Parkdale, Toronto Neighbourhood Guide: Look Into The Past

Parkdale, Toronto

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Neighbourhood At a Glance:

Average Commute Time

Commute times to Union Station are under 20 minutes by car, and about 40 minutes via transit.

Lifestyle

A multicultural hub of activity with plenty to do and explore.

The Housing Market

Grand Victorian mansions, apartment buildings, and detached or semi-detached homes.

What You’ll Love

Lots of amenities within and close to the neighbourhood.

What Not To Expect

Large, open green spaces within the area’s borders.

Parkdale, Toronto, is an iconic neighbourhood in the city that has been home to various communities over centuries. Once known as an elite playground, the area transitioned to be very inclusive and shaped by many diverse cultures. The neighbourhood’s borders are Bloor Street West to the north, Dufferin Street on the east, Roncesvalles Avenue on the west, and Lake Ontario to the south.

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Architecture

The housing stock in Parkdale varies due to its transformed residential history. As a former elite retreat, grand Victorian mansions sprinkle the southern sector of the area, built mostly between 1875 and 1895. Some large homes were converted to bachelor or multiple-family dwellings, although bylaws now focus on restoring them to single-family buildings. More modest semi-detached and Victorian-era row houses in Georgian Revival styles populate North Parkdale. Many low-rent and highrise apartments popped up in the 1950s to 1970s, immensely diversifying the community. 

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Things to Do in Parkdale

Arts & Culture

The global cultures in Parkdale lend it a unique character. An artistic project known as Impressions by Jim Bravo was installed on Jameson Avenue in 2009 to recognize the neighbourhood’s past and current residents. The project included installing black-and-white photos of locals on concrete street planters to reinvigorate the area. In 2017, the project was revamped to ensure longevity for the images. 

 

Residents have multiple options to view artistic expression within the community. Gallery 1313 is a non-profit, artist-run space created in 1998 that exhibits local, national, and contemporary art. The Milky Way Lane Way alley between Dufferin Street and Elm Grove Avenue is an ideal destination for people looking to explore Toronto’s street art. 

 

The Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre (PARC) organization has played a substantial role in shaping the community. It was created in the late-1970s in response to patients with mental health illnesses being released from nearby psychiatric hospitals. The patients had very little income or means to “integrate,” so PARC set out to help by providing them resources with dignity and safety in mind. PARC has also partnered with the City of Toronto to establish affordable housing in the area. 

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Shopping

Parkdale enjoys shopping amenities from two Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) within its borders. The Parkdale Village BIA, located along Queen Street West between Roncesvalles Avenue and Dufferin Street, includes an assortment of eclectic stores and restaurants. The Roncesvalles Village BIA, north of Queen Street West, is firmly centred around the Polish community and features delis, food markets, clothing shops, and hobby stores. Annual events like the Roncesvalles Polish Festival in September and Roncy Rocks in June consistently bring thousands of visitors to the area.

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Restaurants & Dining

Parkdale Village BIA hosts many Tibetan storefronts and restaurants such as The MoMo House, Loga’s Corner, and Tibet Kitchen. Other diverse options in the area include Sho Izakaya for Japanese cuisine, iSLAS Filipino BBQ & Bar, and Daol Korean. Roncesvalles Village BIA is home to Polish eateries like Benna’s Bakery & Deli, Chopin, and Café Polonez, while also including options like Shadi Shawarma, Sushi Kira, and CINCO Mexican. 

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Parks

The neighbourhood features mostly parkettes but is conveniently close to some of Toronto’s well-known parks. Residents can travel to the waterfront to enjoy the Martin Goodman Waterfront Trail and public green spaces like Marilyn Bell Park. The park features tennis courts, a disc golf course, and multiple trails. 

 

High Park is a short trip from Parkdale and offers unique outdoor activities for all. Children can enjoy possibly the largest playground in Ontario, the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, which kids helped design. High Park also features beautiful sakura trees, Chinese gardens, waterfront trails, picnic spaces, an off-leash dog park, a mini-zoo, and sports fields. 

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Recreation

The neighbourhood features mostly parkettes but is conveniently close to some of Toronto’s well-known parks. Residents can travel to the waterfront to enjoy the Martin Goodman Waterfront Trail and public green spaces like Marilyn Bell Park. The park features tennis courts, a disc golf course, and multiple trails. 

 

High Park is a short trip from Parkdale and offers unique outdoor activities for all. Children can enjoy possibly the largest playground in Ontario, the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, which kids helped design. High Park also features beautiful sakura trees, Chinese gardens, waterfront trails, picnic spaces, an off-leash dog park, a mini-zoo, and sports fields. 

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Transit & Commute Times

Situated near downtown Toronto, Parkdale reaps the benefits of its convenient location in terms of travelling. By car, commuters can reach the downtown core in less than 20 minutes by either the Gardiner Expressway or Lake Shore Boulevard. 

 

Streetcars and buses along major roads ensure easy travel for those without cars. A trip to Union Station should take about 40 minutes via the 501B streetcar to Osgoode subway station, connecting to Line 1. The neighbourhood also includes Bike Share Toronto stations on Roncesvalles and Queen to facilitate quick and sustainable travel. 

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Home Away From Home

Parkdale is a neighbourhood with unique character and fascinating history. Many cultures and communities have shaped the area into a true home that celebrates its diversity, strength, and longevity. 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Parkdale known for?

It is known as a long-standing, diverse residential neighbourhood full of amenities.

Why is it called Parkdale?

Its name was meant to signal the land’s beautiful forests and potential for decorative gardens and fertile countryside.

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