Cabbagetown, first established in the mid 1850's, gets its name from the thousands of Irish immigrants who first settled here after fleeing the potato famines of their homeland. In an effort to feed their families, many impoverished residents grew cabbages in their front lawns. Over the years, the neighbourhood fell into severe disrepair until the mid 1970's when young professionals and real estate speculators drawn to the beautiful architecture, inexpensive homes and close proximity to down-town and the financial district began renovating and restoring the derelict properties. Today, with the help of the Cabbagetown Preservation Association, this neighbourhood is known to have the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in all of North America.
Generally defined as being bounded by Parliament, Wellesley and Dundas Streets and the Don Valley, today's Cabbagetown is a thriving community for professional couples, families and singles. While there remains the odd vestiges of the bygone era, residents enjoy a wide selection of boutique shops, cuisine, and culture. In addition, Cabbagetown is known for its yearly community events including their Short Film & Video Festival, the Forsythia Festival, the Fall Festival, parade and home tours.
Residents love the nearby Riverdale Farm, modelled after a late 19th century Victorian farm, the arts and crafts market, a weekly farmer's market, the nearby sports fields and quick access to the Lower Don Recreation Trail.
Located in the centre of the city lies the quiet neighbourhood of Leaside. This leafy area, first settled in the mid 1800's, is one of the city's premier areas for upper middle class families who value this established and safe community as the perfect place to raise their families. The area was mostly farmland through the nineteenth century. It was incorporated as a town in 1913. In 1967 it was amalgamated with the township of East York to form the borough of East York. In 1998 it became part of the city of Toronto.
The Leaside community is made up predominantly of single-family homes in traditional Tudor style designs dating from the 1930's and '40's. There is a good mix of two-storey detached and semi-detached houses, and while a large number of Leaside bungalows have been replaced by new custom designed homes, an over-riding effort has been made to keep architectural exterior details in place, such as leaded glass, cut stone and wide wooden trim.
The largest recreation centre in Leaside is Leaside Community Memorial Gardens which includes an indoor swimming pool, an ice rink, a curling rink and a large auditorium. Serena Gundy Park, located in the north-east corner of Leaside, covers 62.6 acres and is used for picnicking and hiking in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter. Trace Manes Park is located in south Leaside and is home to the Leaside Tennis club and boasts six tennis courts. Other facilities in the park include a playground, a baseball diamond and an outdoor ice rink in winter. Howard Talbot Park in north-west Leaside features two baseball diamonds, a "splash pad", and a water playground. While small in area, Leaside has a fine selection of reputable schools for both young children and teens including Maurice Cody, Blythewood, Bessborough Drive School, and Leaside High School.
The commercial strip of Bayview from Millwood to Soudan is one of Toronto's best mid-town neighbourhood shopping districts. With a comfortable mix of big box stores, smaller chains, antique and indie shops, sport and fitness clubs, as well as health, beauty and fashion boutiques, this up-market retail strip is within easy walking distance. Bayview is also known for its wide selection of speciality food shops and a wonderful choice of restaurants and pubs to suit any craving or quench any thirst.
Riverdale is a large area in the east end of Toronto that encompasses many smaller neighbourhoods. In the broadest sense, Riverdale runs from the Don Valley Parkway east to Pape Avenue, and south from Danforth Avenue to Gerrard Avenue
The majority of Riverdale’s homes were built between the 1880s (after it was annexed by the city of Toronto) and the 1920s. They are mostly two to three-storey semi-detached Victorian homes, with a mix of detached and row housing included. In the 1980s, the artistic and literary community rediscovered Riverdale, with prices then being very affordable and the neighbourhood family friendly. Because of this, it has undergone a considerable ‘gentrification’ since then, with prices rising significantly over the last twenty years. It is a hot, trendy market these days, with a fully renovated home moving very quickly on the market.
Danforth, the northern boundary of Riverdale, is an eclectic mix of Greek restaurants, boutique shopping, specialty and gourmet shops, cafes, and design stores. Every year, the street shuts down one weekend in the summer for the Taste of the Danforth to celebrate everything Greek, but especially the food. To the south along Gerrard Street, a large Chinese community brings the Orient to residents with shops, restaurants and fresh produce stores.
There are many parks in Riverdale: Withrow Park, Riverdale Park East, with its popular tobogganing hills, Greenwood Park, and Jimmy Simpson Park. All have swimming facilities, baseball diamonds and tennis courts. Nearby Greenwood offers day camps and hockey and skating classes, Jimmy Simpson Recreation Centre has a gymnasium and games room, and the Pape Recreational Centre has meeting rooms along with an indoor pool and weight room.
Access to all parts of Toronto is one of Riverdale’s prime attractions. The Don Valley Parkway is just minutes away, as are the Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Boulevard. Drive along Danforth, over the Bloor viaduct and you are on Bloor Street, right in the heart of downtown Toronto. There are several bus and streetcar routes throughout Riverdale, along with the Broadview, Chester and Pape stations of the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
South Riverdale is located in the south-east part of Toronto and is bounded by The Don Valley to the west, and Greenwood to the East, and lies south of Gerrard. It is also commonly referred to as Leslieville/Riverside. The original homes of the 1880s were modest in nature; styles include Ontario Cottage, Second Empire row houses, and Victorians. In the early decades of the 20th century, Edwardian detached and semi-detached homes were built, along with a large number of bungalows. Always a working-class neighbourhood, Leslieville and Riverside has recently experienced a move towards trendy ‘gentrification’, as a continuation of the process that began earlier in the general Riverdale area. Cafes, boutiques, and specialty shops have sprung up, and although prices are quickly rising and renovations abound, they are still fairly accessible for first-time homebuyers with young families. The building of several condominium and trendy loft projects is also drawing the young, hip buyer into the area. With its proximity to the clubs and nightlife of downtown Toronto, however, Leslieville and Riverside has not yet reached the limits of gentrification and is still fundamentally a quiet family neighbourhood. Tree-lined streets lend themselves to strolling, having a quiet coffee, or reading in a park. Greenwood Park has skating, hockey, day camps, and biking programs, along with an off-leash dog area, wading pool and three baseball diamonds. At Coxwell, the large Ashbridge’s Bay Park offers beach volleyball, a boardwalk for strolling or jogging, paved trails for roller-blading or biking, and one of Toronto’s best firework displays every Canada Day. Shopping and dining in the area is eclectic. In fact, Leslieville has become somewhat of a dining destination. Along Gerrard between Greenwood and Coxwell Avenues is the area known as Little India where the East Indian shop owners offer all the magnificent colours, sounds, scents and textures of India. There is good public transit service to the Leslieville area, with streetcars along Queen Street, various bus routes, several of which feed into the Broadview station of the Bloor-Danforth subway line. The Don Valley Parkway, Lakeshore Boulevard and the Gardiner are minutes away, and Bloor Street, via Danforth Avenue, gives residents almost immediate access to downtown Toronto.
It is generally assumed that the dividing line between Moore Park to the north and Rosedale to the south is the railway tracks that bisect this large central neighbourhood. Indeed, this is an area with many natural barriers. To the north is the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, to the south is the Park Drive Ravine and the railway tracks, to the east is the Moore Park Ravine and to the west is the Avoca Ravine. With its many ravines and convoluted street routes, Rosedale-Moore Park is known for its low levels of vehicular traffic. Of course that is not all that makes this one of Toronto's most sought after neighbourhoods: for over one hundred years Rosedale has held the distinction of being Toronto's most fashionable address. Many of Toronto's wealthiest and most prominent citizens reside here - who wouldn’t love to be surrounded by beautiful ravines and parkland, yet be just a few minutes from Toronto's major business, entertainment, and shopping districts?
Much of Rosedale's Victorian, Georgian, Tudor, and Edwardian style mansions were built between 1860 and 1930. Moore Park wasn’t far behind, being established some 30 years later and while much of South Rosedale contains a number of inexpensive condominium, co-operative, and co-ownership apartment buildings you are likely to find many newer townhouses as well as a fair number of duplex and multi-plex homes in Moore Park.
Currently there are fifteen heritage conservation districts in Toronto, including both South Rosedale and North Rosedale. Due to the neighbourhood’s Garden Suburb characteristics and grand old houses, many Rosedale homes are listed on the Toronto Historical Board's Inventory of Heritage Properties.
South Rosedale is currently home to an exclusive all-girls school, Branksome Hall. Rosedale Public School is a small elementary school in central Rosedale, across the street from Rosedale's community centre, Mooredale House.
Watch out for the annual spring park party, Mayfair, traditionally on the first Saturday in May. The event typically consists of rides, games, flea market and other such carnival-type activities. People come dressed to the nines.
Also known affectionately as Deer Park, thanks to the great number of deer that lived in the area at the turn of the century, the Yonge - St. Clair neighbourhood is bounded by a section of the Rosedale ravine to the east, Farnham Avenue and Jackes Avenue in the south, Avenue Road and Oriole Parkway in the west, the Belt Line trail in the north on the west side of Yonge Street, and Glen Elm Avenue in the north on the east side of Yonge Street. Besides Yonge and Eglinton to the North, this is another example of how rapid residential and commercial development followed the TTC subway expansion in the 1950's. Today this neighbourhood is one of Toronto's busiest midtown intersections and home to prominent companies like Astral Media.
Deer Park has a wonderful mix of detached and semi-detached houses that encompass a variety of architectural styles. Most of the original Deer Park houses were built between 1875 and 1920. Deer Park also contains a fair number of newer townhouses that blend in well with the older homes in the neighbourhood. Like many communities in Toronto, the residential streets of Deer Park feed straight out to the main arteries. In addition to a healthy home stock, the area also has a wide selection on condominium choices. There are several older buildings like the iconic Granite Place, several co-op buildings on Avoca and Rosehill, some newer buildings on Delisle and Yonge Street and further west, near Avenue Road, the city's latest luxury buildings like One12 St. Clair, The Avenue and Churchill Park condos and the architecturally acclaimed Imperial Plaza, a luxury residence with units priced to $8 million.
This part of the city is also close enough to wealthy neighbourhoods like Forest Hill, Rosedale and Moore Park to support a number of high end restaurants and specialty shops. In fact, the area attracts many shoppers from other parts of the city for its high-profile boutiques and wide selection of retailers in shopping complexes like The Towne Mall and Delisle Court. Residents love how Deer Park's commercial centre balances so well against a neighbourhood surrounded by lush green parkland, majestic trees, quick access to the Belt Line and the vibrant and urban forest of the Avoca Ravine.
The epicentre of this neighbourhood remains The Rosehill Reservoir, located just steps from Yonge and St. Clair. Together with David Balfour Park this is an oasis in the bustling midtown core. The Reservoir which forms the upper tier of this park includes a very pretty four acre reflecting pool lined with cobblestones. There is also an adjacent waterfall with a small bridge and a maze of stairs on each side, as well as a separate water fountain feature with a dramatic overhead spray that rushes water into the oval pool below. There is also a pretty flower garden and wading pool tucked away at the far end of the park. Wrapped around Rosehill Reservoir is a surfaced path that's ideal for walking, jogging and cycling. This well treed park has a large children's playground.