LIVING IN THE ELMS
The Elms is a diverse community made up of people from a wide variety of economic and cultural backgrounds. The Elms neighbourhood is located next to the very scenic Humber River Valley corridor. As a result there are plenty of parks, mature trees and a varied topography. The peaceful tranquility of this area is intermittently broken by the roar of airplanes which fly above The Elms neighbourhood enroute to nearby Pearson International Airport.
HISTORY OF THE ELMS
The Elms neighbourhood is named after the former Elms Golf Club, which occupied all of the land between Islington Avenue and Albion Road, north of Hadrian Drive. Another large golf course named Pine Point was located just south of the Elms course. The Pine Point clubhouse is still standing in Pine Point Park, where it now serves as the home of the Thistletown Lions Club.
The Pine Point Golf Course was sold in the early 1950’s to the same developers who built the Rexdale neighbourhood. In fact, the area south of Hadrian Drive is still sometimes referred to as “Old Rexdale.” The Elms Golf course site was developed much later in the mid 1960’s.
The Elms Ratepayers Association was formed in the 1970’s in opposition to the Wilson Avenue extension which would have cut a wide swath through the ravine valley in the centre of this neighbourhood. The residents association won this battle. Their most recent accomplishment was their successful lobbying for the Northern Elms Public Library which opened in the Rexdale Plaza in 1995.
HOMES IN THE ELMS
The Elms neighbourhood contains a large assortment of houses built mostly during the 1950’s and 1960’s. These houses are generally well-kept and nicely landscaped. Many of these properties back onto ravine or parkland. The various house styles found in this neighbourhood include ranch, contemporary and raised bungalows, split-level homes, storey-and-a-half houses, detached, two-storey Georgian Revival homes and some newer custom built housing.
The residential pocket east of Albion Road around Summerlea Park has some continuity in housing from the west side of Albion Road however this residential pocket also features low-rise rental apartment buildings and townhouses that are owned and operated by the Metro Toronto Housing Authority.
LIFETSYLE IN THE ELMS
Rexdale Plaza located off Islington Avenue at Rexdale Boulevard, features a large Asian Supermarket, lots of bargain and discount stores, sports and children’s wear, professional offices, a women’s health club and the Northern Elms Public Library.
Islington Avenue and Albion Road both contain clusters of small shopping plazas that include a vast array of food shops and restaurants from a cross-section of cultures.
RECREATION IN THE ELMS
The Elms Community School, located at 45 Golfdown Road, has an indoor swimming pool and gymnasiums. During the school year this centre offers preschool, children, youth and adult programming. Some of these programs include dance classes, piano lessons, gymnastics, cartooning, ballet and drama classes. Programming is halted during the summer when the Elms summer camp program begins. Every year in June The Elms Community School hosts an annual “Fun Day” where neighbourhood residents come together to enjoy games, a garage sale, entertainment and a barbecue.
The Berry Creek Valley that runs through the centre of this neighbourhood is a watershed of the Humber River Valley. Elms Park is located in the section of the Berry Creek Valley between Islington Avenue and Norfield Crescent. This park contains a paved walking trail and a children’s playground.
The West Humber Parkland Trail can be accessed off Albion Road at the north end of this neighbourhood. This 5.5 kilometre paved trail follows the valley to the Humber Arboretum where a large variety of plants and wildlife can be discovered. Across the street from the West Humber Trail parking lot is Summerlea Park. This pretty park includes a baseball diamond, a children’s playground and tennis courts which are used as an artificial ice rink in the wintertime.
Pine Point Park is a long linear park that forms the southern boundary of this neighbourhood. This multi-use recreational park includes the Pine Point Indoor Arena which is the home of the Etobicoke Hockey League, a figure skating club, and a ball hockey league. Next to the Arena is the Pine Point Banquet Hall which hosts a variety of social, cultural, and business events. Pine Point Park also includes four clay surface tennis courts, an outdoor pool, an outdoor hockey rink, a sports field, and a children’s playground. In addition this park is also the starting point for a 1.7 kilometre paved trail with bridges across the Humber River and nearby Berry Creek.
The Humber Valley Golf Course located at Albion Road and Beattie Avenue is a par 70 course with a combination of links and valleyland holes.
TRANSPORTATION IN THE ELMS
Bus lines both on Islington Avenue and on Albion Road connect passengers to the Islington station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Motorists are less than five minutes from the Islington Avenue and the Weston Road on-ramps to Highway 401, which links drivers to Toronto’s network of commuter highways.