Living in North Toronto
When the expanded Toronto Mega City was formed in 1998 the North Toronto neighbourhood went from being located at the north end of the old city to occupying a central location within the new city boundaries. Despite these changes North Toronto’s identity as a neighbourhood endures. North Toronto is especially popular with families raising school-age children. It has everything families are looking for in a neighbourhood including good size houses, an excellent selection of public, private and separate schools, convenient access to Toronto’s transit system, and a multitude of parks and recreational facilities.
Yonge and Eglinton — affectionately referred as “Young and Eligible” — has been an important intersection for over a hundred years. This area was originally part of Eglinton Village, which amalgamated with Davisville Village to the south and Bedford Park Village to the north to form the Town of North Toronto in 1890. The Town of North Toronto was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1912.
The northwest quadrant of the Yonge-Eglinton intersection is occupied by the Yonge Eglinton Centre that has recently undergone a massive renovation. The northeast quadrant of Yonge-Eglinton will soon be the site of a new luxuryt condominium tower. The southeast quadrant has already been transformed by the recently built Minto Midtown project, which consists of two residential towers with retail at grade level. The open space between the two buildings is designed to improve pedestrian space in the area. The southwest quadrant is largely occupied by the TTC Eglinton bus terminal lands, which the city has targeted for public realm improvements, better public transit infrastructure and new park space.
Also notable is the redevelopment of North Toronto Collegiate (east of Yonge Street between Roehampton and Broadway). This historic school was rebuilt in 2011 with a new playing field. “The Republic” condominium development abutting the new school has been very popular with homebuyers seeking this prime uptown location.
History of North Toronto
The town of North Toronto was incorporated in 1890. It was formed as the result of an amalgamation between Davisville Village, Eglinton Village, and Bedford Park Village. At the time of its incorporation, North Toronto was primarily an agricultural farming community. However, large parcels of land in North Toronto were already subdivided, and were being held by speculators. The actual building of houses in this area began in the 1890’s, when the Metropolitan Street Railway, made North Toronto the northernmost stop on its five cent line from downtown Toronto. By the early 1900’s, North Toronto had emerged as one of Toronto’s most popular commuter suburbs. However, frustrated by the poor level of municipal services being offered by the Town, North Toronto residents voted in favour of Annexation to the City of Toronto on December 15, 1912. North Toronto filled in quickly after annexation and was completely developed by the 1940’s.
Homes in North Toronto
The North Toronto neighbourhood comprises a large area of what is now considered Uptown Toronto. The close proximity to Downtown Toronto has encouraged real estate speculators to invest and build in this area dating back to the first landowners in the early 1800s. When North Toornto was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1912 land speculation along with a flurry of building activity hit an all-time high; that is until now. It seems everything old is new again when it comes to real estate in North Toronto with a remarkable 86 recorded MLS sales in 2015.
Most North Toronto houses sold in the twenty to forty thousand dollar price range when they were originally built mainly in the 1920s.30s and 40s. Compare those price to 2015 where the average sale price in North Toronto is currently $1,348,000. Entry level houses start in the $680,000-$900,000 range. Fiifty-five houses sold for over one million dollars, six houses sold for over two million dollars and one house cracked the three million dollar mark this year. The demand from homebuyers looking to move into this neighbourhood is reflected in the average list to sale price ratio which is an incredible 104% reflecting the fact most North Toronto homes are attracting multiple bids and are selling for over the asking price. The average North Toronto home sells in just 14 days. This average days on market would be much less if not for the fact many sellers wait a week or so after the official MLS launch date to accept offers.
Homebuyers will find a vast array of options in this neighbourhood. The original houses in the neighbourhood consist of Tudor and Craftsman style bungalows, semi-detached houses and detached homes ranging in architecture from late Victorian to Georgian and Colonial as well as Craftsman and Tudor style homes. The whimsical architecture of these older homes combined with the mature tree canopy found on most streets, combine to make North Toronto one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Toronto. North Toronto is also a magnet for new homebuyers. Some of the infill homes are quite spectacular however a few of the contemporary homes would make early North Toronto developer Wilfred Servington Dinnick shudder. Dinnick was known to incorporate strict architeectural guidelines into his plans of subdivision. These restrictions were intended to ensure a uniform streetscape where all the houses meshed nicely into their bucolic setting.
North Toronto has emerged as a prime site for new condominium development thereby satisfying the demand for an entry level price point into this popular family oriented neighbourhood. The median price for a two bedroom condo in North Toronto with parking is currently $585,000 with overall prices ranging from the high three hundred thousands to over two million dollars. North Toronto’s popularity with homebuyers stems from its close proximity to downtown, convenient subway access to the Yonge TTC line, quaint neighbourhood shops and restaurants , abundance of greenspace, parks and ravines, and of course excellent schools led by the recently rebuilt North Toronto Collegiate.
Lifestyle in North Toronto
North Toronto residents patronize the local shops and restaurants on Yonge Street, between Eglinton and Lawrence Avenues. The mix of stores on Yonge Street is very diverse, ranging from mom and pop owner-operated stores, to international chain stores; that have added a certain lustre to the entire area. Indoor shopping is available nearby at the Yonge and Eglinton Centre, which has recently undergone a major renovation and expansion. The Yonge and Eglinton corridor has been coined ‘Young and Eligible’ due to the many bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and movie theatres, that proliferate at this intersection.
Recreation in North Toronto
The ultra-modern North Toronto Community Centre is located on Eglinton Avenue, just east of Avenue Road. This centre includes a gymnasium, squash courts, a walking track, and a water slide. Adjacent to the community centre is Eglinton Park which has sports fields, a baseball diamond, a wading pool, a children’s playground, and tennis courts that become an artificial ice rink in the wintertime. Sherwood Park, located east of Mount Pleasant Road, has a wonderful walking path highlighted by some of the oldest and largest trees in the city. This park contains a picturesque children’s playground and a wading pool. The Northern District Public Library, on Orchard View Boulevard, offers programs for both children and adults. The Fairlawn Neighbourhood Centre (FNC) is a unique place -offering a broad range of programming for all ages targeted to their 2500 active members. The Centre has become a hub of the community and is often the first place that new families visit when they move into the neighbourhood. You can check out their programs at www.fairlawnneighbourhoodcentre.com
Transportation in North Toronto
North Toronto has bus routes on Eglinton Avenue, Mount Pleasant Road, Yonge Street and Avenue Road. All of these surface routes connect to Eglinton station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. Motorists can be downtown in ten minutes. Highway 401, and the Allen Expressway are both approximately ten minutes from North Toronto.