Toronto Real Estate Neighbourhoods
Toronto is often called “the city of neighbourhoods” because of the strength and vitality of its many communities. The city has upwards of 240 distinct neighbourhoods within its boundaries. Before 1998, Toronto was a much smaller municipality and formed part of Metropolitan Toronto. When the city amalgamated that year, Toronto grew to encompass the former municipalities of York, East York, North York, Etobicoke, and Scarborough. Each of these former municipalities still maintains, to a certain degree, its own distinct identity, and the names of these municipalities are still used by their residents. The area known as Toronto before the amalgamation is sometimes called the “old” City of Toronto, “Toronto proper”, the Central District or simply “Downtown”.
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- East Toronto Real Estate
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- North Toronto Real Estate
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The “former” City of Toronto is, by far, the most populous and dense part of the city. It is also the business and administrative centre of the city. The uniquely Torontonian bay-and-gable housing style is common throughout the former city.
The Old Toronto refers to the City of Toronto and its boundaries from 1967 to 1997. It is sometimes referred to as the “South” or “Central” district, and includes the “downtown core”. Some of these names such as “The Fashion District” are (or were) used as marketing for the areas or by BIAs; this area is actually called “King-Spadina” by locals. Another example is the “Old Town of York”, known also as “King and Parliament”.
The “inner ring” suburbs of York and East York are older, predominantly middle-income areas, and ethnically diverse. Much of the housing stock in these areas consists of old pre-war single-family houses and post-war high-rises. Many of the neighbourhoods in these areas were built up as streetcar suburbs and contain many dense and mixed-use streets. Mostly they share many characteristics with sections of the “old” city, outside of the downtown core.
East Toronto, Ontario (Incorporated 1888, annexed by Toronto in 1908) was an incorporated community in what is today a part of the city of Toronto, Canada. It covered much of what is today the Upper Beaches neighbourhood, stretching up to Danforth Avenue in the north. The central street in the community was Main Street, running south from Danforth to Kingston Road. The main commercial centre of the town was located at the intersection of Main and Lake View (now Main and Gerrard). As Toronto’s true main street was named Yonge, the name Main Street was maintained even after amalgamation with the city of Toronto. This explains why Toronto’s “Main Street” is far from the city centre.
East York, located north of Danforth Avenue between the Don River and Victoria Park Avenue, developed contemporaneously with the West End of the old City of Toronto, and is similar in form and character. It is currently administered as part of old Toronto. However, until 1997, it was an autonomous urban borough.
The “outer ring” suburbs of Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York are much more suburban in nature (although these boroughs are developing urban centres of their own, such as North York Centre around Mel Lastman Square).
For administrative purposes, the City of Toronto divides the city into 140 neighbourhoods. These divisions are used for internal planning purposes. The boundaries and names often do not conform to the usage of the general population or designated business improvement areas. A number of neighbourhood maps of Toronto do exist, some produced by real estate firms and some by internet portals. A project to map the neighbourhoods according to the common usage of the residents was done by the Toronto Star newspaper. Based on feedback from Star readers, it has produced the most comprehensive, albeit informal, Toronto neighbourhood map.
After the update of Toronto Multiple listing service (MLS) on July 5, 2011, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) introduced a new searching mechanism for the Toronto MLS, used by real estate agents operating in the region. MLS searches can now be refined at three levels and MLS users can search houses by area, then by municipality, and then by neighbourhood or community. It uses Bing Maps. This was the first change of this magnitude in about 50 years of Toronto MLS history. Even if many are upset by the name of the area they live in!
The change was designed to eliminate the obsolete coding systems whereby Greater Toronto was divided into 86 artificial districts denominated by alphanumeric codes. Due to the growing population in the city and the increasing difficulty of browsing the code-based system, TREB made this radical change which is intended to simplify the use of MLS for real estate agents as well as home buyers.
Because Toronto is an enormous municipality of its own, the core city area will continue to be split into coded districts, although each of the districts will in turn contain neighbourhoods. Hence, the City will be easily searchable as well.
Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto Realtor with Century 21 Regal Realty. He did not
write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who are
interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.