Yorkville was subdivided in the 1830’s, by a prominent brewer named Joseph Bloor, and by Sheriff William Botsford Jarvis who also founded the Rosedale neighbourhood.
It was named after the Town of York, the forerunner to the City of Toronto. It was incorporated as a Village in 1853. The initials and trades of Yorkville’s first council members are displayed on the Village coat of arms which is now on the tower of the historic Yorkville Fire Hall, located at 34 Yorkville Avenue.
In 1883, it had the distinction of being the first village annexed by the City of Toronto. Despite being part of a big city, Yorkville has always maintained its own identity. It had gained notoriety first as a hippie haven in the 1960’s, and then became known as a shopping mecca in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Yorkville is one of Toronto’s most dynamic neighbourhoods. It is an eclectic mix of luxury condominium apartment buildings, commercial office towers, four star hotels, theatres, gourmet restaurants, a prestigious shopping district and picture postcard Victorian homes.
The commercial heart of the neighbourhood is located on both Yorkville Avenue and on Cumberland Street. The transition to Yorkville’s quiet residential pocket is gradual, as Victorian houses shift from retail to residential uses in a seamless pattern that is uniquely Yorkville.
HOMES IN YORKVILLE
Yorkville’s gentrified Victorian houses were built mainly between 1870 and 1895. These historical homes exhibit many decorative features including ornamental brick patterns, gingerbread gables, cast iron fences, and richly landscaped gardens. Many of Yorkville’s houses are listed on the Toronto Historical Board’s Inventory of Heritage Properties.
SCHOOLS IN THE YORKVILLE AREA
(P) Jesse Ketchum Jr. & Sr., 61 Davenport Road, (416) 393-1530
(PH) Jarvis Collegiate Institute, 495 Jarvis Street, (416) 393-0140
(PR) University of Toronto Schools, 371 Bloor Street West, (416) 978-2011
(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 YORKVILLE
Bloor-Yorkville is generally acclaimed as Canada’s pre-eminent shopping district. Its many specialty stores, fashion boutiques, jewellery stores, antique shops, and art galleries are a destination point for tourists, as well as Torontonians from all over the city.
Yorkville’s shops and restaurants are located in pretty Victorian houses on Yorkville Avenue, Hazelton Avenue, Cumberland Street and Scollard Street. The Hazelton Lanes shopping centre located at 55 Avenue Road features over 100 exclusive shops and restaurants.
RECREATION IN YORKVILLE
The Village of Yorkville Park located at 115 Cumberland Street has won numerous design awards for its thematic landscape based on elements of Yorkville history as well as the Canadian landscape. The rock in the centre of the park is from the Canadian Shield. It weighs 650 tonnes, and is 1 billion years old.
Ramsden Park is located at the north end of Yorkville, off Yonge Street. This large city park includes four tennis courts, an artificial ice rink, a children’s playground, and a wading pool.
The Yorkville Public Library, at 22 Yorkville Avenue, is an intimate library geared towards the local community. It includes programs for both children and adults. The Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge Street is Canada’s largest and most extensive reference library.
The George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the McLaughlin Planetarium are all within walking distance of this neighbourhood. The Manulife Centre situated at the south-east corner of Bay and Bloor features 12 state-of-the-art movie theatres.
PARKS AND GREENSPACES IN THE YORKVILLE AREA
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.
Lester B. Pearson is recognized for his international and national presence and roles, as well as at Victoria University where he studied and later on, became Chancellor. This garden was conceived to commemorate his life and the peace towards which he worked. The goal was to develop a green oasis where students and the general public could fi nd a quiet solace to read, contemplate, or be inspired. The small courtyard site located at the centre of the Victoria College campus is framed by historical Victorian dormitory buildings on one side, a more modernist library on the other, and a tall retaining wall at its healm.
The design concept aimed to provide an informal garden setting with the existing majestic Copper Beech as the centrepiece, and water on its edge. PMA worked with Victoria College to develop the detail design of the courtyard: a free-form garden featuring a quilt of perennial plantings, a shallow waterbasin and waterfall. Smooth straight concrete slabs and a stone-paved walkway penetrate the lush groundcover planting, providing opportunities for visitors to enter the garden, without disturbing the planting. All hardscape elements were detailed to rest on the surface of the site, to minimize further stress on the Beechs’ root system. PMA designed a custom bronze railing that would also provide a leaning balustrade on the upper promontory, which is the also to the donor’s plaque. It would be easily readable but unobtrusive of the view to the lower terrace.
Queen’s Park is an urban park in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Opened in 1860 by Edward, Prince of Wales, it was named in honour of Queen Victoria. The park is the site of the Ontario Legislative Building, which houses the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the phrase Queen’s Park is regularly used as a metonym for the Government of Ontario.
The park is nearly an enclave of the University of Toronto, which occupies most of the surrounding lands. The park itself is technically owned by the University of Toronto, but the property was leased to the Government of Ontario in 1859 for a period of 999 years, set to expire in 2858. Ministry buildings of the Ontario government occupy other properties to the east of the park, in an area between Wellesley Street and Grosvenor Street. While not directly adjacent to the park, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Gardiner Museum are both located nearby.
LIBRARIES IN THE YORKVILLE AREA
- Emmanuel College Library – 75 Queens Park Crescent East, (416) 585-4550
- Bora Laskin Law Library – 78 Queens Park, (416) 978-1073
- Toronto Public Library-Yorkville – (416) 393-7660
- Toronto Public Library Answerline – 789 Yonge St, (416) 393-7131
- Toronto Reference Library – 789 Yonge Street, (416) 395-5577
- Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library – 120 Saint George Street, (416) 978-5285
- Spadina Road Library, 10 Spadina Road, (416) 393-7666
CHURCHES IN THE YORKVILLE AREA
- Church of the Redeemer – 162 Bloor W, (416) 922-4948
- St. Andrew’s United Church – 117 Bloor Street East, (416) 929-0811
- St. Basil’s Church – 50 St. Joseph St, (416) 926-7110
- St. Paul’s Bloor Street – 227 Bloor Street East, (416) 961-8116
- Stone Church – 45 Davenport Road, (416) 928-0101
- First Church of Christ, Scientist – 196 Saint George Street, (416) 922-0065
- Saint Thomas’s Anglican Church – 383 Huron Street, (416) 979-2323
- Trinity-St Paul’s United Church – 427 Bloor Street West, (416) 922-8435
- Knox Presbyterian Church – 630 Spadina Avenue, (416) 921-8993