Corktown’s landmarks may have remained, but the character of the neighbourhood has changed drastically over the years. The history of the neighbourhood goes way back, with the first homes constructed in the mid-19th century. The earliest residences in Corktown were built to accommodate the brickyard and brewery workers living in the then-industrial area.
Today, only a few streets still contain these early rowhouses, such as Bright Street and Wilkins Avenue; Toronto condos for sale now outnumber them. Thankfully, many other longstanding edifices have been well preserved in Corktown. St. Paul’s Basilica, the first Roman Catholic Church in Toronto, for example, still stands at 83 Power Street, nearly 200 years after its construction. The Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is yet another Corktown landmark that has stood the test of time. Once celebrated for being the first free school in the city, the schoolhouse now functions as museum and historic site.
The history isn’t the only thing about Corktown that tempts prospective residents, though. The neighbourhood’s locale beside two major waterways also adds to the appeal. The Don River sits just east of Corktown, while Lake Ontario is nearby as well, to the south.
Thanks to its position beside the lake, residents living in Corktown condos for rent have access to waterfront attractions like Cherry Beach and Tommy Thompson Park. The former is self-explanatory, however the latter deserves a bit of an explanation. This park, which is managed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, sits on the man-made headland (basically a glorified peninsula) known as the Leslie Street Spit, and extends into the lake for 5 kilometres. Nature Canada has even gone so far as to designate Tommy Thompson Park an ‘Important Bird Area’ — and yes, that is the official title.
As if Corktown wasn’t already appealing enough, Waterfront Toronto had to come in and upgrade the neighbourhood even more in 2006. Corktown’s popularity skyrocketed following the announcement of plans for flood protection along the river as well as an abundance of new (and affordable) housing. So while residents can enjoy the historical sites throughout the neighbourhood, most do so before returning to their contemporary condos.
Corktown condos for rent come in many forms, one of which happens to be the sought-after soft loft. Developers have taken inspiration from the neighbourhood’s industrial past, and the result is buildings like The Derby Lofts at 393 King East and the Trinity Lofts at 2 Eastern Avenue and 90 Trinity Street. Soft lofts may be satisfactory for some renters, however others won’t settle for anything less than the real deal. This group will want to check to see if units are available at the Carhart Lofts, a denim factory that was converted into residences in 1999.
For those who drive, it doesn’t get much better than living minutes away from both the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway. The former can be used to head north toward the 401, while the latter is ideal for anyone who plans to ride west along the southern edge of the city.
As for residents without cars of their own, it’s also useful living so close to where King and Queen Streets East meet. Those heading out via TTC can take their pick between streetcars that run on either of these east-west arterial roads. King streetcars will land passengers at King and St. Andrew Stations, while a ride on the Queen streetcar offers the chance to transfer onto the subway at both Queen and Osgoode Station.
The Locals: They’re mostly here for the history, but a small group is more interested in the birds.
Code of Conduct: Watching the sunset from Cherry Beach is a ritual for some Corktown residents.
What You’ll Find: The oldest free school in Toronto.
What You Won’t Find: Flooding — anymore.
The Homes: Condos, lofts, and more condos.
Sealing the Deal: The ability to explore a river and a man-made peninsula, all from the centre of Canada’s largest metropolis.