Living in West Hill
West Hill is a culturally diverse, family oriented neighbourhood located in the south-east part of Toronto. West Hill’s natural beauty is derived from Morningside Park and Colonel Danforth Park. These two large ravine parks form the boundaries of this neighbourhood. West Hill has many fine attributes including a community centre, a public library, an abundance of parkland, a vibrant shopping district and affordable homes. Neighbourhood landmarks include the C.N. railway tracks that skirt the south end of this neighbourhood, and the University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus, located off Morningside Avenue.
History of West Hill
West Hill’s history began in 1879, when it was granted a post office by the federal government. Prior to the opening of the post office West Hill was considered part of the neighbouring Highland Creek community. West Hill’s earliest settlers were Irish immigrants from the County of Cork, who arrived here in the 1840’s seeking refuge from the potato famine in their homeland. They settled mostly in two-room shacks in the Morningside and Lawrence Avenue area, which for a time was called “Corktown”. Many of these new Canadians found work in the building of the Grand Trunk Railway along Toronto’s waterfront in 1856. In 1906, the radial streetcar line connected West Hill to the rest of Toronto. The streetcar attracted many families to this area, which culminated in the opening of the West Hill Public School in 1921. The present day neighbourhood was developed largely between the 1940’s and 1960’s.
Homes in West Hill
West Hill contains a large number of bungalow and storey-and-a-half houses from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, mixed in with newer townhomes, and recently built, custom-designed houses. The property sizes here are above average and the lots are well treed with many old Pine and Maple trees.
Lifestyle in West Hill
Kingston Road is lined with new and used car dealerships, motels, and small shopping plazas that contain food shops, restaurants and everyday convenience type shopping. The West Hill shopping centre, located at the north-east corner of Lawrence and Kingston Road, includes a pharmacy, an electronics store, a bank, a family restaurant and a post office. The Morningside Mall, located at Morningside and Lawrence Avenues, features two floors of shopping and a third floor of professional offices. This mall contains a mix of approximately sixty corporate and independently owned stores. Kingston Square, located across the street from the Morningside Mall, is anchored by a large supermarket and a discount department store. There are also fast food restaurants, a beer store, a video store, telephone and auto centres, and a restaurant that specializes in roti and curry dishes as well as tropical juices. The small neighbourhood shopping plaza at Bennett Road and Lawrence Avenue is anchored by a Highland Farms supermarket. The retail mix here includes a flower shop, a pizza place, a travel agency, a hairstylist and a dry cleaners.
Recreation in West Hill
The Heron Park Community Centre, located at 4285 Lawrence Avenue, is a multi-purpose recreational centre with an indoor ice arena, a swimming pool, a wading pool, a playground and a baseball diamond. Colonel Danforth Park, located on the east side of this neighbourhood, is situated in a deep ravine valley and is popular with cyclists, walkers, and joggers. Access to this park is available at both Kingston Road and Old Kingston Road. Morningside Park, located along the western boundary of this neighbourhood, offers a mix of hardwood forests, large open meadows and the remnants of an old apple orchard. Paved trails pass through this park which is popular with cyclists and pedestrians. Cross-country skiing is popular here in the wintertime. You can access this park at Morningside Avenue south of Ellesmere Road.
Transportation in West Hill
The Lawrence Avenue bus connects passengers to the Lawrence East subway station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. The Kingston Road bus provides service to the Guildwood Go Train station. The train ride from this station to downtown Toronto’s Union Station is approximately twenty-five minutes. Motorists are approximately five minutes from the Morningside Avenue on-ramp to Highway 401. Kingston Road provides motorists with an alternate and more scenic route into the city.