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Nestled quietly in south west Toronto rests the former municipality of Swansea. Almost a secret community, neighboring Bloor West Village and abutting High Park, Swansea remains unknown to most of Toronto.
Swansea is a compact and unique Toronto neighbourhood bounded by Lake Ontario to the south, the Humber River to the west and Grenadier Pond on the east. The area itself features distinctive rolling hills, many mature trees and scenic winding roads.
Named for prominent settler James Worthington who was said to come from Swansea, Wales, the lovely west Toronto neighbourhood of Swansea Village joined Forest Hill Village in 1967 as one of the last two independent villages to be annexed by the City of Toronto.
Its corporate seal still remains as a tribute to the neighbourhood’s colourful history: The hills in the seal represent Swansea’s rolling countryside, the water refers to Swansea’s natural boundaries, which include Lake Ontario, the Humber River and Grenadier Pond. Also included on the Swansea seal is explorer Etienne Brule, who in 1615 became the first European to set foot on what is now Swansea, and a First Nations member, in recognition of the fact that First Nations members were the first people to inhabit Swansea.
Swansea’s hilly terrain, winding roads and many mature trees accentuate the storybook houses that line the residential streets of this neighbourhood. Its high end homes are located either at the western edge of High Park overlooking Grenadier Pond, or at the Brule Gardens enclave found in the north-west pocket of Swansea. The most common type of housing by far is detached, though there are also semi-detached houses and bungalows and low-rise apartment buildings located mostly in the centre of the neighbourhood.
Original Swansea homes were built between 1905 and 1935 and offer the charms and solid details of that era. Mostly consisting of smaller bungalows (some of which have been converted to a large modern 2 storey design), as well as compact semi-detached and 3 bdrm detached homes. There are even modern townhomes located on Budgell Terrace and several newly built towns at Windermere and Queensway. Swansea’s original larger homes are located at the western edge of High Park (adjacent or with views of Grenadier Pond), and as well along Riverside Drive and Brule Gardens (some with views of the Humber river)to the west.
This primarily residential area consists of a complimentary, eclectic mix of home types. High end homes are generally located within the Brule Gardens and Riverside Drive enclaves bordering the Humber River and along the western edge of High Park overlooking Grenadier Pond.
The greatest percentage of homes within Swansea are mature, single family dwellings typically built before 1940 and reflecting pride of community. The age of the homes dates back to the 20′s and 30′s, remaining smaller homes boast period details unique to the period namely leaded glass windows, extensive woodwork and hand-crafted plaster crown moulding. Most homes fall under the category of detached or semi-detached homes that have either mutual or private drives in addition to street parking. In recent years, some residents have done an impressive job of expanding their homes vertically. No, these are not McMansions, they are at least in-keeping with the general architecture of the neighbourhood.
In the last 5–7 years, the southern portion of Swansea – namely at the base of Windermere at the Queensway – has undergone a major turn-around. The former brownfield was home to the Stelco site. It was decomissioned and later developed into a series of townhomes and condos that flank either side of Windermere. I must say that upon first glance many moons ago I did not think that much would come of this unglamorous spot. Boy, was I wrong. These places show quite well. These places are now known as Windermere by the Lake at 93 The Queensway and 15 Windermere Avenue as well as the larger townhomes on the opposite side of Winderemere that have the Next condo in it’s backyard.
The southern border of the area offers a selection of mostly high rise condominiums- built between 1973 and present day. The older condominiums developed in 1973 (45, 60, 65 Southport St & 35 Ormskirk Ave) are a great value for space and location! Some offer bi-level suites, that give you the feeling of living in a townhome. South Kingsway Village and SouthHampton (both built by Tridel in 1988 and 1994 respectively) offer a variety of spacious suites & wonderful amenities. As a result of this diverse selection, you will be sure to find the right style of suite and building lifestyle whether you are a senior, newly retired, single or family oriented.
Swansea Village is the only Toronto neighbourhood that has its own community run Town Hall at 95 Lavinia Avenue, a vibrant meeting place home to such events as antique shows, craft sales, meetings of various local societies and a wide variety of classes and lessons for all ages. The Swansea Town Hall and Community Centre also includes a small gymnasium, and is the home of the Swansea Memorial Public Library, the smallest branch of the Toronto Public Library system. This branch specializes in material for children and seniors and provides complete inter-library loan services.
The area is in walking distance of Bloor West Village and it’s shops as well as two subway stations, Jane and Runnymede. Being on the subway line still holds it’s value. A bus route along Windermere as well as Morningside Avenue make their way to the above subway stations on the Bloor-Danforth line. If you’re a driver, you’re in luck as Swansea lies at an ideal equidistant point to all that is important, be it the Gardner expressway eastbound or westbound via the Queensway and Parklawn. This is all accessible going southbound either on Windermere Avenue or the South Kingsway.
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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