Living in Syme
Syme is poised for growth with the soon to be opened Eglington Crosstown subway spurring on a revitalization of this neighbourhood. The new York Recreation Centre is a fully accessible 67,000-sq.-ft facility scheduled to open in early 2017. Located beside the west bank of the Black Creek, the facility will have a green roof and other City of Toronto Green Standard sustainable features. The centre was designed with extensive input from the community, and will feature numerous amenities including a swimming pool.York Recreation Centre is located at 115 Black Creek Drive, on the southeast corner of Eglinton Ave. West and Black Creek Drive. There are over 100 parking spaces for residents using the facility. Once complete, the Eglinton subway extension will be just steps away.
The Syme neighbourhood is surrounded by the natural beauty and rolling topography of the Black Creek Valley. It has an abundance of parkland and also features its own Syme 55+ seniors centre.Rockcliffe Middle School provides a microcosm of the ethnic make-up of this neighbourhood. In the main foyer of this school are a sea of flags that represent the over forty cultural backgrounds of the student population here.
History of Syme
This neighbourhood is named after George Syme, a Scotsman who emigrated to Canada with his family in 1862. Syme settled in this district in the 1870’s, when he purchased twenty-five acres of fine gardening land in the “Black Creek Valley”. Syme cultivated plants, fruits and vegetables on his farm. He quickly became wealthy providing produce for the Toronto food markets. In 1898 Syme left farming to embark on what would be a very successful political career. Syme was elected to the York Township Community Council. He then went on to become one of the longest serving school trustees in Ontario. In the early 1900’s Syme decided to sell his “Black Creek Valley” property. In an act of great generousity Syme donated part of his land to York Township. When the local school was built in 1909, on land donated by George Syme, it was fittingly named George Syme School in memory of its benefactor.
Homes in Syme
This neighbourhood contains a small number of former market garden cottages that date back to the late 1800’s. These houses pre-date the subdivision of this neighbourhood and as such are set back further from the road than the rest of the houses. Most of George Syme’s houses were built in the early 1900’s. House styles range from Victorian semi-detached houses, to detached houses with gambrel roofs that resemble the look of a country barn. There are also many variations of bungalows as well as some larger recently built homes.
Lifestyle in Syme
There are scattered amounts of small shops, variety stores, and restaurants located along St. Clair Avenue West. Further north along Jane Street, there are a handful of neighbourhood shopping plazas. The Stockyards Centre located off St. Clair Avenue at Keele Street is a shopping plaza anchored by a large Metro grocery store. This shopping plaza also includes a bank, a pharmacy, an electronics store and a Starbucks.
Recreation in Syme
Black Creek Park is a large open green space located off Rockcliffe Boulevard. The Black Creek flows through the centre of this park guided by a concrete channel that has been designed for flood control measures. The Toronto Region Conservation Authority began tree planting in this park in 1991 as part of their Black Creek Rehabilitation Project. The Toronto Parks and Recreation Department has recently put a paved walkway in Black Creek Park making it more pedestrian friendly. Caffney Park is a narrow greenbelt that begins at Castleton Avenue and ends at Blakely Avenue. This park includes a paved trail, a children’s playground and panoramic views of the Black Creek Valley. The George Syme Community School located at 69 Pritchard Avenue offers a variety of recreational programs to residents of this community. The Dave Appleton Community Centre situated at 33 Pritchard Avenue serves as the home of the George S. Syme Seniors’ Centre of York. This centre hosts a variety of clinics, workshops and special events. Bingo and dancing are popular activities at this centre which includes its own ÎSyme Cafe.’
Transportation in Syme
The Rockcliffe Boulevard and the Jane Street buses connect passengers to the Runnymede and Jane stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. The St. Clair bus travels to the St. Clair West station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. Motorist can access Highway 401 in approximately ten minutes via Black Creek Drive. St. Clair Avenue West is a major arterial roadway that provides a direct route into the core of the city.