The Canadian dollar is strong, but the American one is still stronger. If you’re on vacation in Toronto, there are many places to eat extremely cheap in some neighbourhoods that seem scary to many Torontonians, but many Americans may not even blink an eye.

A lovely young man named Avi Zer-Aviv and I had a meeting to discuss doing work together with Youth Assisting Youth (YAY). YAY is a non-profit organization that matches high school students with younger kids for mentoring. I was a mentor myself when I was at high school. Avi was kind enough to take me to a place close to the corner of Lansdowne and on Bloor Streets. The restaurant is called South Indian Dosa Mahal. In a neighbourhood like that where you need to be wearing your glasses not to be sold any drugs, this restaurant is a gem. With a clean and pleasant environment, you can get a lot of food for under $10 CDN.

Heading south to the Parkdale area, there are many places with good food at good prices. Rhino Restaurant and Bar which is close to Queen and Dufferin Streets is seen as an oasis in the neighbourhood. There you can eat for the same price as South Indian Dosa Mahal, but with a different flavour of food. They have quesadillas, great hamburgers and a weekend breakfast special that is tasty. They also have an outdoor patio and parking.

Heading east, there is a place called Friendly’s on Queen Street close to Dovercourt that serves an all-day breakfast for as little as under $6 CDN.

If you’re out on the town and it’s later at night, there’s a place called John’s café on Baldwin Street close to Dundas and University Streets that is a quaint little hide-away. If you drink, you can get martinis for around $3-$6 CDN on Thursday nights. They also have a large outdoor front patio.

In the downtown Chinatown, there’s a place on Kensington Ave. called Saigon Pearl that has a great dim sum for low prices. Make sure you don’t go overboard and you can walk away spending less than $21. If you really want to treat yourself and a friend, go wild and it still won’t hurt the pocketbook too much. Plus, you probably won’t have to eat for awhile afterward.

Little India in the east end on Gerrard St. has many places where you can have Indian food for less. There are so many places to choose from, just take your pick. Walking down that whole stretch, you can’t go wrong. Pick a place that looks clean and inviting to you and that’s probably the perfect place to get a great meal.

If the weather is great, take a stroll on the boardwalk by Ashbridge’s Bay, just walking or biking distance from Little India. Enjoy yourself – Toronto is a great city.