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Bloor West Village is one of Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods. Bloor West Village spans from Runnymede Road across to Jane Street, and from Bloor Street north to Annette Street. Baby Point is the finger of land that extends into the Humber River Valley.
Bloor West Village is known for its the quaint shops that line Bloor Street, with more European Style deli’s, coffee shops, it’s own theatre House, and quick subway access to downtown. It’s a beautiful community with charming turn of the century homes.
While all the activity on Bloor is certainly an attraction, homes in Bloor West Village are themselves the impetus for so many to want to live in the community. Built in the early 1900′s, most Bloor West Village homes are Edwardian or Tudor influenced, with lots of wood trim and accents throughout. Solid oak staircases and big front porches are mainstays in these houses, which are typically four-bedroom, two-storey, and detached in design.
Baby Point, just west of Jane, is a small enclave of upscale homes that many home buyers associate with Bloor West Village. The most distinctive Baby Point homes are quite regal in appearance, resembling old English manor houses. The hilly and winding roads of Baby Point jut into the Humber River Valley, providing many properties with a scenic vista of the Humber Ravine from their backyards.
Bloor West Village is a popular neighbourhood for families. It is within walking distance of High Park – Toronto’s biggest and best known park, featuring a 399 acre parkland containing picnic areas, flower gardens, animal paddocks, a restaurant, an outdoor amphitheatre, sports facilities, a trackless train, an adventure playground and a large pond.
In the 1850′s, the area now known as Bloor West Village was the property of Lieutenant Colonel William Smith Durie, the first commanding officer of the Queens Own Rifles. The street that ran through his estate is now known as Durie Street.
The present day neighbourhood began to be developed in 1909 when this district became part of the City of Toronto. Bloor West’s first residents were immigrants of Eastern European background. These are the residents who helped found the Bloor West Village Business Improvement Area, the first of its kind in Canada. This shopping district has helped make Bloor West Village one of Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods – family friendly and home to many highly-regarded public schools.
Another appealing feature of this mature tree-lined neighbourhood is the housing stock. Typical original properties in the Bloor West Village were built in 1912 –1923 within a short time range. Unlike the suburbs with their cookie cutter houses, these brick homes are still similar, often influenced with the American craftsman style. There are a number of semi-detached properties blended amongst the detached with many of them featuring the deep front porches from yesteryear. Sitting on your front veranda sipping your coffee, enjoying your neighbours and watching the kids play is just a way of life here.
Throughout the years, many of the properties have become quite renovated from top to bottom with some additions extending the actual living space. Each unique upgrade and renovation helps maintain the originality of these homes today. The majority of these properties are two storeys, but on certain streets you can find some bungalows or three storey homes. It has recently become more common to see some of the older buildings being replaced with modern custom builds, so that there is a blend of the new and old.
Being ideally located in the west part of Toronto, the Bloor West Village is also conveniently situated close to the lakefront with easy highway access which can whisk you quickly either downtown Toronto or to the airport. Being in such a great urban locale, you can also choose to alternately use the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport for additional convenience from the core of the city. Living amongst these well groomed leafy streets, fabulous shops and solid property values are only some of the reasons that keep buyers flocking to this area from across the city and local residents staying in this pocket when they move.
Private driveways are a rarity in this area and usually you’ll find mutual driveways, front pad parking or laneways. Many residents use street parking.
The Jane and Runnymede subway stations are part of the Bloor-Danforth subway line and both are within walking distance of the homes in Bloor West Village. The Annette Street bus connects passengers to the Dupont subway station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. There are additional bus routes on Jane Street and Runnymede Road. Motorists are approximately ten minutes from the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard. Both these routes provide quick access into and out of the city.
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Bickford Park is a great neighbourhood if you have been priced out of the best parts of the Annex or Seaton Village. But compared with other, more gritty locations, some big prices have already arrived.
Located just south of Bloor Street near Christie Pits, Bickford Park itself is a small green space hidden behind the Bob Abate Community Centre. The surrounding neighbourhood stretches to College at the south, Ossington to the west and Bathurst in the east.
Bickford Park’s Victorian homes were mainly built between 1880 and 1930. There is a good mix of two and three storey houses as well as semi-detached and detached homes. Bickford Park’s streetscape features pretty front gardens with mature trees. The flow of traffic in front of the houses is generally light as the streets are one way and with garages are off laneways at the rear of the properties.
On the side streets that spread out from the park, house hunters can find surprisingly good value for a neighbourhood that is so vibrant and close to downtown. You can hardly get around past all of the SUV-size strollers in the Bickford Park playground, but the off-leash dog area is one of the best around.
The area is well-connected with the subway – but with Harbord, Ossington and College along your neighbourhood borders, you’ll probably walk to your favourite haunts anyway.
Some may feel this area is compromise – it lacks the big houses of the Annex, or the breathing space of High Park. Parking is scarce and when it does exist, it’s often in a back lane. Lots are tight and on a sweltering summer night, the urban density can be oppressive. If a detached house with a driveway is your ideal, you’ll have trouble finding it here – at least for less than $1-million.
Bickford Park is named after Colonel E. Oscar Bickford, a former Toronto businessman and politician. Bickford, a wealthy landowner, owned what is now the Bickford Ravine Park. His widow Emily A. Bickford sold this property to the City of Toronto in 1908, for $44,250.
Almost ninety years after it’s inception, the Bickford Park playground still represents a field of dreams for this quiet west end neighbourhood. The Bickford Park neighbourhood revolves around the Bob Abate Centre and the Bickford Park playground. These local landmarks are the social and recreational hubs of this family-oriented community.
In 1913, the Elizabethan Recreation Centre was built at the north end of Bickford Park. This playground was named after the “Lizzies”, a collection of local sports teams that achieved nationwide fame at all levels of amateur sport, particularly in baseball and basketball. The Centre’s name was changed in 1990 to The Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre in honour of the “Lizzies” popular long-time coach.
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416−388−1960
Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.
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