Bloor West Village is not only a fantastic shopping area, but it’s also one of the most unique neighbourhoods in Toronto, providing direct subway access to Toronto’s downtown yet retaining a close-knit fabric of neighbourhood friendliness. This area borders High Park, making it a perfect living place for families to grow. You can see the communal nature of the neighbourhood in both its business association (the Bloor West Village Business Improvement Area) and resident association (the Bloor West Village Residents Association). One visit and you’ll see why Bloor West Village is “A Small Village in a Big City.”
Seen as the last stop before Etobicoke, Bloor West Village runs along a length of Bloor Street West, bordered by the Runnymede neighbourhood to the north and the Swansea neighbourhood to the south. High Park borders Bloor West Village to the east, with Jane Street providing Bloor West Village’s border to the west.
The good news: proximity to High Park, Sunnyside, the QEW, Bloor subway, bike lanes and walking trails.
Bloor West Village can thank the Bloor-Danforth subway line extension for its creation in May of 1968. Once the subway provided access to this small strip of businesses and residences, it allowed citizens direct access to Toronto’s downtown. Once local businesses found themselves in direct competition with downtown Toronto shops and services, businesspeople in the village created an association to pay for improvements to the area. Toronto and Ontario governments were lobbied for legislation to get all businesses to pay for improvements. So the Ontario Municipal Act was amended in 1970 and the Bloor West Village Business Improvement Association was created.
These improvements, including beautification of the area, saw a huge upswing in the area’s revenues, creating a hub of small privately owned businesses. This has all lent to the neighbourhood’s unique charm that’s not duplicated anywhere else in the city.
The Bloor West Village Business Improvement Association has a website (http://www.bloorwestvillagebia.com/), and you can follow it on Twitter (@BWVbia). As well, the Bloor West Village Residents Association exists to help curb condominium development in the area. It also has a website (http://www.bwvra.ca) and a Twitter presence (@SaveOurVillage).
The Good News
Nothing can top Bloor West Village for its access to small locally owned businesses. With its local butchers, hair salons, bars, and restaurants, you may find yourself not wanting to leave the area for downtown.
The Bad News
You may find items and services in the area slightly more expensive than what you would find downtown. You can argue that you’re being spared the inconvenience of travelling farther afield for what you’re looking for, but take care with your shopping. As well, you may find signs of gentrification happening, with larger business franchises taking up space from privately owned businesses.
Homes, Architecture, and Real Estate
Most of the neighbourhood homes actually reside in Runnymede to the north and Swansea to the south. Most homes are Victorian-era buildings that have been renovated into larger homes, with some converted into apartments. Most homes are detached, with a small number of semi-detached homes dotting the surrounding area.
The High Park Condominium complex can be found in the nearby High Park neighbourhood at 70 High Park Avenue, as well as the Home Condominiums at 383 Ellis Park Road, providing modern comfort with close neighbourhood access. Both are also steps away from High Park.
Who Is Your Neighbour?
In Bloor West Village, 60 per cent of residents are in the 25-to-64 age range, with 11 per cent being senior citizens. The neighbourhood is decidedly upper–middle class, with young urban professional families mixing with more established families. The boutique nature of the neighbourhood businesses gives the neighbourhood a decidedly pricier feel. That said, many stores also provide discounts for the area, such as Nicholson’s No Frills grocery store. Housing values reflect the more upper-class nature of the neighbourhood.
For a relatively small area, Bloor West Village has a high number of parks per capita.
- George Charter Parkette: A small parkette, great for children to play while adults relax.
- Neil McLellan Park: Another small, narrow park, equipped with a playground for children.
- Kennedy-Margdon Parkette: A children’s playground is also available to provide variety for play time.
- High Park: Steps away from Bloor West Village, High Park is one of the city’s largest parks, with a large number of facilities and services. CanStage puts on “Shakespeare in the Park” every summer here, with the Grenadier Cafe providing food and drinks nearby. Programs like day camps and skating for kids and families are available, as well as a host of ball diamonds, an off-leash dog area, an outdoor pool, indoor ice rinks, playgrounds, a splash pad, soccer fields, and a wading pool.
Recreation and Culture
Several festivals are put on in the area throughout the year. Most key is the Annual Ukrainian Festival in September that takes over the entire length of Bloor Street West. Enjoy Ukrainian foods, music, and crafts.
The July festival is a local fair that provides residents with entertainment in the summer months.
The annual Halloween Festival on Armadale Avenue, Beresford Avenue, and Glendonwynne Road provides family-friendly fun and frights.
You can also catch the area’s participation in the city-wide “Cavalcade of Lights” in December.
There are several places of worship in the area and nearby.
- St Pius X Church (2305 Bloor Street West, 416-767-1859)
- St. Olave’s (360 Windermere Avenue, 416-769-5686)
- Windermere United Church (356 Windermere Avenue, 416-769-5611)
- Farmer Memorial Baptist Church (293 South Kingsway, 416-762-3061)
The main library servicing the neighbourhood is the Runnymede Library (2178 Bloor Street W, 416-393-7697).
Schools, Colleges, and Universities
Because of the small size of the neighbourhood devoted to retail and services, most of the schools in the area are found a short distance away in the surrounding Runnymede and Swansea neighbourhoods.
- Humberside Montessori School (121 Kennedy Avenue, 416-762-8888)
- Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School (357 Runnymede Avenue, 416-393-9055)
- Humberside Collegiate Institute (280 Quebec Avenue, 416-393-0000)
Arts and Entertainment
Several dance studios and craft learning centres can be found throughout the neighbourhood to satisfy your artisanal needs.
The charm of the neighbourhood lies in its dozens of locally owned businesses. In particular, look for the Bloor Meat Market (2283 Bloor Street West) for a wide variety of organic and grain-fed meats. For the sporting enthusiast, Browns Sport and Cycle (2447 Bloor Street West) is a great destination for all your recreational equipment.
For such a small neighbourhood, the restaurants, pubs, and bars of Bloor West
Village are numerous. Here is a small sample.
- Shakey’s Original Bar And Grill (2255 Bloor Street W, 416-767-6162)
- Queen’s Pasta (2263 Bloor Street W, (416-766-0993 )
- Bloom Restaurant (2315 Bloor Street W, 416-767-1315)
- Dr. Generosity (2197 Bloor Street W, 416-604-0704)
- Swan & Firkin (2205 Bloor Street W, 416-767-9222)
- Sunset Grill (2200 Bloor Street W, 416-763-1444)
- Yumi Japanese (2384 Bloor Street W, 416-766-3293)
- Rawlicious (2122 Bloor Street W, 416-519-7150)
- Henry VIII Ale House (2469 Bloor Street W, 416-792-5456)
- Bryden’s (2455 Bloor Street W, 416-760-8069)
- Bloor-Jane Restaurant (2434 Bloor Street W, 416-766-5383)
Two subway stops provide transportation service to the neighbourhood, Runnymede Subway Station (267 Runnymede Road) and Jane Subway Station (2440 Bloor Street W). Both stations are on the Bloor-Danforth subway line, providing direct access to Toronto’s downtown core.
Drivers will be able to access the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard via the South Kingsway at the western boundary of the neighbourhood.
Medical Centres and Doctors
Several doctors and medical centres service the neighbourhood, with the closest hospital being St. Joseph’s Health Centre (30 The Queensway, 416-530-6000).
Other medical centres include:
- Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic (2425 Bloor Street W, 416-849-4595)
- Bloor West Dentistry (2425 Bloor Street W, 416-763-5677)
- Bloor West Village Rheumatology (2425 Bloor Street W, 416-604-0053)
Doctors of note include:
- Dr. Craig Fielding (2425 Bloor Street W, 416-766-8890)
- Dr. Joseph Simardone (2338 Bloor Street W, 416-604-8008)
- Dr. B Olearczyk (2150 Bloor Street W, 416-762-6346)
- Dr. Jain Umesh (2425 Bloor Street W, 416-767-0995)
22 Division, 3699 Bloor Street W, 416-808-2200
Toronto Fire Station 425, 83 Deforest Road