York Mills, North York Neighbourhood Guide: An Elegant Enclave
Image of York Mills
Go to guide section:
Neighbourhood At a Glance:
Average Commute Time to Toronto
The Housing Market
What You’ll Love
What Not To Expect
York Mills is an affluent neighbourhood in North York bordered by Bayview Avenue and Yonge Street. This area has a reputation for upscale living that ranks with the opulent neighbourhoods of Bridle Path, Forest Hill and Rosedale. Many of the executive homes in this community date from the 1920s to the 1960s. They have been either renovated and beautifully landscaped or replaced with custom-built homes, offering the homeowners who live here prosperous residences set amid the lush ravines of the Don Valley.
York Mills is a large community divided into the neighbourhoods of Hog’s Hollow and St. Andrew-Windfields. The history of the Hog’s Hollow neighbourhood dates back to the 1820s, when the area was vast farmland, with bogs and swamps. It was settled by Scotsman James Hogg, a wealthy whisky distiller whom the neighbourhood is named after.
The nearby St. Andrew-Windfields section of York Mills was home to iconic businessman, E.P. Taylor. His historic home is now the venue for the Canadian Film Centre, and Taylor’s historical legacy lives on in this community.
York Mills derives its name from the abundance of saw and grist mills that the pioneers operated along the banks of the Don River, which traverses this neighbourhood. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that residential construction began in the Hedgewood Road area.
York Mills is one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Toronto and the homes here reflect this. Up to 50 per cent of the properties are single-detached, and many are customized and renovated with elaborately landscaped grounds. Most of the homes date back to the 1920s through the 1960s; however, many have been significantly updated.
The housing stock in this neighbourhood is varied and includes a range of styles, such as Tudor and English cottage-style and more modern homes. Adding to the mix are ranch-style bungalows and split-level houses, and many of the older, more traditional residences have been replaced with custom-built homes.
There are also some elegant condominium buildings and condo townhomes in this community at Bayview Avenue and York Mills Road.
Things to Do in York Mills
Arts & Culture
North York is a cultural hub for arts and creativity, festivals, and special events. Many festivals and events take place year-round at Mel Lastman Square, and fabulous theatre and musical performances can be seen at the Meridian Arts Centre.
Located just off Yonge Street, the Gibson House Museum is an educational exploration of Toronto’s early pioneer history. The Aga Khan Museum, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and the Ontario Science Centre draw locals and international visitors for cultural and educational enlightenment. You don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy these attractions located in your own backyard!
Shops abound in York Mills and there are some high-end shopping malls in the vicinity, like Bayview Village Shopping Centre and York Mills Centre. Bayview Village is a community hub at the corner of Bayview and Sheppard Avenues and has been a local landmark for 59 years. A large indoor mall containing over 110 stores, it caters to the more affluent shoppers from the Bridle Path, Willowdale, and York Mills neighbourhoods.
What was referred to by a Toronto mayor as “the Tiffany’s of shopping centres,” York Mills Centre is at Yonge Street and York Mills Road. This shopping centre offers a wide array of high-end designer shops and many restaurants and cafés. The mall also offers a conveniently located Metro supermarket.
Restaurants & Dining
Nearby Yonge Street offers a wide selection of eateries, like Bento Box, Halibut & Tea House, Hazel’s Diner, and The Monkey Bar. Auberge du Pommier on Yonge Street is a community landmark on the site of what was originally two woodcutters’ homes. This restaurant offers fine French cuisine in elegant surroundings.
Bayview Avenue is also a popular dining nook. An eclectic mix of eateries can be found here including Sophie’s, a bistro offering brunch, Mayrik, for Middle Eastern fare, and Eggstatic and Pii Nong Thai, among others.
Babel restaurant is located on York Mills Road and features colourful and unique Mediterranean fare, including time-tested favourite recipes from the regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Gather around the restaurant’s fireplace with family and celebrate special occasions in this traditional eatery.
An enclave of scenic parks is north of York Mills and west of Bayview Avenue. The York Mills Valley Park, located along Yonge Street and in the Hog’s Hollow nook of York Mills, is a quiet expanse of green space. It features the Don River, which flows adjacent to the park’s walking path.
St. Andrews Park is another major park in this vicinity on Knollwood Street, west of Bayview Avenue. It’s a serene spot for walking the dog on grounds that resemble a sweeping golf course.
Golfing is a popular pastime in York Mills. Some notable golf courses are located in this neighbourhood, including the scenic Don Valley Golf Course located at Yonge Street and York Mills. Tennis clubs are also fashionable with residents and include Valley Tennis on Yonge Street and Tournament Park Tennis Club on Tournament Drive.
Transit & Commute Times
Downtown Toronto is just 20 minutes away from York Mills, and the Highway 401 on-ramp is a five-minute drive, located on either Yonge Street or Bayview Avenue. The York Mills subway station is at the intersection of Yonge Street and York Mills. TTC bus routes travel along Yonge, Bayview, and York Mills Road, which makes connecting with amenities and outlying communities convenient. All of these buses connect with the subway line.
Refined and Elegant Homes
York Mill’s beginning as a milling community is still evident, with many of the historical buildings having been preserved. The country club atmosphere of the area features opulent homes and excellent shopping and dining venues in an uptown location. This earns the community a place on the roster with other prominent neighbourhoods in Toronto such as Bridle Path and Forest Hill.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is York Mills known for?
York Mills is known for its opulent homes and excellent shopping and dining venues in an uptown location.
Why is it called York Mills?
York Mills derives its name from the abundance of saw and grist mills that the pioneers operated along the banks of the Don River, which traverses this neighbourhood.