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St James Town, Toronto Neighbourhood Guide: A Community of Highrise Living

St James Town, Toronto

Image of St James Town

Neighbourhood At a Glance:

Average Commute Time

Union Station can be reached in 15 minutes by car.

Lifestyle

A reduced focus on entertainment and shopping due to limited means.

The Housing Market

This high-density neighbourhood contains 18 highrise apartment buildings.

What You’ll Love

You’ll love the annual St. James Town Festival and affordable rents.

What Not To Expect

Don’t expect an abundance of restaurants and shops within this neighbourhood.

A collection of 18 highrises, St. James Town is an inner-city neighbourhood that is home to mostly new Canadians with limited means and other fixed-income tenants. This neighbourhood is both the most densely populated community in Canada and also includes the largest collection of highrises.

 

Revitalization of this neighbourhood with housing and park improvements and enhanced recreational facilities began in 2000. This has resulted in the construction of a new community centre and other positive developments.

Neighbourhood Review

Architecture

This high-density neighbourhood contains 18 highrise apartment buildings. These buildings house over 15,000 residents in 7,000 units. Many of the buildings are named after major Canadian cities and the rents are at typical Toronto rates. Four of the apartment buildings are owned by the Metro Toronto Housing Authority offering rent geared to income.

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Things to Do in St. James Town

Arts & Culture

The annual St. James Town Festival brings locals together to celebrate the diversity of their neighbourhood. In 2021, St. James Town joined with nearby Cabbagetown to combine their two street festivals. Various performers — including kids, seniors and youth among 10 local residents — displayed colourful costumes and diverse dancing and musical talents. 

 

Additionally, multicultural cuisine was served up by food vendors offering meals from around the globe. Arts and crafts vendors and activities like henna and face painting made this festival a chance for residents to celebrate their unique cultures and become acquainted with neighbours.

 

Health providers set up booths to help local residents become aware of the various community services available. This vibrant festival shows how a diverse neighbourhood can come together as a homogeneous force for excellence.

wellesley street east

Shopping

The inner community of this neighbourhood is home to a limited number of retail shops and services. Residents can travel to the streets that surround the neighbourhood, such as Wellesley, Sherbourne and Parliament Streets, for their shopping needs.

 

On nearby Parliament Street, you’ll find convenience stores, butchers, delis, and restaurants. Wellesley Street also offers a spot for picking up necessities. The Food Basics grocery store here allows for convenient grocery shopping.

james town neighbourhood

Restaurants & Dining

The thoroughfares that surround this neighbourhood, like Wellesley, Sherbourne, and Parliament Streets, feature a variety of multicultural eateries serving this diverse community.

 

Tala on Howard Street serves home-cooked Filipino food with a variety of seafood and meat dishes. Food Factor on Sherbourne Street features home-cooked comfort food from burgers to shawarma to baklava.

 

Manila Sentro Filipino Cuisine is on Howard Street. This diner is a favourite for locals, many of whom think it’s one of the neighbourhood’s best-kept secrets.

james town neighbourhood

Parks

Throughout this neighbourhood, you’ll find a scattering of local parks, providing opportunities for families to gather. St. Jamestown West Park features a beautiful mural, celebrating human rights. The park is currently undergoing a facelift to revitalize this popular meeting spot.

 

St. James Park on King Street East features flower gardens and walking paths, in addition to a playground. Nearby Rosedale Ravine Lands Park on Bloor Street East is close to the Sherbourne subway station and easily accessible for commuters. It features a myriad of walking and hiking trails with panoramic views from several bridges.

 

Additionally, outside of the neighbourhood, residents don’t have to travel far to reach larger parks, like Wellesley Park, Riverdale Park West, Winchester Park, and Allan Gardens.

james town buildings

Recreation

The Wellesley Community Centre on Sherbourne Street is a focal point of the community. The centre features a fitness room, a gym, an indoor pool, and a kitchen and lounge. Various arts, fitness, sports, and general interest programs are offered to residents — drop-in basketball and adult lane swimming are favourite pastimes at this locale. An on-site library is a great place for students to find a quiet nook to study.

james town neighbourhood

Transit & Commute Times

Residents enjoy easy access to TTC buses that travel on the streets bordering this neighbourhood. Additionally, the Sherbourne subway station is a short walk away. The Don Valley Parkway can be accessed a few minutes away at the Bloor Street on-ramp.

james town neighbourhood

A Progressive Improvement of a Community

St. James Town offers affordable housing to those with limited financial means. With the ongoing revitalization of housing, parks, and recreation, this neighbourhood has the potential to blossom into an accessible community for those seeking more affordable rents.

 

st. james town building

Frequently Asked Question

What is St. James Town, Toronto, known for?

This neighbourhood is both the most densely populated community in Canada and also includes the largest collection of highrises.

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