Corktown is one of the more affordable downtown Toronto neighbourhoods. It has recently become popular with young professionals, who find this location extremely convenient to Toronto’s downtown business and entertainment districts.
New and more relaxed zoning bylaws in the Corktown district have resulted in the speedy conversion of many of Corktown’s commercial buildings into live-in work studios, condominium lofts and professional offices, all of which has helped to revitalize the entire neighbourhood.
Corktown was originally settled by working class immigrants in the early 1800’s. Many of these families came from the County of Cork in Ireland, which explains how this neighbourhood became known as Corktown.
Most Corktown residents found employment at one of the local breweries or brickyards. These families were very poor and could not afford the lofty pew rents at nearby St. James Cathedral. This led to the building of their own “Little Trinity Church” in 1843. Little Trinity Church is still standing today at 417 King Street East.
The Trinity Schoolhouse on Trinity Street, just south of Little Trinity Church was built in 1848. This was Toronto’s first ‘free school’. Its benefactor was Enoch Turner, a prominent Corktown brewer, and one of Toronto’s great philanthropists.
A century and a half later children and adults are still being educated in the Trinity Schoolhouse, which is now run as a museum designed to replicate a mid-nineteenth century classroom.
Corktown contains some of the oldest Victorian row-houses in Toronto. Some of these houses date back to the 1850’s and 1860’s. These former workers’ cottages can be found on the quaint narrow laneways that are discreetly tucked away off Corktown’s main streets.
Corktown has also recently experienced a number of retrofit projects on its commercial and industrial buildings. Many of these buildings are currently being recycled as live/work studio lofts that incorporate all of today’s modern conveniences.
At present, there is only a limited amount of shopping within the immediate Corktown neighbourhood, with most of it centred around the intersection of Queen and Parliament streets.
However, Corktown residents do enjoy the luxury of being located within walking distance of the St. Lawrence Market, Toronto’s premiere food market.
The Sackville playground located along King Street East, has a tot park, a basketball court, and a wading pool. The St. Lawrence Community Centre on the Esplanade, includes squash courts, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a piano room, a weight room, and a games room.
The John Innes Community Recreation Centre on Sherbourne Street, has an indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, a running track, a weight room, a cardio training room, a games room, a woodworking shop and a craft room. Next door to the community centre is the Moss Park indoor hockey arena.