For those who are familiar with the city, the phrase 'North Toronto' is synonymous with family friendly affluence, the benefit of the suburbs without leaving town. While it is firmly situated in a central part of the city, its name predates to an earlier time when Eglinton and Lawrence Avenues were considered to be the northern most edges of the city. 'North Toronto' is not an official designation, but its common use has come to refers to the area from St Clair up to Lawrence Avenue, and from Avenue Road on the west over to Bayview Avenue on the east.
North Toronto is filled with detached singe family homes, renovated semis and a range of high end condo developments. It is extremely popular with professionals and their young families and the quality and design of the homes reflect that.
In 1890 the Town of North Toronto was incorporated amidst a vast expanse of farmland. Shortly thereafter, in 1912, the town was annexed by the City of Toronto. With the Yonge Street streetcar line running right through it, North Toronto became a popular suburb of the city, and during the 1940s matured into a fully developed neighbourhood. When the Yonge streetcar line became the main artery of the city's subway, in 1954, North Toronto's position as the most easily accessible and desirable residential area in the city was cemented.
Like most of the city, North Toronto is home to a rich selection of neighbourhood parks. Davisville Park and Oriole Park both offer green space for dog walking and playgrounds for the children. The recreational centerpiece of North Toronto is Eglinton Park, just west of Yonge Street: it has two baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a splash pool, a playground and outdoor tennis courts that are turned into skating rinks in the winter. Also located in the park is the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre with an indoor pool, outdoor pool, water slides, gymnasium, walking track, and exercise rooms.
The Toronto ravine system also runs through this area. Blythwood and Chatsworth Ravines, just south of Lawrence Avenue, provide nature trails that boast exceptional foliage and bird watching.
North Toronto schools are widely considered to be excellent: from the elementary public schools like Davisville Jr, Maurice Cody, Allenby and Brown to the middle schools Hodgson, Glenview and Deer Park to the high schools North Toronto Collegiate Institute and Northern Secondary School. The names of North Toronto schools carry with them a respect that is recognized throughout the city.
Bishop Strachan School, located on Lonsdale Road, is one of the top girls schools in Canada. Along with Branksome Hall and Havergal, B.S.S. (as it is known locally) is nationally recognized as one of premiere educational environments for girls, their holistic approach to learning prepares young women for leadership roles in life. B.S.S. accepts girls from kindergarden through grade 12.
Starting with preschoolers and going through elementary school, Manor Montessori is a top choice of North Toronto parents. Manor Montessori offers highly researched and updated programs in the Montessori learning style for children as young as 2 1/2.
Yonge and Eglinton is the major business centre of North Toronto, the Yonge & Eglinton Center hosts a bundle of useful chains stores like Toys 'r Us and Indigo while the surrounding blocks are a treasure trove of independent boutiques, restaurants and food shops.
Though it's a pub, Bow and Arrow (1954 Yonge Street) have a modern take on their menu: all ingredients are from Ontario, nothing more than 100 km away. Casual and comfortable, with no food miles to worry about.
Coquine (2075 Yonge Street) A delicious French bistro, its neighbourhood patrons stroll down the street for dinner and feel like they're in Paris.
Five Doors North (2088 Yonge Street). A local favourite for years, this trattoria is always busy thanks to its well done menu and funky style.
From Global knives to Japanese tea pots, kitchen store Degrees (2588 Yonge Street), ensures the local condo dwellers keep their cabinets stocked with the latest in tools and cookware.
The Cupcake Shoppe (2417 Yonge Street). This delectable sweet spot is Toronto's first custom cupcake bakery, offering by design cupcakes for every celebration and ready made butter cream treats for hungry walk ins.
A popular downtown boutique, Eko (2611 Yonge Street) opened a North Toronto location in 2008. It features contemporary jewellery in a gallery-like setting.