A Caribbean restaurant in Toronto has held strong to its location for 12 years, but started with the owner’s involvement in her family kiosk at the Harbourfront Center for over a decade.
Their “One Love Corn Soup” and spicy corn were a staple at summer festivals held in Harbourfront.
One Love Vegetarian opened as a physical storefront in 2009.
“My goal and goal was to open a restaurant where I would take my own family with me for a plant-based meal,” Ikeila Wright, who calls herself “CEO in charge of collection, preparation, floor mopping, accounting and making sure, that the food at One Love Vegetarian will continue to do so, “says blogTO.
Prior to opening the restaurant, Wright held the same impressive title as a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years.
“I wanted to branch out and have my own business,” Wright says.
“One Love Vegetarian was my chance to be a self-employed businessman.”
She has been at the helm of the company throughout its existence. While Wright may be a pioneer in Toronto’s vegetarian Caribbean scene, she’s far from the first to hit that track, even in this place.
“We’re located in what used to be Joyce’s West Indian Foods,” Wright says.
“Joyce’s was one of the first Caribbean grocery stores in Toronto to open in 1979. It was also one of the oldest Caribbean-owned businesses in the city, closing its doors in 2007.”
She also shouts up Ital Vital, which opened in the same era as Joyce’s, as well as Veggie Thali, Veggie D’light and V’s Caribbean Restaurant.
“There are also the upcoming vendors that you will find at vegetarian festivals and music festivals during the summer months,” Wright says.
Joyce’s destination has been a major benefit to the restaurant over the years with its location just across the street from Bathurst Underground Station.
“We are in front of the tram loop, which gives us visibility for commuters on the trams,” Wright says.
However, she also says that many people miss them because they are heading to Bloor in the opposite direction.
The vegetarian restaurant has a revealed menu but still serves their famous corn soup.
Thi also make whole wheat or ready wheel and curry dishes with chickpeas and potatoes or TVP soy protein, and to wheel you can also get a filling of Jamaican pumpkin.
Curry dishes are served with plentiful sides of basmati rice and peas, an organic side salad, fried plantain and avocado.
Callaloo (Jamaican green) is spicy and steamed and served with boiled green banana and Jamaican sweet potato.
Their BBQ tofu stir fry is actually one of their most popular dishes, but it’s also one of their most guarded secrets: Wright will not tell me how it’s made.
“From the moment we opened our doors, One Love Vegetarian has enjoyed a diverse cross-section of patrons,” says Wright.
“I can not say that our clientele has changed over the years. Everyone is welcome at One Love. Diversity is what makes Toronto the remarkable city it is.”