HISTORY OF RIVERDALE
Riverdale was a small rural community until the Grand Trunk Railway began steaming through here in the 1850’s. The railway brought industry and employment opportunities to Riverdale. It also attracted a pool of labourers who built the first homes in Riverdale, south of the railway tracks.
North of Queen Street Riverdale remained largely undeveloped until 1884 when it was annexed by the City of Toronto. At that time Riverdale was called Riverside. The name was probably changed to Riverdale as a reference to the city park of the same name, that has long been a landmark in this area.
Riverdale’s development was accelerated in 1918 with the building of Toronto’s largest bridge, the Prince Edward Viaduct. The Viaduct provided Riverdale with an important link to the City of Toronto, west of the Don River, and marked a coming of age for this popular Toronto neighbourhood.
North Riverdale from Gerrard to the Danforth is very popular with young affluent professionals, while South Riverdale has traditionally attracted a wide mix of people looking for affordable homes close to downtown.
Riverdale is the gateway to Toronto’s east end neighbourhoods. It is a large and diverse community that is especially well known for its colourful shopping districts and quaint Victorian homes.
HOMES IN RIVERDALE
Riverdale’s two and three storey Victorian houses were built largely between 1880 and 1924. These homes are shaded by some of the tallest maple trees in the city.
The houses in South Riverdale are on average smaller, older and less expensive than those in North Riverdale. Most of Riverdale’s homes have parking off rear laneways, and permits are available for parking.
SCHOOLS IN THE RIVERDALE AREA
(P) Earl Grey Sr., 100 Strathcona Avenue, (416) 393-9545
(P) Frankland Jr., 816 Logan Avenue, (416) 393-9720
(P) Blake Street Jr., 21 Boultbee Avenue, (416) 393-9415
(P) Pape Avenue Jr., 404 Pape Avenue, (416) 393-9470
(P) Quest Alternative Sr., 25 Bain Avenue, (416) 393-9430
(P) Withrow Avenue Jr., 25 Bain Avenue, (416) 393-9440
(P) Morse Jr., 180 Carlaw Avenue, (416) (416) 393-9494
(P) Queen Alexandria Sr., 181 Broadview Avenue, (416) 393-9535
(P) Dundas Jr., 935 Dundas Street East (416) 393-9565
(P) First Nations, 935 Dundas street East, (416) 393-0555
(PH) Rosedale Heights Secondary School, 711 Bloor Street East, (416) 393-1580
(PH) Eastdale Collegiate Institute, 701 Gerrard Street East. (416) 393-9630
(PH) Riverdale Collegiate Institute, 1094 Gerrard Street East (416) 393-9820
(CA) Holy Name, 690 Carlaw Avenue, (416) 393-5215
(CA) St. Ann, 55 Howie Avenue, (416) 393-5213
(CA) St. William, 343 Jones Avenue, (416) 393-5303
(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 RIVERDALE
Riverdale’s best known shopping district is along Danforth Avenue, east of Broadview. The Danforth is the heart of Toronto’s Greek community. It features many first class Greek restaurants and a dazzling array of stores.
Riverdale also has a Chinatown shopping district centred around Gerrard and Broadview. This stretch of stores is known for its bakeries, grocery stands, and restaurants.
Another shopping destination point for Riverdale residents is Queen Broadview Village. This historic shopping district includes some interesting antique and collectible stores.
Gerrard Square located at the corner of Pape Avenue and Gerrard Street is a large indoor shopping mall with over 70 stores.
RECREATION IN RIVERDALE
Riverdale has a myriad of parks and parkettes situated throughout the neighbourhood. The three largest parks are Riverdale Park East, Withrow Park and Jimmie Simpson Park. Each of these Parks contain tennis courts, a wading pool, a hockey rink, and a baseball diamond.
Riverdale Park also has an outdoor pool and a running track. The Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre has an indoor swimming pool, a games room and a gymnasium. The Pape Recreational Centre has a gymnasium, an indoor pool, a weight room and meeting rooms. Riverdale has four public libraries that offer a myriad of programs for children, adults and seniors.
TRANSPORTATION IN RIVERDALE
Riverdale is an ideal location for commuters. The Don Valley Expressway, Lake Shore Boulevard, and the Gardiner Expressway are all quickly accessed from this neighbourhood.
Riverdale also has excellent access to public transit. There is regular bus service or streetcar service on Broadview, Carlaw, Jones and Greenwood Avenues, as well as Queen and Gerrard Streets. The Bloor-Danforth subway has five stations serving Riverdale, including Broadview, Chester, Pape, Donlands, and Greenwood.
PARKS AND GREENSPACES IN THE RIVERDALE AREA
Withrow Park – 725 Logan Ave
An 8 hectare park on Logan Avenue just south of Danforth Avenue featuring two ball diamonds, a multi-purpose sports field, two outdoor tennis courts, a volleyball court, a dog off leash area, a wading pool and a children’s playground. In the middle of the park is the Withrow Park Outdoor Artificial Ice Rink.
This small park near Jones and Dantforth Avenues features ball diamond, wading pool and a children’s playground.
Matty Eckler Playground – 953 Gerrard St E
Matty Eckler is a facility that provides programs at quality level training at cost effective prices available to all. It is a friendly and community oriented Community Recreation Centre located south-east corner of Pape Ave. and Gerrard St.
Riverdale Park and Riverdale Farm – 201 Winchester Street
Riverdale Park is divided in half by the Don River. The park’s east side, accessed by Broadview Avenue, contains two baseball diamonds, three playing fields, a soccer field, runnning track, ice rink, tennis courts and a pool. The west side of the park, on the west side of the Don Valley Parkway, contains a field house with washrooms, two baseball diamonds and two sports fields.
While visiting the park be sure to see Riverdale Farm. Its barnyard and animals will delight children.–Glenn Teneycke
Riverdale Farm is open all year round daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free. (including weekends and holidays)
Tour the Farm’s scenic 7.5 acres along pathways through wooded areas, around ponds, and into butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens. Visit the farm animals and chat with the farmer during daily chores. Riverdale Farm is located in a park setting in the heart of the downtown community of Cabbagetown. Admission is free and parking is only available on neighbouring city streets.
Note: Dogs, bicycles, in-line skates, foot scooters, ride toys, and vehicles are not permitted on the Farm’s property. Our lower gate which allows access to Riverdale Park West/Broadview Avenue foot bridge is open May 1 – November 1(9:15 am – 4:00 pm daily).
Riverdale Farm is a representation of a rural farm in Ontario. It is not a petting zoo. We ask that our visitors do not feed the farm animals, as hand feeding can encourage aggressive behaviour and discourage consumption of their controlled nutritional diet.
Farm, Scenic pathways, Simpson House, Residence and Meeting House. Programs and seasonal events at the Meeting House and Residence. Historic Francey Barn and the “Residence”
HOW TO GET THERE:
Riverdale Farm is located 3 blocks east of Parliament Street along Winchester Street or 3 blocks north of Gerrard Street East along Sumach Street.
Wellesley Park – 500 Wellesley St E
Wellesley Park is a little gem hidden in the middle of Cabbagetown.It includes a small playground but its main appeal lies in the setting of the park, with houses without front lawns directly facing the park. The trees are mature and majestic. There’s a staircase to explore down the grassy slope, where the forest thickens. Down the stairs, turn left and you’ll reach the trail which runs along Rosedale Valley Road (quite spectacular in the fall).
Don Valley Brick Works Park – 550 Bayview Avenue
A former quarry, the Brick Works is considered an urban model for ecosystem planning given its extensive landscape restoration, re-naturalization and wetland re-establishment.
Jimmie Simpson Park – 870 Queen Street East
This 2.6 hectare park just east of Broadview Avenue on Queen Street East features a ball diamond, mutli-purpose sports field, lighted ball hockey rink, two lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, a wading pool and a children’s playground. Adjacent to the park is this Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre.
LIBRARIES IN THE RIVERDALE AREA
- Riverdale Library – 370 Broadview Avenue, (416) 393-7720
- Queen/Saulter Library – 765 Queen Street East, (416) 393-7723
- Toronto Public Library – 269 Gerrard St East, (416) 393-7663
- St. James Town Library – 495 Sherbourne Street, (416) 393-7744
- Pape/Danforth Library – 701 Pape Avenue, (416) 393-7727