North Riverdale and Blake-Jones is a neighbourhood bound by food on both ends: the Danforth is home to Toronto’s largest concentration of Greek restaurants, while East Chinatown is situated along Gerrard.
The Greek community along the Danforth formed after World War I came to a close, and has been the go-to spot for souvlaki, moussaka, and loukoumades ever since. Athens Bakery has been serving up pastries since 1978, and they even sell ready-to-bake Greek pies for those who don’t plan on eating them until after they get home.
In addition to all the food — Greek and otherwise — the Danforth is also home to a popular entertainment venue: Danforth Music Hall. The 1919-built cinema started hosting concerts as of the 1970s, and an even more recent renovation has ensured that enviable acts and their guests continue to visit the venue for years to come.
And now back to the food. East Chinatown is spread along the southern border of North Riverdale and Blake-Jones, and although it may be smaller than Toronto’s other Chinatown, it’s certainly not lacking in options. Thanks to recent interest in the neighbourhood from prospective residents and business owners, a visit to East Chinatown might involve a low-key banh mi stop at Rose’s Vietnamese Sandwiches, or a wine and cheese tasting at Good Cheese.
The area between the Danforth and Gerrard, however, is mainly residential. Charming streets filled with mature trees are sprinkled sparingly with modestly sized local businesses. Between the quiet streets and seven elementary schools (three in Blake-Jones alone and four in North Riverdale), the neighbourhood’s parks also contribute to its family-friendly atmosphere.
Withrow Park and Kempton Howard Park are certainly pleasant, but nothing beats Riverdale Park East — especially when it comes to the view it offers of the skyline to the west. The hill that’s perfect for romantic sunset viewing sessions in the summertime is also a Toronto favourite for tobogganing once the snow starts to fall. Riverdale Park East also boasts an outdoor swimming pool, two baseball diamonds, seven tennis courts, a running track, and a skating rink.
A ‘micro-neighbourhood’ also exists within Blake-Jones, which has been adoringly named “The Pocket.” Found between Jones, Greenwood, Danforth, and Boultbee, the Pocket comprises its own tiny community, where homes are highly sought after and pricier than those in the surrounding neighbourhood. The appeal of the Pocket isn’t undeserved either: locals have volunteered to clean up parks and add new infrastructure to them, organize community events, and tend to a community garden and orchard.
Regardless of where one lives within the neighbourhood, Toronto condos for sale here make for an idyllic place to raise a family — the neighbourhood is filled with green space and tree-lined streets, yet still close enough to downtown for those who plan to commute. And for those who can’t afford single-family homes in the area, North Riverdale and Blake-Jones condos are much more affordable.
The single-family homes in North Riverdale are newer than those in South Riverdale, whereas those in Blake-Jones were typically constructed between the 1870s and the 1930s, and are predominantly semi-detached. Soaring skyscrapers are nowhere to be found in the neighbourhood, rather, prospective buyers can expect to find boutique North Riverdale condos like the Logan Mews Townhouses or the Strathcona Mews.
Blake-Jones condos can also be found in two hard lofts – both converted by Bob Mitchell: the Riverdale Presbyterian Church was transformed into the Glebe Lofts in 2005, and the former Bell Telephone headquarters became the Printers Row Lofts in 2001. A new construction at 794 Gerrard has even been named to complement the nature of these long standing buildings: they’re known as the The Lofthouse Condominium.
Part of what makes North Riverdale and Blake-Jones condos so desirable is the neighbourhood’s connectedness to the rest of the city. Residents without cars can make use of public transit options like the streetcars that travel along Broadview and Gerrard and the bus routes on Pape, Jones, and Greenwood. The Bloor-Danforth subway line is also within reach, with residents living within walking distance of Pape, Donlands, Greenwood stations.
Drivers, on the other hand, can use the Danforth to reach an on-ramp for the Don Valley Parkway in no time. From there, a trip down to the waterfront or a connection onto the Gardiner Expressway is also just a short ride away.
The Locals: Families who want the perfect balance between commerce and calmness.
Code of Conduct: Residents don’t need to feel guilty about ordering in often — their neighbours probably have at least one Greek restaurant on speed dial.
What You’ll Find: One of the best sunset spots in the city, hands down.
What You Won’t Find: People moving at a hurried pace.
The Homes: Multi-residential buildings on a smaller scale, whether boutique North Riverdale condos, hard lofts, or townhouse complexes.
Sealing the Deal: The ability to eat authentic Chinese one night and Greek the next.