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Neighbourhood Watch – Bloor Street West

The Bloor Street West neighbourhood is a long stretch that begins at Yonge Street and extends westwards to Prince Edward Drive. This major east-west street is home to many diverse communities in Toronto with rich history and heritage; represented at separate enclaves such as the Annex, Roncesvalles, Brockton Village, Koreatown and many more. Each block down Bloor Street West represents its own culture, foods and life-style. Let’s take a journey down this neighbourhood – either walking or riding the Bloor subway line with stations conveniently located at almost every block.

Shopping and Entertainment

The journey down Bloor Street West begins with luxurious designer boutiques and entertainment spots at Bloor-Yorkville. This quarter, considered one of North America’s most expensive retail locations and streets, offers the chance for elegant living at locations such as the grand Uptown Residences. Walk a few minutes westward towards the MuseumHouse and find at your footsteps the redesigned structure of the Royal Ontario Museum, where world’s natural history and culture is exhibited throughout the year. A few more blocks westbound as you pass University of Toronto’s varsity stadium and the Bata Shoe museum, you will find the Annex enclave known for its Victorian and Edwardian style homes and of course its vibrant student life.

Communities and Demographics

Grab some sushi on your way, at the New Generation Sushi, in my opinion one of Toronto’s best and most affordable Sushi bars – by far! With your belly full, continue past Bathurst Street and the B.Streets Condos and find yourself in Koreatown, with a range of Korean restaurants, shops, grocers, gift shops and bakeries. Definitely try some Korean dishes here; it’s the best you will find in the GTA.  Moving forward west on Bloor you discover yourself in a new environment – the Dufferin Grove. With both Ossington and Dufferin subway stations nearby, this enclave is rich in history with detached or semi-detached Victorian style homes built before World War II. As a new development, the 707 Lofts fits perfectly in this area, retaining the character of the neighbourhood by avoiding an out of scale condoscraper and opting for a contemporary loft style design. As you pass Dufferin you will come across the Bloordale village, described as one of Toronto’s up and coming art districts which has already grabbed much publicity with Toronto’s Nuit Blanche.
The Brockton Village also known as ‘Little Portugal’ is also located south of Bloordale and homes Toronto’s largest Portugese community. This is a working class neighbourhood, similar to many other parts of Bloor West, but with high home ownership with the average price of houses ranging around the mid 300K. Just a block westward, housing prices rise by more than a 100K as you enter into the Roncesvalles enclave – centre of Toronto’s Polish community. This area has a unique quality with thriving local businesses. At night you can grab a cocktail and listen to live Jazz music at Gate 403 near the Giraffe or at daytime visit the small local cafes, bakeries, fashion boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants.

Nature and Recreation

This neighbourhood’s journey ends a block westward of Roncesvalles at High Park where Toronto’s largest park stands with two ravines flowing through, hills, gardens and ponds. Not far from The Address , High Park is a marvellous getaway from the city urban life, giving residents a chance to enjoy the outdoors with spectacular natural scenery.  It also has a variety of recreational facilities, playgrounds and a zoo – additional perks for families planning to live in this neighbourhood. There are also many public and catholic schools across the Bloor Street West neighbourhood, and 125 daycare options to choose from. Families, professional singles, new couples and people from variety of ethnic backgrounds can find their own personal space to call home in this diverse neighbourhood of Bloor Street West.

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About the Author

Bahar Shadpour has an M.A. in Political science and is a freelance writer. As a self-proclaimed urban explorer she attempts to capture the nature of community living in various Toronto neighbourhoods and shares her experiences with different cultures, foods and arts.