Jorge’s Guide to Toronto – IV

And the Fun Continues…

It has been a little while but I am back with the next chapter in the ongoing guide to the city in which I live.

In this installment, I will make reference to one of the more colourful characters that frequent the streets of Toronto, as well as a breakdown of the major Ukrainian section of the city.

Toronto is a city of the world. A multi-faceted diamond of culture and diversity. Not only do we have a great number of individual ethnic backgrounds, but we also have a plethora of exceptional people that call the city home…


If you’ve ever spent time on our public transit system in T-Dot, then you’ve probably seen a man with no shirt doing pushups while wearing a Santa hat.

That’s right. No shirt. Pushups.

Santa Hat.

His name is Zanta. He is the more muscular, fit version of Santa.

You will see him parading about, in only his jeans, a pair of boots, and his Santa Claus hat. He is an anatomical dynamo, keeping his rock-hard physique by doing an extreme number of pushups ever day.

Indeed, he is a self-proclaimed extreme pushupper, and he will drop and give you twenty in the blink of an eye.

What’s his story? Well, there are many different versions floating about. I have not had the pleasure of speaking with him directly about it. But I know that he loves his daughter, and his quest to make her smile will never end.


Just west of High Park there is an area of Bloor Street West known as Bloor West Village. It stretches from Kennedy Avenue across to the South Kingsway.

It is an area filled with chic stores and great restaurants.

There are a great number of bakeries and delis that have a Ukrainian flair. One could spend a great many days wandering the streets with an unlimited amount of money and still not try every delicacy that the area has to offer.

At the end of every summer, the Ukrainian Festival takes place.

Bloor Street West is closed to traffic between Runnymede Avenue and Jane Street, making way for various kiosks featuring art and cuisine from the Ukraine.

The intixicating smell of perogies wafts through the air, pulling your body in many different directions. Sausages and other delicious grilled foods sizzle over flame. The sound of mirth is all around you.

There are usually several beer tents offering sudsy bevvies to help quench your thirst, rounding out the experience for your mouth.

Just typing this article will lead to me buying a new keyboard not coated in my own dripping saliva just thinking about my culinary experiences at this festival.

Make sure if you are in Toronto that you time your visit to coincide with the Ukrainian Festival. Your mouth will thank you.


  1. Introduction, Italian, Chinese

  2. CN Tower, Portuguese

  3. TTC, Greek

  4. Zanta, Ukrainian

12 Responses

  1. Zanta Claus? Does he have kids sit on his weight bench and ask for tidings of good protein supplements?

  2. I totally missed out on the Ukrainian stuff in TO and opted for the Polish. I will have to check this out next time.

    What can I say about Zanta! He is one of my most fondest memories of my 2 weeks in TO last year. Stopping traffic in the busy intersection of John and Queen West, doing push-ups to R.Kelly’s Bounce…. while a rickshaw driver was jumping up and down going “Woot Woot”.. with bewildered tourists wide-eyed in fear. That was priceless…

    Hope the Zen master is doing well. Its almost barbecue season and the ladies in your neighbourhood are dusting off the binoculars as we speak in anticipation.

    Take it easy!

  3. I haven’t seen that many typos in one of your entries for a while…”rocik”, “procraimed”….I guess the drool can be blamed.

  4. Tien – I blame the alcohol.

    Ian – My quest to meet with Zanta is chugging along. One day, my friend, I will be proud to introduce you to him.

    Shellie – Don’t mess with Zanta.

  5. Oooh, this Zanta fellow sounds like someone I would LOVE!


    The Ukrainian Festival?! That settles it – I’m headed your way at the end of the summer.

  6. I think Zanta has to be seen to be believed. Links, man! Give us links! (Okay, I’ve seen it, so this ‘us’ business is just for effect.)

  7. You will have to wait.
    I am possibly going to do a photo study on Zanta one day, if he will let me.


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  9. When did this Zanta dude arrive on the scene? I’ve never even heard of him before? Not that I was a *real* Torontian when I lived in ON (just a wannabe… a Hamiltonian and a Miltonian and I guess Santa never took the GO train west to the ‘burbs).

  10. ooo! Dragons! I bet there are dragons hiding in the subway tunnels. That would explain a whole lot about why I haven’t seen an alligator down in there yet. 🙂

    The Ukranians don’t sound very veggie friendly, but I will take a beer please.

  11. I love how disconnected his guide is.

  12. Miss Jay…
    I wrote this for you.

    You’d better be using it.


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