Our Story

Toronto Latino was founded in 1985; a time when Latino businesses in Toronto were very scarce and the idea of Latinos owning their own business seemed unimaginable. We were mostly all still workers and labourers in our small, yet growing, community.

The idea was born after seeing an ad in a New York Latino newspaper where a new company called Ría Envía was offering an innovative and unique money transfer service to all of Latin America with arrival times within 24- 48 hours. Something never before seen. Until then, we immigrants only had two ways to send money to our families: by way of a letter, which was not very safe and only God knew when it would reach the hands of our loved ones; or sending it with a friend or family member who was returning to our home country. The concept was incredibly unique and over the years it became one of the main sources of foreign capital for Latin America.

We called the New York offices of Ría Envía, which at the time only had offices in Manhattan, Queens, and its surrounding metropolitan area. The rest was open for those who wanted to be Ría Envía agents, since the company was still in its early stages.

We traveled to New York to meet with them and were given the rights for all of Canada. For many years Toronto Latino would be the only Ría Envía agent in the country. People got to know us and we grew through word of mouth referrals.

This brought about a dilemma: How could we make the best use of all the cash that we received, given that Ría Envía was only charging us once a week and we had it readily available? The answer was the idea behind what would become a new service to our community: cheque cashing. This service was also a success and we became pioneers on two fronts: money transfers and cheque cashing.

In 1989 we decided to expand our services to the community and we opened a storefront where people could buy all the products from our family pantry that they could not find in Canadian supermarkets. We also started to offer music, movies, newspapers, magazines and the memorable international calling cards. Little by little we were able to offer more products and services to our community and the clientele grew more and more.

In 2003 we purchased our own property just a few steps from the original Toronto Latino and we added what was missing: a restaurant with traditional Latin American cuisine. Our business had come full circle. In just one location you could carry out all your errands with your compatriots, and with complete trust.

This summer 2020, we celebrate 35 years of service to the community and our slogan remains the same: TORONTO LATINO SERVES PEOPLE.

We served the first Latinos who came to this country in search of a better future, their children who were born here and now their grandchildren. Every day new immigrants come to Canada and we are here as always, ready to serve them.

It is incredible the number of people who tell you: “in Toronto Latino I cashed my first cheque that I earned in Canada” or “in Toronto Latino I sent my first money transfer to my family” or “in Toronto Latino I first bought my tortillas” and many more. This is what makes us what we are, a Latin Institution in Canada and pioneers as a Latino business.