Rosedale’s northern neighbour, Moore Park, is a wealthy, private enclave nestled in the Vale of Avoca below Mount Pleasant Cemetery, west of Mud Creek and east of the Deer Park community. Streets lined by mature trees follow the area’s natural topography, making it a maze for non-residents but a boon for homeowners appreciative of the resulting low traffic volumes. Many homes back onto wilderness and have large front lawns, making Moore Park one of Toronto’s most sought after neighbourhoods.
The homes here were built between 1908 and 1930 in a variety of styles, primarily English Cottage, Georgian, and Tudor. Most are on large lots with ravine views, and many, curiously, share driveways as Moore Park was envisioned as a commuter-friendly community by its namesake, developer John Thomas Moore. There is also a smattering of elegant duplexes and townhouses. House prices range from low-medium to luxury.
Bus service is available on St. Clair Avenue , Mount Pleasant Road and Moore Avenue, and the St. Clair subway station on Yonge Street is within walking distance of many Moore Park houses. Drivers can access both the Bayview Extension and the Don Valley Parkway quickly via Moore Avenue.
Moore Park is named after John Thomas Moore, a chartered accountant and developer who laid out the neighbourhood in 1889 and marketed it to the very wealthy. Two years later, he built two bridges in the area to encourage buyers. He later leveraged all his money on the Belt Line Railway, the city’s first commuter train whose showpiece station just happened to be at Moore Park. Unfortunately, a Depression hit Toronto soon after it opened, and the Belt Line went bankrupt. As a result, development was delayed until the early years of the new century and finally completed in the ‘30s. Although he did not live to see it, Moore’s vision of the community as a picturesque retreat was achieved.
Moore Park is surrounded by natural habitat areas and recreational pathways. The 8km-long Moore Park Ravine foot path passes through the Rosedale Ravine, the Mt. Pleasant cemetery, and the old Don Valley brickworks, and is maintained and operated by the city.
The Loring/Wyle Parkette is dedicated to the art and memory of two famous Toronto sculptors: Frances Loring (1887-1968) and Florence Wyle (1881-1968), affectionately known as “The Girls.” Established in 1984 on a small plot of land on the northeast corner of Mt. Pleasant Road and St. Clair Avenue East, the parkette contains busts of both women, each carved by the other.
A block east of Mount Pleasant Road is Moorevale Park. In addition to housing five tennis courts, a baseball diamond, and a wading pool, it hosts the Moore Park Tennis Club (175 Moore Avenue).
Local tennis players also have the private Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (44 Price Street). Known as “The Lawn,” it has 14 Har-Tru outdoor courts (five are bubbled) and four indoor clay courts. Squash players have their choice of three international glass courts and a doubles court. There is also an extensive fitness centre.
Moore Park boasts many private schools. The most exclusive is Upper Canada College (200 Lonsdale Road). Founded in 1829, it is Ontario’s oldest independent school and is widely regarded as the most prestigious prep school in Canada, teaching boys from Senior Kindergarten to Grade 12. Famous alumni include the late cable mogul Ted Rogers, Loblaws head Galen Weston and Liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff. Opened in 1913, Crescent School (2365 Bayview Avenue) challenges boys from Grades 3 to 12 intellectually, artistically and athletically through a rigorous and creative curriculum.
Deer Park Jr & Sr PS (23 Ferndale Avenue) offers JK to Grade 8 and has two daycares. Northern SS (851 Mt. Pleasant Road) services over 1800 students from a diverse cultural background, 50% of whom graduate as Ontario Scholars, achieving an academic average of at least 80%.
Moore Park Catholic students from JK to Grade 8 are serviced by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School (1-1/2 Garfield Avenue), while De La Salle College (131 Farnham Avenue) is a co-ed private Catholic school for students in Grades 5 to 12.
The Yonge/St. Clair or Mount Pleasant/Davisville shopping districts are the most popular with Moore Park residents. Both are well known for gourmet food shops and fine dining. Residents in the neighbourhood’s more secluded south-east pocket can walk across a railway overpass to the small collection of neighbourhood stores on Summerhill Avenue.
Musashi (1166 Yonge Street) is a tiny sushi shop located opposite the Summerhill clock tower which serves up maki and combo meals at the bar and booth tables. Made-to-order party platters are available, and daily lunch specials include teriyaki, rice, miso soup, salad and green tea. The dinner menu has various sushi and maki selections.
A relaxed meal is guaranteed at Summerhill favourite Brownes Bistro (4 Woodlawn Avenue East). An open kitchen lets visitors watch owner Jude Patrick Jacob and his brother, chef Bennet Jacob, prepare pizzas, pastas, and ten meat and fish mains. Tasty options include tender beef carpaccio, fettucine, and pear salad.
The elites of media and art frequent owner Georges Gurnon’s Pastis Express (1158 Yonge Street) to indulge their taste for sophisticated French cuisine. A broad menu of bistro cooking includes classics like cod fritters, steak tartare and fish soup, as well as cassoulet, veal scaloppine and steak frites.
Residents of Moore Park and Rosedale have been serviced by the Summerhill Market (446 Summerhill Avenue) for over 55 years. The fish counter offers organic Irish salmon, while the meat options are plentiful, among them: marinated beef and chicken kebabs far superior to those at the chains, flattened chickens, and marinated flank steaks. There is also plenty of farm fresh produce, and there are always a few Canadian cheeses for sale. Dufflet and Rahier supply sweets. They also cater via their website.
Wedding invitations don’t have to be boring. Lavender Press (68 Crescent Road) creates beautiful invites on heavy cotton stock in a variety of colours. The results are old-fashioned without being dated thanks to the variety of fonts and coloured inks.