HISTORY OF SUMMERHILL
The Summerhill neighbourhood is named after ‘Summer Hill’ house, a magnificent Regency cottage built in 1842, by transportation baron Charles Thompson. Summer Hill stood on the crest of the hill where the houses on Summerhill Gardens are located today.
Thompson’s two hundred acre Summer Hill estate stretched from the present day Yonge Street to Mt. Pleasant Road. On this site Thompson established the ‘Summer Hill Spring Park and Pleasure Grounds’. This amusement park featured rides, games, swimming and a popular dance pavilion that was located inside the Summer Hill house. Thompson’s heirs subdivided Summer Hill in the 1860’s.
From the 1880’s onward Summerhill’s development revolved around the railway. The first residents of this neighbourhood worked at the North Toronto Railway station which was established on Yonge Street near Summerhill in the 1880’s. This station – rebuilt in 1916 – is distinguished by its grand clock tower and now serves as the neighbourhood liquor store.
In the 1920’s the Canadian Pacific Railway made Summerhill their main Toronto station. When Summerhill station closed this neighbourhood went into a period of decline that lasted until the Summerhill subway station opened in 1965. Summerhill has enjoyed a position of prominence among Toronto neighbourhoods ever since.
Summerhill’s turn of the century houses, winding tree-lined streets, and abundance of parkland have made it one of Toronto’s most preferred neighbourhoods. It is conveniently located along the Yonge Street corridor, providing Summerhill residents with easy access to Toronto’s downtown business and entertainment districts.
HOMES IN SUMMERHILL
Summerhill’s original housing stock consists of semi-detached and detached Victorian houses, and detached Edwardian style houses, built between 1880 and 1915.
Many of these houses do not include driveways, however permit street parking is available from the city for a nominal annual fee.
Summerhill also contains a large number of modern townhouses, and a handful of low-rise luxury condominium apartment buildings, built mostly in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
SCHOOLS IN THE SUMMERHILL AREA
(P) Cottingham Jr., 85 Birch Avenue, (416) 393-1895
(P) Deer Park Jr. & Sr., 23 Ferndale Avenue, (416) 393-1550
(PH) North Toronto Collegiate Institute, 70 Roehampton Avenue, (416) 393-9180
(PH) Jarvis Collegiate Institute, 495 Jarvis Street, (416) 393-0140
(PR) Branksome Hall, 10 Elm Avenue, (416) 920-9741
(PR) Bishop Strachan School, 298 Lonsdale Road, (416) 4834325
(PR) Upper CanadaCollege, 200 Lonsdale Road, (416) 488-1125
(PR) The York School, 1320 Yonge Street, (416) 926-1325
(P) Public School (PH) Public High School (PH) Public High School (PH) Public High School (PC) Private Catholic School (PJ) Private Jewish School (C) College (U) University
LIFESTYLE IN SUMMERHILL
Summerhill residents are within walking distance of the many fine shops and restaurants centred around Yonge Street and Summerhill Avenue.
The Bloor-Yorkville and Yonge and St. Clair shopping districts are also easily accessed from the Summerhill neighbourhood.
RECREATION IN SUMMERHILL
The Rosehill Reservoir Park is located east of Yonge Street, with access from Summerhill Gardens. The lower portion of this park features a foot path that is used by walkers, joggers, and cyclists. The north-east corner of this path leads to the David A. Balfour Park, a nature trail that winds through the Vale of Avoca Ravine.
The upper portion of the Rosehill Reservoir Park includes a childrenÍs playground, a wading pool, a waterfall, and reflecting pools.
Lionel Conacher Park, situated off Birch Avenue, is a memorial to Lionel Conacher who was CanadaÍs athlete of the first half of the twentieth century. Conacher, who grew up in the Summerhill neighbourhood, played on two Toronto Maple Leaf Stanley Cup teams. He also competed at the highest level in a dozen other sports and served in the Ontario Legislature, as well as the House of Commons.
TRANSPORTATION IN SUMMERHILL
The Summerhill subway station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line is within walking distance of every home in this neighbourhood.
Located along the Yonge Street corridor, Summerhill provides motorists with easy access to the downtown core and to major highways.
PARKS AND GREENSPACES IN THE SUMMERHILL AREA
Stretching roughly three kilometers and located in Toronto’s Rosehill neighbourhood, the Rosehill Reservoir provides one of the most beautiful walking excursions that you’ll likely find in the city. With three main entrances (at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, at David A Balfour Park, and from St. Clair Ave. at theAvoca St. bridge) the reservoir is easily accessible for a person to go for a nice stroll or to walk their dog. The City of Toronto has built wooden staircases and walking trails on the west side of the reservoir for both convenience and to ensure that a little bad weather doesn’t stave off any potential wanderers.
The reservoir is home to beautiful woods and flowers and even the odd wild animal sighting (even in Toronto this is one spot that you could still happen across a deer or fox). Below the Avoca St. bridge, there’s also some incredible grafitti art to be found. Stretching forty feet from side to side and nearly five stories from the ground, the underside of the bridge is covered in expansive spray-painted murals and tags, demonstrating a gorgeous juxtaposition between the simple colours of nature and the wide variety used in the art world.
Lionel Conacher Park – 80 Cottingham Street
A small park near Yonge Street and St.Clair Avenue West that features a baseball diamond, a wading pool and a children’s playground. The park is named after Canada’s top athlete of the first half of the 20th century, MPP and MP Lionel P Conacher. This facility has street parking around the outskirts of the park.
Ramsden Park – 1020 Yonge St
Ramsden Park has a large dog’s off-leash open area, baseball diamond, two playgrounds and wading pool. There is also a large outdoor rink, which doubles as a tennis court in the summer.
LIBRARIES IN THE SUMMERHILL AREA
- Deer Park Library – 40 Saint Clair Avenue East, (416) 393-7657
- Toronto Reference Library – 789 Yonge Street, (416) 395-5577
- Toronto Public Library-Yorkville – (416) 393-7660
- Toronto Public Library – 1431 Bathurst Street, (416) 393-7683
- Mount Pleasant Branch Library – 599 Mount Pleasant Road, (416) 393-7737