Average Commute Time to Toronto
The Housing Market
What You’ll Love
What Not To Expect
If you’re looking to settle in a culturally diverse, family-oriented neighbourhood, West Hill, Toronto, is certainly worth looking into. Located in the southeast region of Toronto in the suburbs of Scarborough, West Hill is bounded by Highland Creek and Scarborough Golf Club Road. The name comes from its elevated position on the west side of Highland Creek, a deep glacial ravine.
East of Manse Road, which roughly splits this neighbourhood in half, you’ll find the Manse Valley neighbourhood. This area is less commercial than the western part of the neighbourhood, with more industrial development. However, both parts were treated as part of West Hill.
West Hill is a rapidly growing neighbourhood, partially as a result of the expanding student population that attends the nearby Centennial College-Morningside Campus and the University of Toronto Scarborough. The neighbourhood is naturally lush with an abundance of parkland, as seen in Morningside Park and Colonel Danforth Park, two ravine parks that make up West Hill’s boundaries.
West Hill’s history began in 1879 when John Richardson opened a new post office on the west side of Highland Creek valley, officially known as "West Hill." West Hill’s earliest settlers were Irish immigrants from the County Cork, who arrived in the 1840s seeking refuge from the potato famine in their homeland.
It wasn’t until 1906 that the implementation of the radial streetcar line began to attract new families into the area. With so many families trickling in, the community opened the West Hill Public School, one of the oldest schools in Toronto. The school was built on the present site in the 1880s; however, the original building was replaced by a modern facility in 1994.
Until after the Second World War, West Hill was largely rural, although some development took place along Kingston Road dating back to the late 19th century. You can still find many of the neighbourhood’s oldest remaining buildings along this street.
The streetcar line closed in 1936, making it challenging to access West Hill by road. Fortunately, the main commuter bus route from downtown Toronto to Oshawa ran directly along Kingston Road. As a result, early development in the neighbourhood clustered around Kingston Road starting in the 1950s. The area proliferated by the mid-1960s, and several public schools opened to serve the new residents, who were generally young families drawn to the lower home prices in the area.
Much of the homes available in West Hill today date back to the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s. The neighbourhood offers a large number of bungalows and storey-and-a-half houses as well as a few new, custom-designed homes, often embellished by old pine and maple trees.
At the times of the earliest developments, sanitary sewer service had not been extended this far east, and house lots generally had to be large to accommodate septic tanks. As a result, many of the older properties are generously sized. Highrise apartment buildings were eventually erected in West Hill during the 1970s, mainly along Kingston Road.
Things to Do in West Hill
Arts & Culture
West Hill features many landmarks that demonstrate the neighbourhood’s commitment to art and culture. You can find murals like Robert Matejka’s Bridging on 3998 Lawrence Avenue East, Amir Akbari’s Behind the Lines on 4371 Kingston Road, and Amir Akbari’s Our Heroes on 4301 Kingston Road. These are stunning designs created by a group of youth and community members.
Additionally, the Native Child and Family Life Centre on 156 Galloway Road, offers a variety of programs for Indigenous children, youth, and adults. The building, originally the Richard Eade House, was built in 1885 and remains a designated heritage property.
Families can also enjoy a fun night out at the nearby Cineplex Odeon Morningside Cinemas movie theatre on Morningside Avenue.
In terms of shopping, there are many stretches in the neighbourhood that are lined with both businesses and shopping centres.
Along Kingston Road, you’ll find a few car dealerships and small shopping plazas filled with everyday conveniences. The West Hill shopping centre, located at the northeast corner of Lawrence and Kingston Road, includes a pharmacy, an electronics store, a bank, a family restaurant, and a post office.
On Morningside, you’ll find both the Morningside Mall and Kingston Square. These shopping centres, located across the street from each other, feature many independently owned businesses and professional offices. Kingston Square includes a large supermarket, a department store, and a Beer Store.
Restaurants & Dining
Kingston Road features a diverse range of restaurants and food options for West Hill residents, whether you’re looking for takeout or plan on dining out.
Near Morningside Avenue, you’ll find many options for Indian cravings like Spice Club and Vindaloo Express Indian Cuisine. Further down, you can get authentic Afghan food at Afghan Kabob Restaurant and tasty Caribbean at Fire Dutch’s Jamaican Take Out. If you’re in the mood for good food and even better drinks, head over to Danny’s Family Restaurant & Bar located south of Lawrence Avenue on Morningside.
Take in the great outdoors in West Hill’s lush recreational nature parks. Morningside Park, Toronto’s largest municipal park by area, offers a mix of hardwood forests, large open meadows, and the remnants of an old apple orchard. Located on the west side of the neighbourhood, cyclists will enjoy the paved trails while winter sports fanatics will love cross-country skiing in the wintertime.
Colonel Danforth Park, located on the east, is situated in a deep ravine valley and is popular with cyclists, pedestrians, and joggers.
Check out the Heron Park and Community Centre just off of Manse Road for sports facilities, including a gym, indoor rink, and outdoor pool. This community centre services residents of all ages, offering a preschool and an enhanced youth centre called the 6IX. The park also features a number of tennis courts, a ball diamond, and a children’s playground.
Galloway Park is a 2.5-hectare wooded green space that features a children’s playground. The park is also home to the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough. It offers a variety of child care, before- and after-school programs, camps, sports, and leadership programs for children and youth in the community.
Transit & Commute Times
Getting around this neighbourhood is very easy, with an accessible bus route that connects community members to the Lawrence East subway station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
With residents being a mere five-minute drive from the Morningside Avenue on-ramp to Highway 401, commuters can get to downtown Toronto within 30 minutes. For a more scenic route into the city, Kingston Road will get drivers to the city’s core in the same amount of time.
Affordable, Family-Oriented Living
West Hill is a diverse and affordable suburban neighbourhood with a lot to offer. Its natural beauty is easily noticeable walking through the large ravines of Morningside Park and Colonel Danforth Park. While the area is considered suburban, it’s far from a typical quiet community.
West Hill has many fine attributes, including a community centre, a public library, an abundance of parkland, a vibrant shopping district, and affordable homes. Neighbourhood landmarks include the C.N. railway tracks that skirt the south end of the neighbourhood, and the University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus, located off Morningside Avenue.
Containing the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park, and Danzig neighbourhoods, West Hill has a high percentage of community housing within its boundaries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is West Hill, Toronto, known for?
West Hill is known for its nearby schools, Centennial College-Morningside Campus, and the University of Toronto Scarborough.
Why is it called West Hill, Toronto?
The name comes from its elevated position on the west side of Highland Creek, a deep glacial ravine.