Living in Thistletown
Thistletown is nestled amidst the rustic beauty of the Humber River Valley lands. This picturesque neighbourhood is home to a wide mix of people from many different cultural backgrounds. Thistletown’s unique charm has led many second and third generation Thistletowners to raise their families here. Thistletown has many outstanding neighbourhood landmarks including the “Anga’s Farm” at 89 Benfield Drive. This privately owned farm is popular with Thistletown residents who regularly stop here in the summertime to purchase fruit and vegetables. Anga’s farm also makes and sells its own honey. Another Thistletown landmark is the “Village Green” which is situated behind the Thistletown Multi Service Centre on Albion Road. The Village Green was deeded to the residents of Thistletown in the 1890’s by Jonathan Farr. The Village Green is the site of the very popular Thistletown Fair which is held the first Saturday in June and includes a flea market, local entertainment, a baking contest, a children’s carnival, and a barbecue hosted by the Thistletown Lions Club.
History of Thistletown
Thistletown was originally named “Coonats Corners” after the Coonat family who settled here in the early 1800’s. The next major landowner to settle in this area was John Grubb. Grubb’s colonial riverstone home, built in 1832, is still standing today in a picturesque woodlot at number 19 and 23 Jason Road. John Grubb was a successful businessman who built many of the roads in this area including – Albion Road. When a post office was established on Albion Road, in 1847, it was named St. Andrews in honour of Grubb’s birthplace in Scotland. However confusion with St. Andrews in New Brunswick led to the post office being renamed Thistletown in honour of Dr. William Thistle, who was a well respected member of this community. His son John Thistle, was Thisletown’s first postmaster. In the early 1900’s, a few summer cottages and some year round residences were built in Thistletown. However, Thistletown would remain primarily farmland until the Toronto real estate boom of the 1950’s and 1960’s led to the complete urbanization of this neighbourhood.
Homes in Thistletown
“Old Thistletown,” situated between Islington Avenue and Albion Road, has a forest setting with many of the properties located on premium ravine lots overlooking the Humber River Valley. These houses are highlighted by “Elmbank,” the circa 1832 house of Thistletown pioneer John Grubb. Elmbank is located at number 19-23 Jason Road. The Century houses at number 32 and 34 Jason Road were also part of the Grubb farm. Old Thistletown also features a handful of former summer cottages built in the 1910’s, as well as bungalows from the 1940’s and 50’s and a small number of recently designed, custom built homes. The newer pockets of Thistletown, around Albion Gardens Park and Beaumonde Heights Park, were built up during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The houses here include ranch-style bungalows, split -level houses, and storey-and-a-half homes.
Lifestyle in Thistletown
The retail district centred around Islington Avenue and Albion Road is one of the most culturally diverse shopping areas in the City of Toronto. Included in this mix are a plethora of East and West Indian, African, Middle Eastern and Asian food shops and restaurants. Convenience-type shops including supermarkets, drug stores and banks can be found at the Thistletown Plaza on Albion Road.
Recreation in Thistletown
The Thistletown Multi-Service Centre, located at 925 Albion Road, offers a variety of programs for the entire family. Some of these programs include men’s and women’s basketball, ballroom dancing, jazz, ballet, painting, and gardening. The Thistletown 55+ Seniors Centre is based in this multi-service centre and offers a variety of programs including “Fit For Life,” computer courses, woodworking, shuffleboard, bridge, euchre, ceramics and badminton. The Franklin Carmichael Art Centre, located at 34 Riverdale Drive, is situated in a picturesque woodlot setting overlooking the Humber River Valley. This arts centre offers watercolour, oil and acrylic classes for children and adults. Studio time is also available for artists at designated times. The West Humber Parkland, located off Albion Road, features a 5.5 kilometre paved walking and cycling trail that links up with the Humber Arboretum-a 100 hundred hectare botanical garden where a variety of plants, trees, and wildlife can be explored. Recreational parks in Thistletown include Albion Gardens and Beaumonde Heights. Both of these neighbourhood parks contain tennis courts and a baseball diamond.
Transportation in Thistletown
Bus service along Finch Avenue West and on Albion Road connect passengers to stations on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line while the Islington Avenue bus provides a connecting route to the Islington station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Motorists are just a couple of minutes away from the Islington Avenue and Weston Road on-ramps to Highway 401. This highway provides quick connections to Toronto’s network of commuter highways leading into and out of the city.