Living in Bickford Park
The Bickford Park neighbourhood revolves around the Bob Abate Centre and the Bickford Park playground. These local landmarks are the social and recreational hubs of this family oriented community. Originally settled by Jewish, Italian, and Portuguese immigrants, Bickford Park is still home to people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Affordable houses, excellent shopping and convenient access to public transit are hallmarks of this neighbourhood.
History of Bickford Park
The Bickford Park neighbourhood is named after Colonel E. Oscar Bickford, a former Toronto businessman and politician. Bickford, a wealthy landowner, owned what is now the Bickford Ravine Park. His widow Emily A. Bickford sold this property to the City of Toronto in 1908, for $44,250. In 1913, the Elizabethan Recreation Centre was built at the north end of Bickford Park. This playground was named after the “Lizzies”, a collection of local sports teams that achieved nationwide fame at all levels of amateur sport, particularly in baseball and basketball. The Centre’s name was changed in 1990 to The Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre in honour of the “Lizzies” popular long-time coach. Almost ninety years after it’s inception, the Bickford Park playground still represents a field of dreams for this quiet west end neighbourhood.
Homes in Bickford Park
Bickford Park’s Victorian homes were built between 1880 and 1930. There is a good mix of two and three storey houses as well as semi-detached and detached homes. Bickford Park’s streetscape features pretty front gardens and mature trees. The flow of traffic in front of the houses is light as all the streets are one way traffic only, with garages situated off rear laneways at the back of the properties.
Lifestyle in Bickford Park
The Bloorcourt Village shopping district along Bloor Street has a large variety of stores and restaurants. Every June, the Village hosts festival days where strolling musicians, bands, clowns, and magicians perform to the delight of shoppers. College Street is home to the Little Italy shopping district which is famous for its Italian restaurants, cafes and pizza parlours. Harbord Street, is an intimate shopping district with a small variety of stores that cater mostly to the local residents.
Recreation in Bickford Park
The social and recreational hub of this neighbourhood is the Bob Abate Recreation Centre on Montrose Avenue. This centre has a small gymnasium, an arts and crafts room and community meeting rooms. Located next door to the Bob Abate Centre is The Bickford Centre which has a pool and a large gymnasium. Bickford Park playground, located just south of the community centre, has two baseball diamonds that service an active baseball program including rookie ball and T-ball leagues for boys and girls that live in the neighbourhood. Across the street from Bickford Park is the smaller Harbord Park, which features childrens playgrounds and a wading pool.
Transportation in Bickford Park
This neighbourhood has regular bus or streetcar service on Harbord St., College St., and Ossington Avenue. Local subway stations at Ossington and at Christie Street, provide Bickford Park residents with direct access to the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Motorists can be downtown in minutes and are approximately fifteen minutes from the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard.