Living in St. James Town
St. James Town contains eighteen high-rise apartment buildings, almost seven thousand units, and over fifteen thousand residents, in an area of 32.1 acres. These demographics combine to make St. James Town the most densely populated census tract in Canada. In September of 1997 the former City of Toronto council approved St. James Town 2000: A Community Action Plan which aims to revitalize St. James Town through initiatives such as the building of a multi-service community centre, improvements to parks, and the maintenance and repair of St. James Town buildings.
History of St. James Town
St. James Town began in the 1870’s as a desirable upper middle class neighbourhood. It was filled with picturesque Victorian houses and remained popular with Toronto home buyers until well into the 1900’s. A turning point for the St. James Town neighbourhood occurred in 1953 when the City of Toronto announced major zoning amendments for the downtown core. The new zoning significantly increased building coverage in St. James Town making it an instant target for private developers. By the end of the 1950’s, a consortium of developers had bought up and demolished St. James Town’s entire housing stock in order to build Toronto’s first high-rise residential apartment towers. The St. James Town apartments were originally planned and designed as a neighbourhood for upwardly mobile singles and professionals. However, almost from the start St. James Town has been populated by low to moderate income families.
Homes in St. James Town
St. James Town apartment buildings contain units ranging in size from bachelor to three bedroom apartments. St. James Town includes fourteen privately owned buildings. Many of these buildings are named after large Canadian cities. These buildings offer typical marketplace rents. The other four apartment buildings in St. James Town are owned by the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. These buildings offer rents geared towards income.
Lifestyle in St. James Town
A limited amount of day-to-day convenience type shopping exists in the interior of the St. James Town neighbourhood. Grocery stores, drug stores, dry cleaners, clothing stores, banks and restaurants, are located on the main streets that border this neighbourhood including Wellesley Street, Sherbourne Street, and Parliament Street.
Recreation in St. James Town
There are swimming pools and children’s playgrounds sprinkled throughout the St. James Town neighbourhood. The Rose Avenue Community Centre located in the Rose Avenue Public School, is open to the public both during the evening and on weekends. Their facilities include a gymnasium, a games room, and meeting rooms. St. James Town is conveniently located near many city parks, including Wellesley Park, Riverdale Park West, Winchester Park, and Allan Gardens. The Parliament Street branch of the Toronto Public Library is located nearby at the south-west corner of Parliament and Gerrard Streets.
Transportation in St. James Town
There is bus service on all of the major streets that border St. James Town. The Sherbourne subway station, on the Bloor-Danforth line is a short walk from this neighbourhood. Motorists are only a few minutes away from the Don Valley Parkway on ramps off Bloor Street.