Yorkville is one of Toronto’s most dynamic neighbourhoods. It is an eclectic mix of luxury condominium apartment buildings, commercial office towers, four star hotels, theatres, gourmet restaurants, a prestigious shopping district and picture postcard Victorian homes.
The commercial heart of Yorkville is located on both Yorkville Avenue and on Cumberland Street. The transition to Yorkville’s quiet residential pocket is gradual, as Victorian houses shift from retail to residential uses in a seamless pattern that is uniquely Yorkville.
Yorkville was subdivided in the 1830’s, by a prominent brewer named Joseph Bloor, and by Sheriff William Botsford Jarvis who also founded the Rosedale neighbourhood.
Yorkville was named after the Town of York, the forerunner to the City of Toronto. Yorkville was incorporated as a Village in 1853. The initials and trades of Yorkville’s first council members are displayed on the Village coat of arms which is now on the tower of the historic Yorkville Fire Hall, located at 34 Yorkville Avenue.
In 1883, Yorkville had the distinction of being the first village annexed by the City of Toronto. Despite being part of a big city, Yorkville has always maintained its own identity. It had gained notoriety first as a hippie haven in the 1960’s, and then became known as a shopping mecca in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Yorkville’s gentrified Victorian houses were built mainly between 1870 and 1895. These historical homes exhibit many decorative features including ornamental brick patterns, gingerbread gables, cast iron fences, and richly landscaped gardens. Many of Yorkville’s houses are listed on the Toronto Historical Board’s Inventory of Heritage Properties.
Yorkville is Toronto’s most cosmopolitan neighbourhood. It has wide appeal with domestic homebuyers from within the Greater Toronto Area, as well as across Canada and internationally. Yorkville enjoys the cache of a being situated in prime midtown, and the convenience of also being within easy reach of the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto.
Bloor-Yorkville is generally acclaimed as Canada’s pre-eminent shopping district. Its many specialty stores, fashion boutiques, jewellery stores, antique shops, and art galleries are a destination point for tourists, as well as Torontonians from all over the city.
Yorkville’s shops and restaurants are located in pretty Victorian houses on Yorkville Avenue, Hazelton Avenue, Cumberland Street and Scollard Street. The Hazelton Lanes shopping centre located at 55 Avenue Road features over 100 exclusive shops and restaurants.
The Village of Yorkville Park located at 115 Cumberland Street has won numerous design awards for its thematic landscape based on elements of Yorkville history as well as the Canadian landscape. The rock in the centre of the park is from the Canadian Shield. It weighs 650 tonnes, and is 1 billion years old.
Ramsden Park is located at the north end of Yorkville, off Yonge Street. This large city park includes four tennis courts, an artificial ice rink, a children’s playground, and a wading pool.
The Yorkville Public Library, at 22 Yorkville Avenue, is an intimate library geared towards the local community. It includes programs for both children and adults. The Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge Street is Canada’s largest and most extensive reference library.
The George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the McLaughlin Planetarium are all within walking distance of this neighbourhood. The Manulife Centre situated at the south-east corner of Bay and Bloor features 12 state-of-the-art movie theatres.