Yorkville is a vibrant and lively neighbourhood located just north of Downtown Toronto. The neighbourhood is divided between residential areas, office spaces, and a wide selection of upscale shopping options. Yorkville is known as one of Canada’s most exclusive shopping districts, highlighted by the “Mink Mile,” situated between Avenue Road and Yonge Street along Bloor Street West.
Where Is Yorkville?
The Yorkville neighbourhood sits between Avenue Road and Yonge Street with Bloor Street West acting as the southern boundary and Ramsden Park acting as the northern boundary. Yorkville is located just north of the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in Queen’s Park.
Transportation in Yorkville
Yorkville has excellent access to a plethora of great transportation options. The neighbourhood is located within walking distance of the Bloor/Yonge subway station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line and the Bay subway station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. This quick and easy access to public transit makes Yorkville the perfect neighbourhood for professional commuters. Yorkville is also located just a few minutes west of the Don Valley Parkway, which can take motorists north towards Highway 401 and Highway 404 or south towards the Gardiner Expressway.
A Brief History of Yorkville
Yorkville was founded in 1830 by entrepreneurs Joseph Bloor and William Botsford Jarvis. The neighbourhood was named after the Town of York, which was a precursor to the City of Toronto. Yorkville started as a modest residential community targeted towards people who wanted to live in the cleaner air outside of the city centre. By the early 1850s, Yorkville’s population had grown substantially and was incorporated as a village in 1853. In 1883, Yorkville had the distinction of being the first village annexed by the City of Toronto.
In the 1960s, Yorkville became known as Toronto’s bohemian cultural centre and was a breeding ground for some of Canada’s most noted musical talents, including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. Joni Mitchell even mentioned Yorkville’s colourful nightlife in her song “Night in the City.” After the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway, the value of land in Yorkville increased as higher densities were allowed by the City’s official plan. As real estate values increased, the residential homes north of Bloor along Yorkville were converted into high-end retail stores, including art galleries, fashion boutiques and antique shops. Many smaller buildings were demolished, and offices and hotels were built in the 1970s, with high-priced condominium developments being built in subsequent decades.
The Types of Homes in Yorkville
The south side of Yorkville along Bloor Street West is brimming with high-rise buildings dedicated to upscale shopping and office space. As you move north, along Cumberland Street and Yorkville Street, you will find some smaller boutique shops, many located inside pretty, repurposed Victorian homes. There are also several newly built high-rise condominium complexes, which come with the latest amenities and are popular for young professionals looking to rent in an exciting neighbourhood near the heart of Downtown Toronto. Yorkville is also home to several 5-star luxury hotels including the Four Seasons Hotel on Bay Street, the Hazleton Hotel on Hazelton Avenue, and the Windsor Arms Hotel on Bloor Street West.
As you move to the north end of the neighbourhood the character of the area changes significantly. The quiet, peaceful, tree lined streets of Hazelton Avenue feature beautiful Victorian houses built mainly between 1870 and 1895. These historic homes have many decorative features including ornamental brick patterns, cast iron fences, and richly landscaped gardens. There are also some smaller low-rise condominiums and townhomes along Davenport Road that are slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of the constantly busy Bloor Street West.
Making the Move to Yorkville
The houses in Yorkville north of Bloor Street West are some of the loveliest homes in the city and the scenic neighbourhood with easy access to Downtown is extremely enticing for young families. However, the Yorkville neighbourhood is also one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in North America and with limited properties, the housing market in Yorkville is extremely competitive. If you are an older resident of Yorkville entering retirement and looking to downsize, now would be the ideal time to sell your house and capitalize on the incredible demand for property in the Yorkville area. Whether you are downsizing into a smaller home, moving into a new house or condo, or just looking to declutter your home, self-storage can be a great solution.
Right now, Storwell Self Storage is providing my clients with an exclusive offer of 4 weeks of free self-storage at any of their facilities. Storwell has locations in Mississauga, Scarborough, and one location in Etobicoke near Kipling Avenue and the Gardiner Expressway, which is just a short drive west of Yorkville. If you need self-storage for downsizing or to help with your next move, you can call a Storwell representative or visit a facility in-person to demo a unit.
Yorkville Is One of Toronto’s Premier Shopping Destinations
Thousands of people flock to Yorkville to visit the incredible selection of upscale shopping options along Bloor Street West between Avenue Road and Yonge Street (known as the Mink Mile). The many specialty stores, fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, antique shops, and art galleries are a destination point for tourists, as well as other Torontonians from all over the city. Some of the more prominent stores in Yorkville include Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, Tiffany and Co., Burberry, Cartier, Gucci, Prada, Brooks Brothers, Dolce and Gabbana, Rolex, Hermes, Harry Rosen, and Holt Renfrew just to name a few. Another popular destination for shopping in Yorkville is the Yorkville Village Shopping Mall located on Avenue Road north of Yorkville Avenue. Yorkville Village is a refined, upmarket mall with organic groceries, high-end clothing stores, and home furnishing retailers.
Parks and Recreation in Yorkville
Although Yorkville is in the heart of a major metropolitan centre it still has great access to green space that provides a reprieve from Downtown Toronto’s dense urban setting. Ramsden Park is a spacious park located on the northern border of Yorkville situated between Avenue Road and Yonge Street. The park is a popular location for families living in Yorkville and it has eight public tennis courts, a large children’s playground, a wading pool, an outdoor ice rink, a baseball diamond, and a fenced-off dog park. Jesse Ketchum Park is a smaller park located on Bay Street and Scollard Street that has a full-sized soccer field and playground. Just south of Yorkville is Queen’s Park, which is home to the Queen’s Park Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Opened in 1860, Queen’s Park has been a fixture of Downtown Toronto for over 160 years. The leafy oval park is a popular spot for joggers and cyclists and is a perfect place to have an afternoon picnic under tree cover.
The Toronto Reference Library is in the center of Yorkville on Yonge Street and Asquith Avenue. The Reference Library is the largest and most-visited branch of the Toronto Public Library. On the corner of Bloor Street, West and Queen’s Park is the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), which is the largest museum in Canada and one of the largest museums in North America. The ROM features art, world culture, and natural history exhibits attracting more than one million visitors each year. Right across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum is the Gardiner Museum. Besides the exhibits on ceramics, the Gardiner Museum also offers regular drop-in clay classes every Wednesday and Saturday.
The Best Restaurants in Yorkville
The Yorkville neighbourhood has an eclectic mix of dining options from all over the world. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel and helmed by world-famous chef Daniel Boulud, Café Boulud is a retooled French Brasserie with a vintage feel serving up classic dishes like a rotisserie chicken. ONE is a fine-dining restaurant with an expansive menu located in the Hazelton Hotel and run by Chef Darby Piquette. The Pilot Tavern opened its doors over 75 years ago and continues to be a Yorkville staple with its exciting menu, live jazz music, and iconic rooftop patio. Hemingway’s is another Yorkville restaurant known for its rooftop patio along with its unique menu inspired by New Zealand cuisine. Bar Reyna is a Mediterranean restaurant located on Cumberland Street serving up snacks and signature cocktails in a sophisticated space with an all-season patio. For dessert, you can head over to Sultan Street and visit the Dessert Lady Café and Bakery to try some of their delicious cakes, cookies, and pies.
The Best Schools in Yorkville
Yorkville is home to some of the best private schools in all of Toronto. City High School is a private high school located on the corner of Bay Street and Scollard Street, which collaborates with the University of Toronto to offer direct placement in their English Language Program. The McDonald International Academy is another secondary school located on Yonge Street, which promotes academic excellence within a safe and socially conscious community. The Dalton School is located right next to the McDonald International Academy and is unique because it offers the only totally immersive English/Mandarin curriculum in Toronto. The Dalton School goes from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 and uses a curriculum designed to help students achieve superior academic proficiency in both English and Mandarin.