from Toronto Western, one of the hospitals affiliated with UToronto.

There is a sizable Chinese population in Toronto (10.6% of 2.48 million), a city known for its racial diversity. In a way, the Chinese majority areas in Toronto, such as close to the junction of the 404 and 407 expressways are a home away from home for Chinese students.

In general, eating out in Canada is an expensive affair and it’s ridiculous to eat Chinese food which isn’t prepared by Chinese people. But wait! There’re options!

First Markham Place has that staple of Singaporean malls: a food court. It has a very strong Chinese presence, with shops selling Chinese herbs, ?pirated DVDs. There’re also a great variety of Chinese foods, including a Ding Tai Fung restaurant. Hidden somewhere… though given away by the queue of people is this stall selling roasts: roast duck, roast pork, barbequed pork (charsiew), pig intestines, etc.

Roast Pork, Barbequed Pork, Roast Duck, Vegetables and Rice (CA$5.75)
3 Roasts at First Markham Place

This is a ridiculously large portion, easily split between two people. Very affordable, given the price. Let’s say that instead of buying ready-made food, one prefers to cook. That’s where the supermarket that sells things like frozen dumplings and wantons comes in. That’s T&T. Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese in London, Ontario drive down to T&T once a week to stock up. There are also high-quality instant noodles that require microwaving before adding water. These last long and have more than sufficient ingredients (it’s not all MSG and carbohydrates). Very convenient after a long hospital day.

Now for phone cards, computer gear, and various other thingamajigs there’s always Pacific Mall. It contains rows of small shops reminiscent of Beijing’s Silk Market Building.

Inside View of Pacific Mall
Pacific Mall Inside

Toronto, it’s like a home away from home. Homesickness is not really a problem.

P.S. York University, a place where some of J.’s friends are going for business electives, is conveniently located close to the T&T supermarkets.


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