A woman is speaking to a group of people with a microphone and two people are standing beside her in front of a store with glass window panels at the storefront. The store sign above the windows reads " Randy's Take Out" in large blue and red lettering on a white background.

The Living History of Little Jamaica

Discover the roots of Toronto’s first Caribbean community, and the vibrant heritage of the people who call it home.

Between Allen Road and Keele Street, Eglinton West Avenue has been known colloquially as “Likkle Jamaica” or “Likkle Caribbean” since the late 1970s. In the bustling metropolis of Toronto, it is not uncommon to hear a “Wagwan” (what’s up?) or find a patty spot, a reflection of the major contribution that Caribbean culture is making to Toronto, both inside and outside of the Little Jamaica neighbourhood.

Explore the map enhanced with oral history audio clips from members of the Little Jamaica community, including:

Roland Beggs: Hair stylist, Beggs Hair Studio
Jay Douglas: Musician
Adrian Hayles: Mural Artist and Community worker, Tempo and Worth Gallery
Shane Kenney: Rastafarian and Co-owner, Trea-Jah-Isle Records
Elaine Lloyd-Robinson: Community worker and owner, G.H.E.T.T.O Stories
D’Andra Montaque: Business owner and PR strategist, Empress Mane
Carole Rose: Manager, Rap’s Restaurant
Claude Thompson: Manager, JN Money Services

This digital tour was developed by Emerging Historian Victoria Atteh and was supported by TD and The Ready Commitment and the Black Business and Professional Association as part of Heritage Toronto’s Equity Heritage Initiative.

Choose a marker to begin your tour

If you’re exploring on a mobile device, please abide by all traffic and safety rules. Only look at your device when you are standing stationary in a safe location!

Through the Equity Heritage Initiative, we are dedicated to amplifying the diverse voices and stories of Toronto. This work is impossible without the storytellers and community at the center of it all. Thank you for sharing your time and stories, and for welcoming us all into the Little Jamaica neighbourhood.

General Sources

Transcriptions for all audio clips can be found in this document.

Research Guide to Reggae Lane: Toronto’s Jamaican Music Scene, 1960s to the Present – Local History & GenealogyToronto Public Library, 2016

Armstrong, Neil. “‘Reggae Lane’ to be Unveiled in the Eglinton Avenue West/Oakwood Area.” Pride, September 4, 2014.

Spurr, Ben. “In a city desperate for more transit, for Toronto’s Little Jamaica it could be bad news.” The Star, March 24, 2018.