Living in Hillcrest Village
Hillcrest is a mature established neighbourhood with quiet tree-lined streets and whimsical looking houses, that make you feel as if you are far away from the bright lights of the big city. The distinguishing feature of Hillcrest is its location perched on the ridge of the Davenport escarpment. The rich topography of this area has resulted in some of the prettier streets in Toronto.
History in Hillcrest Village
Hillcrest was first settled in the 1840’s by Robert John Turner, a reformer from England. The Turner house, named “Bracondale”, stood where Hillcrest Park is today. By 1884, a small village grew up on the edge of the Turner estate, at the intersection of Christie and Davenport. This settlement became known as Bracondale Village. The Village consisted mostly of farmers and a few stores. Its first postmaster was Frank Turner, the son of Robert Turner. In 1909, Bracondale Village was annexed by the City of Toronto. Shortly thereafter, Frank Turner’s heirs subdivided the Bracondale estate and turned it into an exclusive subdivision named ” Bracondale Hill Park”. The Turner family retained ownership of the Bracondale house until 1937, when it was sold to the City and demolished in order to make room for Hillcrest Park.
Homes in Hillcrest Village
The houses at the north end of Hillcrest were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. These houses are loaded with turn of the century charm and character, and are a wonderful mix of shapes and sizes. There is also a pocket of larger detached homes, built between 1910 and 1930, near Hillcrest Park. Some of these dignified residences were built with stone from the original Union Station, which was torn down after World War 1.
Lifestyle in Hillcrest Village
The Hillcrest shopping district located on St. Clair Avenue West features mostly independent retailers that cater to the day-to-day needs of the local community. The small convenience-type stores on Davenport Road, and Vaughan Road, also serve the Hillcrest community. These are mostly independent owner operated stores that provide a personalized and friendly service to the neighbourhood residents. The Stop Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns located at 601 Christie Street, is considered one of the largest and best farmers market in Toronto. This market is open every Saturday year-round from 8 a.m. to noon.
Recreation in Hillcrest Village
The Hillcrest Community Centre is located in the Hillcrest Public School on Bathurst Street. This facility includes an indoor pool and a gymnasium. Just north of the Hillcrest Community Centre is the Wychwood Public Library, which offers year round programs for the neighbourhood children. Hillcrest Park, perched atop the Davenport escarpment at the south perimeter of this neighbourhood, offers a spectacular view of the city skyline and Lake Ontario. This park has a wading pool, a children’s playground, and four tennis courts. Hillcrest residents have been instrumental in donating their time, money and resources to the development of the Artscape Wychwood Barns, which involved the conversion of the historic Wychwood TTC streetcar repair barns on Christie Street south of St. Clair. Artscape Wychwood Barns is a 60,000 sq. ft. multifaceted community meeting place that encompasses live/work space for artists, as well as seasonal festivals, a farmers market, a greenhouse and a community bake-oven. The park’s greenspace includes a natural ice rink, playing fields, a stage, chess tables, beach volleyball, a water play area and children’s swings and climbers.
Transportation in Hillcrest Village
Hillcrest is well served by public transit. The streetcar runs along St. Clair Avenue West, while regular bus service runs along Oakwood Avenue and Bathurst Street. Davenport Road also has a limited bus service. Motorists are just minutes from downtown. It is approximately a fifteen minute drive from this neighbourhood to the Allen Expressway, which connects commuters to Toronto’s major highways.