FAQ: New to the Ontario Board? Read This First.
Are you new to Chowhound? Or just to the Ontario board? Perhaps visiting from out of town? We've got some tips to help you get started.
If you're brand new to the site, you should read our Site Etiquette (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367605) before you start posting.
This board is focused on discussing chow across the province of Ontario, including Toronto, Niagara Falls/Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Ottawa (plus the bits of Quebec that fall into the metropolitan Ottawa-Gatineau area).
Much of the discussion on this board is focused on Toronto. If you find a post with no indication of a city, it's probably about Toronto. If you're asking a question or posting a tip about another city in Ontario, please include the name somewhere in the title of your post. You'll get a much better response if the locals in that town can easily find your post.
For tips for the rest of Canada, please see
Quebec (including Montreal) http://www.chowhound.com/boards/22 ,
B.C. (including Vancouver) http://www.chow.com/boards/85 ,
Prairie Provinces http://www.chow.com/boards/86 , and
Atlantic Canada http://www.chowhound.com/boards/24 .
We've divided up this thread into separate posts, just to make things neater. Please read to the end.
ONTARIO AREA SPECIFICS
Here are some things you might see referred to on the Ontario board:
NOTL - Niagara-On-The-Lake, a popular vacation destination.
GTA - Greater Toronto Area
416 - Refers to the area code that covers most of Toronto, and is a shorthand for anything within the actual city of Toronto. It is basically the same territory covered by the TTC.
905 - Refers to the area code that covers most of the first ring of Toronto suburbs, and is shorthand for those suburbs.
TTC -- Toronto Transit Commission. Is the main public transit system within the city of Toronto, covering the subway, buses, streetcars, etc. Other transit systems in the Greater Toronto Area include GO Transit (intercity buses and trains aimed at commuters), Mississauga Transit (local transit for Missisauga), York Region Transit, etc.
DVP -- The Don Valley Parkway, a major North-South road in Toronto
LCBO -- Liquor Control Board of Ontario, also the name of the government controlled liquor stores that are the primary source of retail alcohol sales across the province.
SLM -- St. Lawrence Market. A farmer's market in Toronto.
Winterlicious / Summerlicious -- Annual Restaurant Week style events where fixed price menus are offered at participating restaurants.
Alcohol Sales: Retail sale of most alcohol is limited to LCBO stores. Beer and wine can be purchased at some other outlets, but not usually in grocery stores and not in corner stores.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public spaces including restaurants and bars across Ontario.
Tipping: Tipping percentages are generally higher in Toronto than in many other areas of Canada, more in line with most US cities.
Hounds love to eat, and they love to eat together. Anyone can plan a chowdown and announce it on the board, (see the Etiquette for more: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367605#2975390 ) but Toronto has an established Google group for local hounds who dine together: http://groups.google.com/group/chowho...
AFTER YOUR MEAL
Most importantly, after your trip or your meal, thank the Ontario hounds for their help by reporting back. Tell people which suggestions you used and how the meals turned out, plus add tips about any great places you discovered on your own. This helps make the board more useful for everyone who visits after you.
STILL HAVE A QUESTION?
Ontario chowhounds are a great resource, but help them help you by including some important details. Tell them:
- Where you'll be -- this board covers a very large area. If you're not asking about Toronto, please include a city name in the title of your post. If you are asking about Toronto, please include a neighbourhood, cross-street, etc, to help hounds locate chow near you.
- Whether you have a car or will be relying on transit. Toronto transit users may want to add whether they're looking for places near the subway, or whether you'll take the bus and if you're willing to use GO, Mississauga, York or other regional transit systems.
- How far or how long you're willing to travel.
- What your budget is. Descriptions such as 'expensive', 'moderate' and 'cheap' mean different things to different people, so use dollar values.
- What types of cuisines you're interested in.
- Which days of the week you're interested in -- lots of restaurants close Mondays, for example.
- Any other special circumstances (traveling with kids? vegetarians? non-chowhounds?) that will help
If you've done some of your own research, mention what you found so hounds can help fill in the gaps, rather than rehashing what you already know.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE ONTARIO BOARD:
Here are just a few of the subjects that are common on the Ontario board, and some suggestions on how to find that information:
WHERE SHOULD I EAT IN OTTAWA?
Or Kingston? Niagara-on-the-Lake? Other towns around Ontario?
Search terms to try: the name of the town you're interested in or any nicknames (like NOTL for Niagara-On-The-Lake). Ottawa gets enough traffic that you may want to limit your search by cuisine type or neighborhood, as well.
WHERE SHOULD I EAT NEAR THE AIR CANADA CENTER?
Or the airport? Four Seasons Center? Second City? Other attractions?
Search terms to try: the name of the attraction, any nicknames, nearby attractions or the neighbourhood where it's located.
For Pearson Airport, try: airport, Pearson, YYZ, Mississauga, layover
For Air Canada Center, try: Air Canada Centre, ACC, Leaf Game, Raptors
For Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre, try: Four Seasons Centre, opera, ballet, queen and university
For Royal Alexandra or Princess of Wales theatres or Second City: theatre district, entertainment district, king west, Royal Alex, Wales, Second City
For Eaton Center, Elgin Theatre, Canon Theatre, Massey Hall, try: Yonge Street, Yonge and Dundas, Elm Street, Eatons, Elgin, Massey Hall
WHERE SHOULD WE EAT IN CHINATOWN?
Or Leslieville? Little Italy? Downtown? Other Toronto neighborhoods?
Try entering the type of cuisine you're looking for, along with a neighbourhood name. If you're not sure, check http://www.toronto-bia.com/bias/index.php . This is especially useful for many of the "downtown" Toronto neighbourhoods since "downtown" can cover a wide swathe of town. For areas outside of downtown, search on the former borough names ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropol... ). or the names of towns in the Toronto suburbs.
WHERE'S THE BEST HAMBURGER IN TORONTO?
Or sushi? Or brunch? Or pizza? All-you-can-eat Japanese?
Search terms to try: title:"best plus the name of the food" (example: title:"best sushi").
IS THERE ANY GOOD MEXICAN IN TORONTO?
Or BBQ? Or Southern / Soul Food?
Search title:"type of food", (example: title:Mexican).
WHERE SHOULD WE GO FOR OUR SPECIAL OCCASION?
Search terms to try: anniversary, "special occasion", proposal, romantic, birthday
These might not all apply to your particular occasion, but they generally turn up the same kind of recommendations.
WHERE SHOULD I HOLD MY GROUP DINNER?
Search terms to try: "private room", "buy out", corporate, group, "holiday party", "large group"
HAVE A QUESTION?
The Ontario board is a pretty active place, and a lot of questions have been covered recently--the Chowhound archives are a great resource.
Start your quest for an answer with a search of all the great info that's already out there. The search box is in the top right corner of the screen. If you're searching from this board, it should default to searching Ontario. Just add your keywords and go. On the search results page, you can change your search criteria to add more keywords, or change your sort order or the dates you're interested in.
HAVE A HOT TIP?
If you've got a great tip or a recommendation for someone, dive right in and post it. It's great if you can include some details of why you like a place, but even those short tips on where to find a great pho or cannoli are appreciated.
To start a new thread, use the "Chowhound Discussions" menu in the navigation bar at the top of the page to go to the index of the board, and then choose the "start new thread" button.