Casa Loma

Running from St Clair Avenue down to Rosedale and from Spadina over to Bathurst, the Casa Loma neighbourhood gets its name from its most prominent building. Accessible by TTC via St Clair West subway station and the 512 streetcar route, the area is surrounded by ravines and large old trees, overlooking the city. The castle, as well as proximity to downtown encouraged a wealthy residency to take root north of the Annex, and today it maintains its reputation as a desirable, well established area.

Mi Casa, Su Casa

Spanish for Hill House, Casa Loma was a house built for financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt in 1914, but is now a museum and landmark, offering kid-friendly programs and tours of the grounds and stables, throughout the year. Aside from budding photographers taking in the stunning architecture, the Baldwin steps are a staircase of 110 steps often frequented by joggers.

1 Austin Terrace, www.casaloma.org

Delicious Eats

For traditional French dishes, white tablecloths and authentic accents, Le Paradis is a neighbourhood institution. For casual setting and down-home food, Rose and Sons offers a tasty, jovial affair and Big Crow from the same owners benefits from a huge patio when the season’s right, but the barbeque is succulent and flavourful year round.

Le Paradis, 166 Bedford Road, www.leparadis.com

Rose & Sons, 176 Dupont Road, www.roseandsons.ca

Rose & Sons – big patio, Rose and Sons Crow

First Act

The Tarragon Theatre Company is a promoter of quality modern theatre. Hosting plays for the Fringe Theatre Festival in July as well reinterpretations of classic playwrights like Henrick Ibsen, there’s a wealth of entertainment on offer.

Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgeman Avenue, www.tarragontheatre.com


Cool School

For school projects or amateur detective work the Toronto Archives offer access to all kinds of city history. The building also houses photography exhibits and tours for kids, after which they can run off steam in the surrounding green grounds. The area is also home to the George Brown College, where older students can participate in evening and weekend courses in everything from pattern drafting to acting.

City of Toronto Archives, 255 Spadina Road, 416-397-5000

George Brown College, 160 Kendall Ave, www.georgebrown.ca

SCHOOLS

Hillcrest Community School   (elementary)44 Hilton Ave, Toronto, ON, M5R 3E6
(416) 393-9700
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Brown Junior Public School   (elementary)
454 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON, M4V 2J1
(416) 393-1560Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

COMMUNITY CENTRES

Hillcrest Community Centre
1339 Bathurst St M5R 3H6
(416) 392-0746

Brown Community Centre   454 Avenue Rd M4V 2J1
(416) 392-6826

 

The Annex

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.

SCHOOLS

Jesse Ketchum Junior and Senior Public School   (Grades JK–08)
61 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON, M5R1H4
(416) 393-1530
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Huron Street Junior Public School (Grades JK–06)
541 Huron St, Toronto, ON, M5R2R6
(416) 393-1570
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Palmerston Avenue Junior Public School (Grades JK–06)
734 Palmerston Ave, Toronto, ON, M6G2R4
(416) 393-9305
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries
West End Alternative School (Grades 10–12)
777 Bloor St W, Floor 3, Toronto, ON, M6G1L6
(416) 393-0660

Rosedale – Moore Park

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.

SCHOOLS

Rosedale Heights School of the Arts  (Grades 09–12)
711 Bloor St E, Toronto, ON, M4W1J4
(416) 393-1580

Deer Park Junior and Senior Public School (Grades JK–08)
23 Ferndale Ave, Toronto, ON, M4T2B4
(416) 393-1550
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Rosedale Junior Public School (Grades JK–06)
22 South Dr, Toronto, ON, M4W1R1
(416) 393-1330
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School    (Elementary)
1 1/2 Garfield Ave, Toronto, ON, M4T 1E6

Whitney Junior Public School (Grades JK–06)
119 Rosedale Heights Dr, Toronto, ON, M4T1C7
(416) 393-9380
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Cabbagetown – St.James

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.

SCHOOLS

Sprucecourt Public School  (Grades JK–08)
70 Spruce St, Toronto, ON, M5A2J1
(416) 393-1522
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries   Winchester Junior and Senior Public School (Grades SK–08)
15 Prospect St, Toronto, ON, M4X1C7
(416) 393-1270
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries   Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (Elementary)
444 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, ON, M4X 1K2

Regent Park

A raw neighbourhood close to the hearts of Torontonians, Regent Park runs from Parliament to Don Valley and Gerrard to Queen. It’s home to Toronto’s oldest and largest housing project, built in the late 1940s, which has been undergoing a huge redevelopment since 2005. It still remains to be one of Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods, but new resources are bringing energy into the area. New facilities like sports centres and industrial buildings turned into attractive loft spaces are beginning to draw a different demographic. The area is serviced by three streetcars, the 501, 505 and 506, and buses run north-south.

Exercise and Activities

A stunning architectural addition to the neighbourhood, the Regent Park Aquatic Centre opened in 2012 in a striking modern building. It features three pools, a water slide, Tarzan rope and diving board, so is great for lane swimming and recreation. For drier pastimes, Karen Andrews’s Aurora Live Dance Studios offers well-priced contemporary dance classes for kids, as well as lessons for adults and individual dance coaching.

Regent Park Aquatic Centre, 640 Dundas Street East

Aurora Live Dance Studios, 392 Queen Street East

Social Innovation

A sign that more affluent and artistic communities are moving into the area, is the opening of The Centre for Social Innovation’s Regent Park location in 2012. The concept is a shared office space for rent, with hot desks and workshops for entrepreneurs and freelancers with a social commitment and creative spirit. They also hold social events such as book releases and workshops.

Centre for Social Innovation, 585 Dundas Street East

SCHOOLS

Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School(Grades JK–08)
350 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M5A2Z7
(416) 393-1760
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries  

Nelson Mandela Park Public School (Grades JK–08)
440 Shuter St, Toronto, ON, M5A1X6
(416) 393-1620
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries 

Moss Park

The residential neighbourhood of Moss Park was named after the green plant that was once prevalent. Central and easily accessible, it was largely an industrial pocket of Toronto filled with large factories and the modest dwellings of their workers. After deindustrialization in the 1970s a large housing project was installed at Queen and Parliament. While some parts of the area, which runs in an L-shape reaching from Jarvis Street on the west to the Don Valley in the east, from Carlton Street down to Front Street, have been considered dangerous, other parts are seeing a move toward gentrification. The area encompasses parts of more well-established neighbourhoods, Cabbagetown and Corktown. The area is well served by the 501 Queen streetcar and the 505 Dundas streetcar running east-west, and buses 75 and 65 running north-south.
Out and About

The Allan Gardens Conservatory is a stunning glass-domed landmark known as Palm House, built in 1910, surrounded by striking manicured gardens. Free and open to visitors year-round to take in its permanent collection of exotic plants in six greenhouses, it also offers special seasonal flower shows.

Allan Gardens, 19 Horticultural Avenue
Easy Eats

For brunch at any time of the day, Chew Chew’s Diner has long kept locals satiated in its railway themed interior. Over on Parliament, English pub food is served up with culinary upgrades like the Wild Boar, Pheasant and Cognac Scotch Eggs or the Posh Ploughman’s, which features cured meats and cheeses and house-made chutney.

Chew Chew’s Diner, 186 Carlton Street

House on Parliament, 454 Parliament Street

SCHOOLS

Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School(Grades JK–08)
350 Parliament St, Toronto, ON,  M5A2Z7
(416) 393-1760
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Inglenook Community School (Grades 11–12)
19 Sackville St, Toronto, ON, M5A3E1
(416) 393-0560

St. Paul Catholic School 80 Sackville Street, Toronto,ON,  M5A 3E5
(416) 393-5204

COMMUNITY CENTRES

John Innes Community Recreation Centre
150 Sherbourne St M5A 2R6
(416) 392-6779

Waterfront Communities – C1

Almost impossible to define, the sprawling neighbourhood of Waterfront communities, located south of Queen Street between Bathurst and York, encompasses the sub-areas of the King West Theatre District, The Club District, The Fashion District, and Harbourfront. This neighbourhood includes mostly mid and high-rise condominium buildings with a handful of newer townhouses. While most contain smaller one or two bedroom suites and are less than 1500 square feet, there are some older buildings containing larger, more expansive units with large terraces and balconies and premium lake views. In fact, Harbourfront has the highest concentration of luxury condominium apartment buildings in Toronto. The area continues to build a number of new condominiums with an emphasis on making sure every unit has at least a partial lake view and a balcony.

Waterfront revitalization has been a hot topic of debate for decades but in the fall of 2001, all levels of government established the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation, to lead and manage a comprehensive renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. It is currently one of the largest urban redevelopment projects underway in North America. Full revitalization is projected to take 25 to 30 years and an estimated $17 billion in public and private funds to complete.

The social, cultural, and recreational hub of the neighbourhood is the Harbourfront Centre. This venue hosts close to 4,000 events per year, ranging from craft workshops and sailing lessons to jazz festivals, outdoor performances and food fairs. The March and summer camp offers children 45 diverse mini camps with everything from cooking, circus and sports, to sailing and kayaking. In the winter there is a free open-air ice rink. The Harbourfront of today is a network of parks, open spaces and trails that allow residents and visitors to get close to the water.

For an interesting retail experience head to Queen’s Quay Terminal located next to Harbourfront Centre. This is a former warehouse converted into a mixed-use building including a shopping centre designed for high-end retailers, commercial office space, and a residential condominium development.

The Air Canada Centre, Skydome, C.N. Tower, and the Harbourfront Antique Market are all located within this neighbourhood. The Canadian National Exhibition, the Marine Museum, and Old Fort York are all just minutes from Harbourfront, while the Toronto Islands are ten minutes away by ferry boat.

SCHOOLS

ALPHA Alternative Junior School   (Grades JK–06)
20 Brant St, Toronto, ON, M5V2M1
(416) 393-1880

Waterfront Communities – C8

There’s a lot of life in this sprawling neighbourhood, which encompasses the stretch of land up at the water’s edge from Port Lands over to Bathurst and then up to Queen Street. With a walking score of 92 this is one of Toronto’s communities most easily accessible by foot and while there is constant discussion about lake-front revitalization projects, there’s already plenty to take advantage of down at the water’s edge and in the surrounding pockets. Served largely by the 509 and 510 streetcars, it’s also a great place to bike along the pathways and gardens at the water’s edge.


Harbourfront Centre & Power Plant C-08

A hub of culture and activity, the Harbourfront Centre offers all sorts of fun for all ages. From hosting the International Festival of Authors, contemporary dance performances to glass-blowing and jewellery-making classes indoors, there’s ice skating to canoeing and free outdoor movie screenings and ballroom classes outside, too.

235 Queen’s Quay West, www.harbourfrontcentre.com


Treasure Hunting C-08

St Lawrence Market has been around for 208 years and currently has 120 vendors selling everything from meat to grains to homemade mustards. There’s an additional farmers’ market on Saturdays, filled with juicy fresh produce and an antiques market on Sundays from dawn until 5 pm stocked with rare finds from silverware to records to a fur coats.


The Distillery

Here Victorian industrial buildings are re-imagined as restaurants, breweries, chocolate shops and galleries. Cobblestoned streets give an old European vibe, and there are outdoor performances and art installations in this buzzing hub just east of the downtown core. Opened in 2003 its 47 buildings known as the Gooderham & Worts Distillery provide a great place to spend the afternoon or take in a bite.


Lakeside Lounging

The accessibility to the island makes the perfect day trip more accessible from here than anywhere else in the city. Pack a picnic, hop on the ferry and hire a bike on the other end to wave the hustle and bustle goodbye and see the city from a unique vantage point. If you’d prefer to stick to the mainland, further east is Sugar beach, with its umbrellas and plaza, and you can grab a bite at Against the Grain, while looking out over the water. Further west you’ll stumble `across the Amsterdam Brewhouse, which also has an impressive waterfront patio and further west the Toronto Music Garden where free concerts take place throughout the summer.

Toronto Island Ferrydocks, 9 Queens Quay W.

Sugar Beach, Foot of Lower Jarvis Slip

Against the Grain, 25 Dockside Drive

Amsterdam Brewhouse, 245 Queens Quay

SCHOOLS

Market Lane Junior and Senior Public School    (JK-08)
246 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON, M5A4J6
(416) 393-1300
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries 
Island Public/Natural Science School
 (JK-06)30 Centre Island Pk, Toronto, ON, M5J2E9
(416) 393-1910
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries   Downtown Alternative School    (JK-06)
55 Pelham Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6N 1A5
416-393-5244

St. John the Evangelist Catholic School   (Elementary)
85 Lower Jarvis St, Toronto, ON, M5E1R8
(416) 393-1882

COMMUNITY CENTRES

St. Lawrence Community Recreation Centre
230 Esplanade, Toronto, ON, M5A 4J7
(416) 392-1347

 

Kensington – Chinatown

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.

University

The University area is highly characterized by the architecture and community of the University of Toronto. South of Yorkville and The Annex, and north of Kensington, it’s an affluent, well-connected neighbourhood, filled with established eateries, and dotted with independent bookshops and patisseries. Dissected by Harbord Street, it is super bike-friendly and serviced by the Yonge and University subway line, and east-west by the 94 bus and College streetcar.

University Charm

The grounds of the University themselves are well manicured and filled with joggers and passersby strolling through the greenery. A combination of Romanesque and Gothic Revival buildings constructed from 1858 to 1929 also capture the attention of those meandering through. In summer the gardens serve as a performance space for Shakespeare productions at Philosopher’s Walk.

University of Toronto, 172 St George

Active Learning

Housed in a huge, awe-inspiring building that opened in 1914, with the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition in 2007, there are tons of things to see and do at the Royal Ontario Museum. It’s home to exhibits based on world culture and natural history, from dinosaurs to astrology and ancient civilizations. A little west, The Bata Shoe Museum takes a look 4,500 years back in time from the shoes up, offering a day camp for kids and mixed events including improvisational dance.

Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park

Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West

Foodie Haven

Harbord Street, just west of the University of Toronto, is home to a string of well-established and well-loved restaurants. From the fancy Splendido, to great gastropub fare at Harbord House and Canadian classic The Harboard Room, you can’t make a wrong turn. Or stop at the charming Harbord Fish & Chips for takeout and perch on the picnic benches outside, or in one of the areas parks, and dig in. (Nearby patisseries Chabichou and Harbord Bakery have you covered for dessert.)

Splendido, 88 Harbord Street

Harbord House, 150 Harbord Street

The Harbord Room, 89 Harbord Street

Harbord Fish and Chips, 147 Harbord Street, 416-925-2225

Relax and Refresh

Two popular yoga centres also inhabit this end of the University area, offering classical Hatha yoga, guided mediations, yoga classes for mothers and children, and weekend courses, encouraging locals of all ages to unwind at their leisure.

Sivanda Yoga Centre, 77 Harbord Street

Lotus Yoga Centre, 100 Harbord Street

SCHOOLS

Forest Hill Collegiate Institute (Grades 09–12) 730 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON, M5N1B9
(416) 393-1860
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

King Edward Junior and Senior Public School (Grades JK–08)
112 Lippincott ST, Toronto, ON M5S 2P1
(416) 393-1320
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries
Kensington Community School (Grades JK–06)
401 College St, Toronto, ON, M5T1S9
(416) 393-1290
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries 
Lord Lansdowne Junior and Senior Public School (Grades JK–08)
33 Robert St, Toronto, ON, M5S2K2
(416) 393-1350
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries

Central Technical School (Grades 09–12)
725 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON, M5S2R5
(416) 393-0060
Attendance Area for Regular Program – map boundaries