Red – instruction
Blue – Examples
To write a good ethnography of a restaurant requires two things: fieldwork and analysis.
Situating a restaurant and cuisine in Toronto, physically and historically, is not easy to do and
requires engaging in primary research, which is the subject of the first assignment. This
assignment asks you to look at maps made for the Tasting the Global City
(https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/projects/torontofood/) research project as well as historical
restaurant reviews in an online newspaper archive and write a short background essay about
how your restaurant and its cuisine may have been received in the past.
There are three steps to this assignment.
1. For the first part of the mapping assignment, you will focus on
the geographic area immediately surrounding your chosen
restaurant in the 1980 Toronto Food Map (Link:
https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/projects/torontofood/mapscontent/) for clues about the kinds of cuisine that may have
predominated in that area prior to 2000. Use the Layers tool
and look through the legend to see what non-restaurant food
businesses occupied your area in the past, if any.
For example, food production at the corner of Midland and Ellesmere in 1980 was
dominated by large manufacturers including a famous Canadian chocolate company, a
globally recognized yeast manufacturer and a major industrial bakery, not restaurants. This
is rather different than how the intersection appears today. If this is what you found, you
should broaden your scope to search for the closest restaurant and try to devise what kind
of cuisine it may have served. You may use the earlier maps if you feel like it will improve
your understanding of the area, but you are not required to do so for this particular part of
the assignment. If little turns up, that’s okay. It gives you reason to suggest that your
restaurant and its cuisine has a recent formal history in its part of the GTA.
My comment: to save you some time, I have chosen a place for you to search. You may enter
this address (4841 Yonge Street) to the search bar in both Toronto Food Map and Google
Maps. The selected restaurant is Granny’s Fish & Chips Inc. This place had a few restaurants in
1980s, now it is a mix of Korean, Japanese, and fast food restaurants. You might need to
search some of the history about this place. It serves as transit station in the past and
2. The second part of the mapping assignment asks you to look across the entire 1980 map for
evidence of your chosen cuisine in the wider city. The layers and legend will help your
narrow your search, but you’ll have to dig around to find where your cuisine was supported
in the historical GTA. The search function does not read our own business input so you
cannot use it as you would google maps. For example, if your chosen restaurant happens to
be a delicatessen, you might try searching around Kensington Market (Google Map Link, or
267 Augusta Ave, search this address on Toronto Food Map) or around Bathurst and
Lawrence (3090 Bathurst St.) in 1980 for evidence of other delis.
Pro tip: the historical restaurant review portion of the assignment may offer shining clues
for where a restaurant district might have been located.
Whatever you find, record the location and what types of food businesses accompanied it in
the surrounding area. Compile this data with what you found for your own area. If you can’t
find any fragments of your chosen cuisine anywhere, you should ask yourself the following
questions: Was your cuisine known by another name in the past? Might there have been similar
cuisines or more general versions of it in 1980? What conclusion can you draw about its
relationship to Toronto?
Red – instruction