<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=294326554740919&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> Bloor West Village - High Park - Wilson Sisters

The High Park and Bloor West Village neighbourhoods offer residents the benefits of suburban life with the ease of city-wide access. While the beautiful west-end homes and well-respected schools make this area popular for families, there is also a wide range of affordable real estate options for singles and young couples. Whether you are looking for a first home, authentic loft, or modern condo, this area’s rolling hills and tree-lined streets provide an oasis of green that literally backs onto 400-acres of parkland. With close proximity to High Park, the Humber Valley Ravine, and Toronto’s breathtaking waterfront, these neighbourhoods offer the perfect balance of city life with one of Toronto’s best shopping districts right in Bloor West Village. With everything you could want at your fingertips, why live anywhere else?


Once upon a time . . .

Purchased for a mere $1,000, High Park was initially owned by John Howard, Toronto’s first surveyor, who named the park simply for its incredible views of Lake Ontario. It was here during the 1830s that Howard built his beautiful home, Colbourne Lodge. In 1873, Howard benevolently bestowed his estate to the City of Toronto, stipulating only that it be available for the free use of Torontonians, a historic cornerstone commemorating the area’s early beginnings. North of Bloor, the High Park and Bloor Village neighbourhoods were originally part of the West Toronto Junction. In the 1850s, the area now known as Bloor West Village was the property of Lieutenant Colonel William Smith Durie, who was the first commanding officer of the Queen’s Own Rifles. The present day neighbourhoods began to be developed in 1909 when they were annexed by the City of Toronto. Many of Bloor West’s first residents were immigrants of Eastern European background. These entrepreneurs, alongside other savvy business owners, founded the Bloor West Village Business Improvement Area, re-establishing the shopping district and helping make Bloor West Village one of Toronto’s top neighbourhoods.


Bricks & Mortar

Pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets, beautiful winding roads, majestic oak and maples, rolling hills, incredible parkland . . . what an idyllic setting for some of Toronto’s most fabulous real-estate. Victorian, Edwardian, or Tudor-style, the oldest High Park homes were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These mostly detached brick houses range from two- to three-storeys and feature architectural details such as beautiful brick fireplaces, hardwood floors, and intricate stain glass windows. Alternatively, Bloor West Village was built up primarily in the first few decades of the 20th century and features Edwardian or Tudor-influenced homes. These typically two-storey, four-bedroom homes feature deep front porches, hardwood floors, and solid oak detailing.

After the Bloor-Danforth subway line was completed, a number of high-rise buildings were built north of High Park on Bloor St. Since the turn of the millennium, the development of modern condominiums on Gothic, High Park, and Quebec Avenues have given potential residents the option of self-contained living with exceptional amenities, some of which feature stunning High Park and lake views.


A breath of fresh air

The High Park and Bloor West neighbourhoods are nestled alongside the Humber Valley Ravine, High Park, and Toronto’s beautiful lakeshore. Biking and hiking trails abound through the ravine; while, at the south end of High Park, Toronto’s waterfront boasts beautiful beaches, a boardwalk, playgrounds, and pool and picnic areas. And if that isn’t enough, Toronto’s largest park is at your doorstep, offering 400 acres with more trails for hiking, jogging, rollerblading, and cycling. This park boasts an outdoor amphitheatre, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, swimming pool with slide and splash pad, fantastic playgrounds, incredible forested areas, and Grenadier Pond — not to mention a local zoo. So pack a picnic, gather your loved ones, and lose yourself on an afternoon get-a-way without having to go far from home. The deer, emu, llamas, peacocks, yaks, cattle, sheep, and wallaby will be happy to see you.


Taxi!

Ten minutes from the Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Boulevard, High Park and the Bloor West Village offer motorists city-wide access with only a short jaunt for all your shopping needs in the Bloor West shopping district. The Bloor-Danforth subway line is in walking distance with Jane, Runnymede, High Park and Keele stations serving these neighbourhoods. For a direct link to the Yonge-University-Spadina line, catch the Annette Street bus to Dupont station, or there are additional bus routes at your service. Check out the Toronto Transit Commission website at www.ttc.ca for more information.


Coffee . . . Where art thou?

The psychologist Abraham Maslow classified man’s basic needs into five components: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation. To be as bold as to add a sixth might be presumptuous; however, coffee can and should be incorporated into all aspects of life. Thus, synonymous with finding the right home is finding the right neighbourhood café. The High Park and Bloor West Village neighbourhood have got this worked out with great living options and a wealth of dynamite cafes. For Tim Horton’s coffee lovers, your double double awaits you at the 1728 and 2483 Bloor Street West locations. For the Starbuck’s crowd, your second home and ‘half-calf, non-fat, extra-hot, sugar-free, vanilla latte’ can be found at either 2210 Bloor Street West or 2201 Dundas Street West.

For those of you with a more adventurous spirit and love for the authentic, The Coffee Tree is located at 2412 Bloor Street West. This café’s commitment to bringing the freshest coffee to coffee lovers in Toronto is proven with over 24-years of demonstrated quality and service. Their beans are roasted onsite, and the owners are dedicated to educating people on the joys of fresh-roasted quality coffees. Alternatively, if you are closer to the east side of High Park then “X marks the spot” at 2473 Dundas Street West where the Hula Girl Espresso Boutique is a much-welcomed addition to the neighbourhood. The Hula Girl’s exposed brick walls and reclaimed wood give an earthy, welcoming atmosphere, while their Kona coffee is blended in-house and roasted locally. Overall, the owners are committed to creating a great café with fantastic coffee.


Date Night!

During the summer, the perfect date entails packing a picnic, taking your loved one by the hand, and wandering down to Grenadier Café in High Park. While this café is open for dinner and is fantastic — their early bird breakfast comes complete with bacon and eggs and rings in at $2.99 — this is not your final destination. Head down the hill east of the café; the amphitheatre is nestled in the trees, a perfect romantic destination for you and the sold-out crowd that will be joining you. Be sure to go early and lay out your blanket on the terraced hillside. The show starts right at dusk and you will be wowed by a performance in its 30th year running. Outdoor theatre at its finest, Shakespeare in the Park, presented by CanWest, will not disappoint you. Make sure you plan this date sometime between the last week in June and Labour Day weekend, unless you are happy with a more private, one-on-one showing.

The Bloor West Village and High Park hoods offer a smorgasbord of award-winning restaurants featuring a range of international food and beverages for you to explore. After dinner, be sure to catch a flick at the area’s one and only Humber theatre, conveniently located on Bloor Street just west of Jane Street. Aside from the numerous dining options, the Bloor West Village hosts many family-oriented festivals and events throughout the year, from sidewalk sales, to Ukrainian Festival to Christmas in the Village.


Does that come in a size 7?

If we are looking for a winner between these adjacent neighbourhoods, the fight would go a few rounds with Bloor West Village (weighing in at 400 shops) and High Park (weighing in at 400 acres) facing off in the ring — a close match to be sure. Luckily, the strengths of these neighbourhoods are not at odds, making both areas fantastic places to live. Known city-wide for its European bakeries, delicatessens, specialty food shops, boutiques, cafés, and restaurants, the Bloor West Village shopping district includes convenience stores, food markets, clothing boutiques, bookstores, travel agencies, and other professional services. Local residents have all their shopping needs at arm’s length and have no reason to leave the neighbourhood. Jane and Annette Streets also house a number of great shops, while ‘Junction Gardens’ located along Dundas Street West offers a unique alternative with its diverse range of one-of-a-kind shops, boutiques, antiques, and ethnically diverse restaurants.


Where to take the kids. . .

Wherever and however you spend your days, your children need to go somewhere! For a Saturday morning at the cottage without leaving the city, drop the kids off at the High Park ‘Naturalist Club for Kids’. Now go and finish your way-too-many errands before rejoining them later for a picnic lunch. Your children will explore the park, play, hike, and learn to love nature. Orienteering, ecology, stewardship, and bug hunting are also available in a range of programs offered throughout the week. Another great resource is the Annette Recreation Centre. With arts, drama, sports, leadership, and swimming programs, the dedicated staff are committed to keeping your children inspired and on the move. Alternatively, if you are looking to foster your children’s love of literature, the Annette Street Public Library has a great collection with programs for preschoolers, children, and adults.

Just as important as finding the right home for your family is finding the right school for your children. From kindergarten to high school, Catholic or public, the High Park and Bloor West Village have some great options. Most Toronto schools have definite enrollment boundaries, so it’s always a good idea to contact the school you have in mind to ensure your new home falls within its boundaries. For more information, visit the Toronto District and Toronto Catholic School Boards websites.