LIVING IN SOUTH ANNEX
The South Annex is a vibrant and colourful downtown Toronto neighbourhood. Much of the South Annex’s vitality comes from being located right next door to the University of Toronto.
Naturally, many University students, faculty, and alumni rent or own houses in the South Annex. The University population mixes well with the young urban professionals who have been buying and fixing up South Annex houses, giving these old houses new life, and in the process revitalizing this historic Toronto neighbourhood.
HISTORY OF SOUTH ANNEX
The South Annex neighbourhood was subdivided in the early 1850’s, on land formerly owned by the Jarvis, Crookshank and Denison families; all of whom played a prominent role in the history of Toronto.
Advertisements promoting Villa and Town lots for sale in the South Annex highlighted ” the close proximity to the locality of the new Parliament Buildings”. The South Annex was also popularly described as being “situated in the most healthy and pleasant part of the City upon a considerable elevation above the Lake”.
The establishment of the University of Toronto just east of here, in the late 1850’s, provided the impetus for the building of homes in the South Annex, which took place largely between the 1870’s and early 1900’s.
HOMES IN SOUTH ANNEX
The signature street in the South Annex is Palmerston Boulevard. Stone and iron gateposts, one on College Street and one on Bloor Street, set the tone for this distinctive boulevard which also features decorative cast iron street lamps, ancient trees and grandiose homes. Overall, the houses in the South Annex come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each house is whimsically decorated with Victorian accents that all blend together to form one of the most pleasing streetscapes of any Toronto neighbourhood. Most South Annex homes are built circa 1870s to 1910.
LIFESTYLE IN SOUTH ANNEX
Bloor Street, west of Spadina, is a mini university village lined with pubs, music shops, bookstores, and restaurants. Cyclists and in-line skaters compete with cars and pedestrians in this high energy shopping district.
The Mirvish Village shopping district on Markham Street, south of Bloor Street, is a dignified city block, filled with craft stores, bookstores, antique shops, galleries, and specialty boutiques.
Harbord Street provides South Annex residents with one of the more sophisticated and intimate shopping districts in the city. In addition to many fine restaurants, Harbord Street also includes a number of excellent craft stores, bookstores, and galleries.
RECREATION IN SOUTH ANNEX
Fitness enthusiasts can get a good workout at the University of Toronto Athletic Centre. This facility has an Olympic-size pool, squash, tennis and badminton courts, weight machines, aerobics, a gymnasium and a 200 metre indoor track.
The Jewish Community Centre at Spadina and Bloor has an indoor pool, a track, squash and racquetball courts, aerobics and a weight room.
Queen’s Park is the site of Ontario’s Legislative Buildings. It’s the focal point of many civic events and parades. Queen’s Park is also a quiet place, an oasis in the City, where one can sit on a park bench, under a tall shade tree, and paint the landscape.
TRANSPORTATION IN SOUTH ANNEX
The South Annex is well served by public transit. College and Bathurst Streets have regular streetcar service, while Harbord Street has a regular bus route. The Bathurst and Spadina subway stations at Bloor Street link up with Toronto’s rapid transit lines.
The major highways north and south of the city are a twenty to thirty minute drive from the South Annex.