Located among three beautiful ravines which are preserved as parkland, Rosedale is one of Toronto’s quietest and most desirable enclaves. It is bounded by the CP rail tracks to the north, Yonge Street to the west, Bloor Street to the south, and Bayview Avenue to the east. Rosedale’s meandering streets are home to many magnificent and stately homes built in Victorian, neo-Georgian, Tudor and Edwardian Classical styles. Many are single family detached dwellings built during the Edwardian boom years but which retain their architectural integrity to this day, meaning prices range between $1 and $7 million. Luxury condominiums upwards of $2 million are also available.
Thanks to the abundance of trees and foliage surrounding the community, the sounds of cars go virtually unheard, even though Rosedale is located in the very heart of the city. Vehicular traffic is further restricted by the neighbourhood’s winding streets and other physical barriers, making this a private, secluded neighbourhood very much attached to but distinct from the rest of Toronto. For these reasons and others, a home in Rosedale is one of Toronto’s most fashionable addresses.
Park Drive Ravine divides the neighbourhood into a northern portion (Moore Park) and southern portion (Rosedale). Sheriff William Jarvis and his wife, Mary, first settled the area in the 1820s. Mary’s walks and horseback rides blazed the trail for the area’s meandering streets, and the name Rosedale was a tribute to the wild roses which grew abundantly on their estate’s hillsides. Residential development of the area began soon after the Jarvis Family sold the Rosedale homestead in 1864.
The area’s primary park, Rosedale Park, is located at the intersection of Scholfield and Edgar Avenues, and was the sight of the first Grey Cup football game in 1909. It offers residents eight private tennis courts (operated by the Rosedale Tennis Club), a sports field, wading pool and ice rink. It is also home to Mayfair, the annual spring park party traditionally held on the first Saturday in May. The event is organized and funded by Mooredale House (146 Crescent Road), the local community centre.
Chorley Park (along Douglas Drive), a beautiful plot of naturalized land filled with trails, also boasts a beautiful view of the Don River Valley. Craigleah Gardens, Winston Churchill Park and Beaumont Park also offer a beautiful range of trails, scenery, and opportunities for outdoor activity.
Rosedale is home to some of Toronto’s most exclusive schools. Among them is the famous Branksome Hall (10 Elm Avenue), an elite all-girls school which takes students from kindergarten to Grade 12. Founded in 1903, it is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and a university-preparatory school. Many of its students go on to prestigious careers in medicine, commerce and academic sharing.
Boys and girls are welcome at The York School (1320 Yonge Street). Offering JK to university entrance, The York School has an average class size of just 18 to 20 students and was the first school in Canada to be accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate programme from Junior Kindergarten through to Grade 12.
Rosedale Junior Public School (22 South Drive) – whose motto is "integrity and scholarship" – is a small elementary school in central Rosedale. Serving Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5, it was founded in 1891, and has been at its present location since 1957. They have a committed arts program, including an affiliation with the acclaimed Soulpepper Theatre, and even have a steel pan band! With fewer than 200 students, Rosedale PS offers an intimate environment both in the classroom and on the playing field.
Whitney School (119 Rosedale Heights Drive) offers junior kindergarten to Grade 6. The first school was built in 1926, and the current building dates from 1964. The vast majority of the some 300 students are from the school’s catchment area. It has a child care centre, and parental involvement is both encouraged and welcome. Whitney School also offers students a wide variety of sport and art programs.
Since Rosedale is primarily a residential area, most of the local businesses are located along Yonge Street between Woodlawn Avenue to the north and Crescent Road to the south. This upscale area is vibrant and active, with many sidewalk cafes and busy markets, creating the feel of a village within the city limits.
The long-running Rosedale Diner (1164 Yonge Street) is all about comfort and familiarity, and boasts one of the best burgers in town (made with grass-fed and naturally-raised local ground chuck). Locals mix with trendy creative types to indulge in a menu that splits light, healthy fare with artery-clogging goodness. (Lamb poutine, anyone?) It's small so the room can fill up, but the enclosed backyard patio seats 42.
Toronto loves its French bistros, and Pastis Express (1158 Yonge Street), a reinvigorated incarnation of the 15-year-plus Pastis, is one of them. Chef Steve Silvestro’s sublime menu is one of simple sophistication and delicious meals. The signature entree is the Beef Bourgignon. Served with roasted chanterelle mushrooms, the hefty portion are pleasantly redolent of red wine.
Cafe habitués will enjoy the French-styled Patachou (1120 Yonge Street). Delicious croissants, raspberry tarts, chocolate éclairs and baba au rhume are popular treats which sell out early. They also offer a worthy croque monsieur and other sandwiches. Java drinkers will be satisfied by the rich, somewhat nutty flavour of their coffees – the result of an unique blend engineered by Patachou's owners and a local roaster.
Meat lovers flock to the Olliffe butcher shop (1097 Yonge Street) for its knowledgeable staff, and fresh, exotic and expensive meats, which can include roast wagyu beef, wild boar bacon and porcelait piglets.
Quality clothing and home goods are to be found at Roots Rosedale (1073 Yonge Street). Located just a block north from where the original Roots store opened in 1973, Roots Rosedale sells not only the company’s trademark environmentally-friendly Roots Organic and Roots Yoga apparel but the new Roots Home furnishings line, which includes furniture upholstered with vegetable-tanned leather, tables built from reclaimed wood, and organic cotton sheets and towels.
Arrange to have your flower needs met at Blossoms Rosedale (1 Rowanwood Avenue at Yonge). Natural, classic arrangements are favoured over overly ornate styles, whether you need a bridal bouquet or fake boxwood trees for your condo balcony.