HISTORY OF HUMEWOOD
The Humewood neighbourhood is named after “Humewood”, the country estate of William Hume Blake – a prominent lawyer and politician in early Toronto. Blake built Humewood in the 1850’s and named it after his ancestral home in Ireland.
The former twenty-five acre Humewood estate was carved into various plans of subdivision in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Humewood Park was part of the old estate grounds and Humewood Drive was originally a private laneway to the estate. The Humewood house was sold by the Blake family in the 1870’s. Shortly thereafter it burned down but was replaced by a similar house built on the foundation of the original home.
In 1912 the Humewood house was purchased by the Anglican Diocese as a refuge for young women in distress. It has undergone many renovations and additions since this time however it remains a local landmark, standing proudly at number forty Humewood Drive.
Humewood is an established family oriented neighbourhood conveniently located approximately fifteen minutes from Toronto’s financial and entertainment districts. There are many amenities such as parks and schools located in the interior of this neighbourhood while shopping and public transit are easily accessed from St. Clair Avenue.
Humewood’s intimate streetscape is enhanced by the many tree-lined streets and culs de sac found throughout the neighbourhood. Many of these streets are one-way, with very few through streets, which helps to minimize the traffic flow in this quiet tucked-away neighbourhood.
HOMES IN HUMEWOOD
Humewood’s detached and semi-detached houses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These houses were built mostly between 1910 and 1925 and feature a wide variety of architectural styles including Tudor, English Cottage, and Edwardian style homes. Front porches and expansive dormer windows are characteristic of many of the houses in this neighbourhood.
Humewood Court, a culs-de-sac which runs off of Humewood Drive just north of St. Clair, is noteworthy for containing some of the finest Art Deco walk-up apartment buildings in Toronto.
SCHOOLS IN THE HUMEWOOD AREA
(P) Humewood Community School, 15 Cherrywood Avenue, (416) 394-2383
(PH) Vaughan Road C.I., 529 Vaughan Road, (416) 394-3222
(PH) Oakwood C.I., 991 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 393-1780
(CA) St. Alphonsus, 60 Atlas Avenue, (416) 393-5326, (PC)
(C) St. Michaels College, 1515 Bathurst Street, (416) 653-3180
(P) Public School, (PH) Public High School, (CA) Catholic School, (PR) Private School, (PC) Private Catholic School, (PJ) Private Jewish School, (C) College, (U) University
LIFESTYLE IN HUMEWOOD
Humewood residents enjoy the luxury of being able to walk to a tremendous variety of shops and restaurants along St. Clair Avenue West. Included in this shopping mix are fruit and vegetable markets, discount stores, banks, drug stores, fast food restaurants and a Bingo Hall.
The shopping district on Eglinton Avenue West and on Vaughan Road between Oakwood Avenue and Dufferin Street features Toronto’s largest concentration of Caribbean shops and restaurants.
RECREATION IN HUMEWOOD
A variety of recreational programs for pre-schoolers, children, youths, adults and seniors are offered at the Humewood Community School at 15 Cherrywood Avenue. Some of these programs include Ballet Bunnies (pre-schoolers), co-ed fitness (adults), and a Humewood Senior Citizens Club. This school also has a sports field, baseball diamonds and a children’s playground. Vaughan Road Collegiate Institute at 529 Vaughan Road has an indoor pool that is used for children’s and adult’s Aquatics.
Humewood Park located between Humewood Drive and Pinewood Avenue, is one of Toronto’s prettier strolling gardens. It features gently sloping lawns, a forest of maple trees, park benches and a paved walkway that winds its way through this quaint park. Graham Park, on Atlas Avenue just north of St. Clair is a small park with a children’s playground and a basketball court.
The newly built Oakwood Village Library and Arts Centre at 341 Oakwood Avenue includes a new state-of-the-art theatre. Dance classes, film nights, and yoga are just some of the programs offered at the centre.
TRANSPORTATION IN HUMEWOOD
The St. Clair West streetcar connects passengers to the St. Clair station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line while the Vaughan Road bus connects passengers to the St. Clair West station also on the Yonge-University-Spadina-Subway line. The Bathurst Street bus connects passengers to the Bathurst station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
Motorists are five to ten minutes from the Allen Expressway which links commuters to Highway 401.
PARKS AND GREENSPACES IN THE HUMEWOOD AREA
Sir Winston Churchill Park – 301 Saint Clair Avenue West
Sir Winston Churchill Park is located at the south-east corner of Spadina Road and St.Clair Avenue. This park has ten floodlit tennis courts, a children’s playground, and a popular makeshift running path that skirts the perimeter of the park.
Wrapped around Sir Winston Churchill Park is the Nordheimer Ravine. This quiet oasis features a rustic wood path with many excellent picnic spots, and a large variety of trees, plants and wildlife.
Wychwood Barns Park – 76 Wychwood Avenue
This location is the park area that surrounds the former Toronto Transit Commission Barns on three sides. Park features include a children’s play area, an open sports field with a natural ice rink in winter, a fenced in off-leash dog area, a beach volley ball court and picnic tables. In addition, approximately 150 trees, 1,500 shrubs and 900 perennials and grasses have been planted. There are circulation paths in the park aligned with the surrounding streets, such as Helena between Wychwood and Christie on the east-west axis and Slade on the north-south axis, as well as meandering paths, some of which follow the former streetcar tracks. The layout is intended to complement and create as few barriers as possible, both physical and conceptual, between the park and the buildings and between indoor and outdoor environments.
Cedarvale Park – 443 Arlington Avenue
Cedarvale Park is a huge urban greenspace that cuts a diagonal swath through the Cedarvale neighbourhood which is located west of Bathurst Street between St. Clair Avenue and Eglinton Avenue.
In addition to the traditional recreational amenities found in many Toronto parks such as baseball diamond, tennis courts, soccer pitches and a skating rink this progressive city of Toronto park has recently added an enclosed off leash area for dogs and an innovative environmental education program called Families In Nature.
LIBRARIES IN THE HUMEWOOD AREA
- Toronto Public Library – 1431 Bathurst Street, (416) 393-7683
- Maria A. Shchuka Library – 1745 Eglinton Avenue West, (416) 394-1000
- Forest Hill Library – 700 Eglinton Avenue West, (416) 393-7706
- Davenport Library – 1246 Shaw Street, (416) 393-7732
- Dufferin/St. Clair Library – 1625 Dufferin Street, (416) 393-7712
- Bloor/Gladstone Library – 1101 Bloor Street West, (416) 393-7674