A few years ago, we bought a house in a great Toronto area that I refer to as “Cabbagetown North.” But some call it Rosedale. There, I said it! It took me a long time to say “Rosedale” because it comes with a lot of preconceived baggage, when in reality, it’s just a place where some people have bigger mortgages and a lot of house to maintain. Today, it’s one of the oldest and most historical suburbs of the city and home to some of the wealthiest citizens of the country.
The rough boundaries of the Rosedale neighbourhood are the CPR railway tracks to the north (just below St. Clair Avenue), Bloor Street to the south, Yonge Street to the west, and Bayview Avenue to the east. It’s a central neighbourhood that includes one of the largest crossroads of the city, Yonge and Bloor, and has Mt. Pleasant road running right through it. The great thing about Rosedale is its proximity to everything in the City — halfway to the Danforth or Yorkville, halfway to the Financial District or Yonge and Eglinton, and like all downtown, starting to fill with new voices, young families, and caring neighbours.
- Rosedale had Ontario’s fourth Government House, called Chorley Park, built for the Lieutenant Governor in 1915, and demolished some 40 years later by Toronto to save money. Now it’s a park!
- Kenneth Thomson made Rosedale his home. He was the richest man in Canada and the ninth richest in the world when he died in 2006
- Rosedale was where the Canadian Football League’s first Grey Cup game was played, on former lacrosse grounds.
The Bad News
The houses are bigger (so too are the prices), so maintenance and repairs can be daunting. Nothing is a small expense. And if you want any free time, a gardener and a friendly carpenter are a must. The big old trees can cause havoc with your drains, and emergency plumbers should be on your speed dial.
The Good News
Those same big old trees are incredible umbrellas on the curving streets, and you’re close to the crossroads of Toronto, Bloor and Yonge. We walk to Cabbagetown and the Danforth, are close to the subway lines, and have access to the DVP.
The Summerhill Market at the top of Glen Road is a great shopping experience. You can find almost anything — and never have to cook again, as long as you can afford the bill.
I can remember that on our Rosedale street, we watched out for each other, there were lots of children and dogs, and we got together each year at our neighbours’ for Halloween. In Rosedale, they have their own mayor, and he’s in charge of keeping an eye out and updating all of us on each others’ health concerns — and, of course, garbage pick-up. He monitors a couple of shut-ins on the street and any time there are leftovers, they have a way of working their way down the street. In other words, Rosedale is a community.
Here are some of my thoughts about the Rosedale Community. Whether you live here or visit, it’s a great upscale community, centred in the Heart of Toronto and close to all amenities. It has been revitalized over the past few years with lots of renovations, but like all communities, it centres around some great shopping and restaurants. So the next time you hear the media or your friends making assumptions about Rosedale, remember, it’s a community of people whose real “privilege” is to live in the centre of Toronto.
This affluent neighbourhood was once the estate of William Botsford Jarvis, a member of the Family Compact, a group of men who had most of the political and economic power in Upper Canada between 1810 and 1840. His wife named the area “Rosedale” after the wild roses that grew plentifully in the area. In 1864, the Jarvis family sold the estate and allowed residential development to begin soon after. Most of the neighbourhood’s construction was done in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Homes, Architecture, and Real Estate
North and South Rosedale both are part of the city’s heritage conservation districts due to the historical homes and defining characteristics of the area. In the years around 1912, there was a boom of building in South Rosedale of brick homes in the Arts and Crafts style. Homes built in the 1920s have classical architecture surrounded by the beauty of the area’s greenery and ravines. There are also key examples of modern period architecture in North Rosedale by architects like Ron Thom and Barton Myers. As we’ve seen, all the homes here are on the expensive side, so don’t expect to get into one of the larger centrally located homes in this area without millions under your belt.
Who Is your Neighbour?
Due to the cost of owning a home in Rosedale, your neighbours here are most likely affluent business owners who want to take advantage of the central location. Step a few blocks outside of the Rosedale area and you’ll find many different types of people, with the Annex (an upper–middle class area mixed with University of Toronto students) to the west, Yorkville (chic and designer shops), and the downtown core a few minutes away. These residential areas do have family-oriented people, with a lot of green space and recreation in the area, but they welcome those who have a family but also need to be central for work.
Parks and Green Spaces
This neighbourhood, named after the beautiful roses that grew in the area, has a lot of manicured green areas and parks, including:
- Chorley Park, which was at one time the official Government House and home of the Lieutenant General
- Park Drive Reservation Lands
- Beaumont Park
- Craigleigh Gardens, a beautiful and large park that gives you access to the ravines and makes for a great afternoon exploration area
Recreation and Culture
The Evergreen Brick Works is the largest recreation and community centre in the area. It’s a public space that hosts special events, art shows, classes, children’s activities, and a farmer’s market. It holds events specifically for seniors, with a skating rink, DIY workshops with clay or for the holidays, and flea markets. It’s one of the best recreation centres in the city of Toronto and it’s steps from the Rosedale neighbourhood at 550 Bayview Avenue.
The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge Street, one block north of Bloor Street, is one of the three largest libraries in the city.
You can also find a Toronto Public Library branch in Yorkville (22 Yorkville Avenue).
Schools, Colleges, and Universities
- Gradale Academy Early Learning School (159 Roxborough Drive, 416-923-9009)
- Metropolitan School of the Arts (159 Roxborough Drive, 416-423-2866)
- Mooredale Pre-School (146 Crescent Road, 416-922-3952)
- Rosedale Heights School of the Arts (711 Bloor Street E, 416-393-1580)
- TriOS College Business Technology Healthcare (425 Bloor Street E, 416-922-4250)
- Al Green Sculpture Studio School (75 Huntley Street, 416-963-9909)
- Rosedale Junior Public School (711 Bloor Street E, 416-393-1580)
Arts and Entertainment
- Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
- Mayberry Fine Art (110 Yorkville Avenue)
- Varsity Cinemas (55 Bloor Street)
- Cumberland Four Alliance Cinemas (159 Cumberland Street)
Although Rosedale is mostly residential, it has easy access to two big shopping streets, Yonge Street and Bloor Street. From upscale stores like Tiffany’s to a few grandfathered store fronts still standing on Yonge Street, this area has everything you could possibly need for shopping. It’s also an easy stroll to Yorkville, with its trendy and chic stores or restaurants, and a quick subway ride down to the large shopping plaza, the Eaton Centre.
- The Rosedale Diner (1164 Yonge Street, 416-923-3122)
- Mykonos Mediterrania Grill (881 Yonge Street, 416-963-8444)
- Earth Rosedale (1055 Yonge Street, 416-551-9890)
- The Rebel House (1068 Yonge Street, 416-927-0704)
- Terroni Restaurant (1095 Yonge Street, 416 925-4020)
- John and Sons Oyster House (1 Balmoral Avenue #7, 416-515-0551)
- Patachou Patisserie (1120 Yonge Street, 416-927-1105)
Rosedale is an in-demand area because of its proximity to everything great the city has to offer, and its easy accessibility. The TTC has several stations within the Rosedale boundaries, including Rosedale Station and Summerhill Station on Yonge Street and Sherbourne Station, Castle Frank Station and Yonge-Bloor on the Bloor Street Subway line. All of these TTC stations have accessibility seven days a week by foot or by busses that run downtown or east and west.
Travelling by car is always an option, with Yonge Street being a central route for the city, but it can be congested during construction months or rush hour. The Don Valley Parkway is about 10 to 15 minutes east of Yonge Street.
Medical Centres & Doctors
- Women’s College Hospital (76 Grenville Street, 416-323-6400)
- Toronto General Hospital (200 Elizabeth Street, 416-340-4800)
- Mount Sinai Hospital (600 University Avenue, 416-596-4200)
- St. Michael’s Hospital (30 Bond Street, 416-360-4000)
- Princess Margaret Hospital (610 University Avenue, 416-946-4501)
- Summerhill Gardens Dental (1246 Yonge Street #201, 416-483-9600)
- Dawson Dental Care — Rosedale (120 Bloor Street E, 416-353-8444)
Toronto Police Station 13 Division (1435 Eglinton Avenue W, 416-808-1300)
Toronto Fire Station 311 (20 Balmoral Avenue)