The Annex, bounded by Dupont Street to the north, south to Bloor Street, west to Bathurst Street and east to Avenue Road also includes the neighbourhoods of Seaton Village, parts of Koreatown and Yorkville. The Annex became part of Toronto in the late 1800s and immediately became one of Toronto's elite neighbourhoods mostly because the large red brick homes, which borrowed architectural details from Romanesque and Queen Ann styles. Today these stunning homes, known simply as the Annex Style House, feature pyramidal roofs and turrets, recessed grand archways and wooden spindled porches.
The Annex remained prominent until the 1920s when wealthy residents moved further north into Forest Hill and Lawrence Park. That transition marked a turning point when many houses were subdivided into student apartments while a number were demolished to make way for mid-rise apartment buildings in the International style. Some of architect Uno Prii's most expressive sculptural apartment buildings, complete with ample landscaped green spaces, are located in the Annex. Further west, into Seaton Village, homes tend to be smaller and less expensive, generally quieter and more family-oriented.
Because of its close proximity to the University of Toronto, the Annex draws its energy from a large student and faculty population. There are several frat houses in the neighbourhood; as a result, much of the area’s retail located along Bloor Street features restaurant and entertainment venues geared towards a younger demographic... university students, young families, professionals, business people and prominent artists. This stretch of stores which includes a hodgepodge of clothing boutiques, bookstores, food markets, cheap restaurants, and outdoor cafes comes alive at night. Fitness enthusiasts can get in shape at the University of Toronto's Athletic Centre, the new Varsity Centre, or the Jewish Community Centre at Bloor and Spadina.
The Annex has endured and is now over one hundred years old. It has a dynamic street scene, accessible public transit system, proximity to the University, and the business and entertainment districts. It is easy to see why many of the rooming houses and multi-unit homes in the Annex have recently been converted back to single family houses. Reflecting the return to prominence of this historic Toronto neighbourhood, the Annex, with its heritage properties and leafy streets, remains one of Toronto's premier neighbourhoods.
Designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2006, Kensington Market is one of Toronto's most distinctive multicultural neighbourhoods. Bordered by College St. on the north, Spadina Ave. on the east, Dundas St. W. to the south, and Bathurst St. to the west, this neighbourhood is known for its wonderful outdoor market feel, eclectic shops, vintage clothing, cafés, fresh produce, fish and butcher shops and bakeries. Throughout its diverse history, this neighbourhood has hosted a wide immigrant population. If you look closely you can see the influences of Eastern Europeans, the Azores, the Caribbean, and East Asia.
To the east of Kensington proper, and forming an important part of this district, is Chinatown. First developed in the late 19th century, it is now one of the largest Chinatowns in North America and one of six major Chinese-Canadian communities in the Greater Toronto Area.
Today the neighbourhood is a noted tourist attraction, and a centre of Toronto's cultural life and home to one of Canada's few cannabis cafés, boutiques, and head shops. Land prices in the area have increased sharply, but despite its increased appeal to professionals, Kensington still remains a predominantly working class, immigrant community. Since the mid 2000's, residents and businesses have organized a series of Summer Pedestrian Sunday events. Live music, dancing, street theatre and games are among the special events on the closed streets.
To the east and south of the Market are three major down-town campuses including University of Toronto, OCAD University (formerly the Ontario College of Art and Design), and Ryerson University. Many students live in the small houses and lofts in the neighbourhood. The diversity brings a wonderful multicultural flavour to the district.
The large central neighbourhood of Palmerston–Little Italy, located between Bathurst Street to the east, Bloor Street to the north, Dovercourt Road to the west and College Street to the south, is a primarily mature downtown neighbourhood consisting of narrow tree-lined streets full of Victorian semi-detached, detached and row houses with parking off a rear laneway.
Most of the neighbourhood was built in the early 20th century and became home to large numbers of Italian immigrants who arrived in the 1920s, many of whom found work on the railways and in road construction. In the 1990s, gentrification of the neighbourhood began when many young professionals moved in, drawn by inexpensive homes and a strong community.
There are several vibrant commercial strips including Ossington Avenue, Dundas Street and "Mirvish Village" but the heart and soul of the area belongs to Little Italy’s famed College Street. Once Toronto’s pizza and pasta headquarters, it’s now considered a twenty-something's version of the Club District. Teeming with restaurants, gelato parlours and cafes, fresh fruit and vegetable markets and mouth-watering bakeries, the area’s enduring popularity has attracted all demographic groups from affluent homebuyers, working class families, college students and club kids. In addition to the modern infill homes that are popping up, a few new condo projects are making the College streetscape sizzle.
With a vibrant night life, two bursting summer street festivals, a killer music store, a second-run cinema, Toronto's best sandwich, this is one of the hottest places to live in the city. Landmarks include Honest Ed's, Italian Walk of Fame, Royal Cinema, Cafe Diplomatico, Bitondos Pizza, Bar Italia, Riviera Bakery, and Sicilian Ice Cream.
Located between College Street on the north and Queen Street West on the south and between Bathurst and Dovercourt lays the neighbourhood of Trinity Bellwoods, which also forms part of the West-Queen-West district. During the early part of the 20th century the neighbourhood became a landing site for immigrants of various nationalities, including Portuguese and Italian, which helped define much of the neighbourhood's character for the next seven decades.
While Trinity Bellwoods Park, with its pedestrian and bicycling paths, tennis courts, playground, hockey rink, modern community center and swimming pool are the big daytime draw for the neighbourhood children, it is the strip along Queen West and Ossington, with its galleries, bars and cafes that provide the nightlife for the adults.
Most of the homes in this neighbourhood are century semi detached and fully detached Victorian and Edwardian homes. An influx of middle class families started renovating these homes in the 1990’s. In addition, there are several low-rise condominium buildings being constructed along Ossington Avenue. Typical suites start at about $450 to $550 per square foot.
Significant Sales: An entry level home in this neighbourhood would typically start in the $650,000 range and would most likely be a 2 storey semi detached or row house with an unfinished basement, moderate improvements and parking. Typical lots are 14 to 16 feet wide by 100 feet deep. A top of the line, newly renovated and restored 3 storey home with 3 or 4 bedrooms, modern kitchen and new bathrooms, lowered and finished basement and professionally landscaped front and back yards sell in the $1.5 to $1.7 million range. Along Queen St West between the park and Shaw Street are a few loft style buildings including the well known Candy Factory Lofts. This is one of the first large scale loft conversions in the city, and one of its most iconic. Most suites feature 13 foot exposed wood ceilings and plenty of exposed brick. Recently a 1000 square foot suite sold in multiple offers for over $600,000.
Bounded on the west by Lansdowne Avenue, on the north by College Street, on the east by Ossington Avenue and on the south by the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway CNR/CPR mainline railway tracks. The area west of Dufferin Street was a part of the former Town of Brockton. There is a fine stock of mid-century homes.
It's no surprise that Little Portugal (also known as Portugal Village) is home to Toronto's large Portuguese community in the "Old" City of Toronto who made this enclave their home in the 50's and 60's. For the past few years, this group has experienced a demographic shift. Older families and Boomers are moving away to the suburbs and the area is being repopulated with urban professionals who seek urban living with flair and amenities at their doorstep. Other ethnic groups have also begun to populate the area, notably from Brazil, China and Vietnam, contributing to the multi-cultural fabric of the community. The area is mainly residential with several remaining local Portuguese businesses along Dundas Street West and College Street. While this is still the best place to grab a custard tart and watch World Cup soccer, several hot new restaurants and design shops, lured by cheap rents, have infiltrated the neighbourhood. Locals love the long stretches of side-walks dotted with boutiques and night-life hotspots.
A major hub of activity in the area today is McCormick Park, home to McCormick Recreation Centre and Arena on Brock Avenue. This area has long been a focal point for youth living in the area. Area schools include a mix of junior, middle and high schools.
If you haven't figured it out by now, this is a very walkable neighbourhood with an eclectic mix of Victorian and Edwardian row, semi- and detached brick and brick front homes and a thriving social scene. Little Portugal is the perfect place to live if you crave convenience and a colourful street-scape.
Located along and south of King Street West, bordered by Strachan Avenue to the west, Bathurst Street to the east, and the railway corridor to the south, and so named because Niagara Street runs through the centre of it. The area includes several distinct sub communities including the Fashion District and the eastern part of Liberty Village .
The Niagara neighbourhood has a rich history that dates back to 1793, when it was part of a military garrison for the fledgling Town of York. Old Fort York is still standing on Garrison Road, between Bathurst Street and Strachan Avenue. In the 1850's, it transitioned into a prominent industrial centre. The factories and mills, along the CN and CP railway corridors, created a demand for workers' housing which ultimately led to the residential development of the Niagara neighbourhood in the mid to late 1800's.
In the early 2000’s, an explosion of new condominium and loft developments, town-houses and retail development erupted throughout the community, particularly in Liberty Village, a 43-acre master-planned community. While Queen Street West provides Niagara residents with an eclectic mix of antique shops, art galleries, book-stores, fashion stores, natural food markets and restaurants, there remains a slightly gritty and urban feel. Then there is the unique vibrancy to Liberty Village, which emanates from the red brick Victorian industrial architecture that dominates the street-scape. The tall chimney smoke stacks that project from some of these old buildings serve as neighbourhood landmarks.
Niagara is a close knit neighbourhood with its own small community centre located on the Stanley Park grounds. This centre is used for local resident meetings, community based programming and social events. Niagara has a great transit infrastructure and is close to major east west highway routes.