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by Amy West – New Dreamhomes & Condominiums Magazine
The suburbs meet the city in North York, making it an attractive choice for new homebuyers. Thanks to a new subway extension along Sheppard Avenue, high-rise condos such as Empireâ€™s C-Condos and Tridelâ€™s Pulse are cropping up along the central North York corridor that runs from Finch to Sheppard, while single-family dwellings still dominate east and west of Yonge Street.
Originally North York was known as an agricultural hub made up of scattered villages. It was formed out of the rural section of the township of York. As North York became more urbanized, it was named a borough and later a city. The area boomed following World War II, and by the 1950s and 1960s it resembled other sprawling North American suburbs. To commemorate receiving its city charter on Valentineâ€™s Day, its corporate slogan was â€œThe City With Heart,â€ and it now forms the largest part of the area served by the North York community councilâ€”a committee of Toronto city council.
With a population of around 650,000, the North York of today forms the central part of the northern half of Toronto. Until 1998, it was one of six municipalities that comprised the larger municipal structure of Metropolitan Toronto. That year, the provincial government passed legislation merging these municipalities into a new amalgamated city.
Residents have easy access to a variety of cultural and entertainment venues. Directly beside the old city hall is the Toronto Centre for the Arts, previously known as the Ford Centre for Performing Arts, which opened in 1993. It houses three theatres and features musicals, theatre productions, and other performing arts.
Directly south of city hall in the same complex is the former North York Board of Education building, now home to the Toronto District School Board. To the north in the complex is a mall with subway access. The mall is connected to the North York Central library, the largest full-service library in Toronto. It is a part of a much larger facility that includes a school board work station, swimming pool, snack bar, veterans centre, and hotelâ€”the rooms of which look down on the interior of the mall.
Black Creek Pioneer Village, an authentic 19th-century township, and the Ontario Science Centre, which boasts over 800 exhibits, are North Yorkâ€™s primary attractions. A military base and aircraft manufacturing facility are located at Downsview, although much of the land is now being transformed into a park.
Two of Ontarioâ€™s largest shopping malls, Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Fairview Mall, are in North York along with the smaller Don Mills Centre and Sheppard Plaza. The city is also home to York University and Osgoode Hall Law School, as well as major health-care facilities such as North York General Hospital, Humber River Regional Hospital, and the massive Sunnybrook Hospital complex, which includes a veterans residence and regional trauma centre.
A multitude of sports clubs dot the area, including the North York Storm (a girlsâ€™ hockey league), Gwendolen Tennis Club, and the North York Aquatic Club, which was founded in 1958 as the North York Lions Swim Club and has produced many Olympian swimmers.
The growing popularity of this area can be witnessed by the fact that the section of Highway 401 that traverses it is the busiest section of freeway in North America, exceeding 400,000 vehicles per day and widening to 21 lanes at its intersection with Highway 404.
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