Once a city of its own, East York was officially combined with Toronto in 1998, along with North York, York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and Old Toronto. Today, the area known as East York still feels quite dissimilar to areas like downtown Toronto and the east and west ends: the area is markedly less dense, with wider roads, and homes situated on larger plots of land — a moderate amount now being condos.
East York has historically been home to prominent Greek and South Asian communities, as well as a huge number of residents with British roots. Yet the demographics of Toronto are constantly changing, and a significant Chinese community has developed in the area in recent years.
East York mainly falls East of the Don River and north of the Danforth, and also includes a small section just northwest of the river. Traversing the river provides the area with an especially interesting terrain: the valley surrounding the water offers locals a ravine system to explore. Whether spending a day in the Lower Don Lands, Coxwell Ravine Park, Todmorden Mills Park, or all three, it’s easy to forget you’re still in the middle of an urban metropolis.
At the south end of Todmorden Mills Park, and the southwestern tip of East York, sits the Chester Hill Lookout. Not only is this lookout a great stop for couples out on romantic strolls, but it’s seriously instagrammable as well. And while it’s technically outside the confines of East York, the fact that residents of East York can walk to Evergreen Brick Works is too important to ignore.
Formerly a quarry, the Brick Works is now home to a community centre with a weekly farmers market, a wintertime skating rink, and a constant lineup of cultural events.
Also just beyond the border of the area are the Aga Khan Museum and the Ontario Science Centre. While these museums can be quite the journey for Torontonians living Downtown, East Yorkers won’t have to deal with traffic jams or lengthy trips on the TTC.
Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre is also located in the area, and although it primarily offers post-secondary and graduate programs in communications, design, and the arts, the school is prepared to entertain younger children as well. The Story Arts Centre runs programming for kids in the summer, where campers can make films of their own, learn about television and radio broadcasting, or even create music videos.
The neighbourhood’s population experienced a massive growth post-millennium, and the area is now filled with over 30 East York condos. Contemporary condo developments in the area include the 3-part complex known as the Scenic on Eglinton Condos, as well as the 24-storey Minto Skyy on Broadview Avenue.
Some of the largest East York condos have been around much longer, however: Crescent Town Condos was built in 1972, and contains 1,420 units; Helliwell Place, built in 1973, is home to approximately 200 units; and the Jockey Club has housed over 200 condo residents since its construction in 1991.
Prospective condo buyers in East York looking for something slightly more intimate will want to begin their search at buildings such as the 28 Cosburn Avenue Condos,The Bayview, and 928 Millwood Rd, each of which contain less than 40 units. A townhouse is always an option in East York as well, with most of these homes built in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Some notable complexes in the area include the Aerodrome Crescent Townhomes, Hyde Park Townhouses, the Leaside Mews, and Leaside Green Townhomes.
Owning a car in East York is much less stressful than driving in Downtown Toronto, though the area is still accessible by public transit. Subway stations along the Bloor-Danforth line are within close reach, such as Broadview, Greenwood, and Victoria Park. Buses also carry passengers along major arterial roads like Eglinton, Pape, and Laird.
Driving toward Downtown Toronto is as easy as a southbound trip on the Don Valley Parkway for, while condo residents in East York heading to the West End may opt to take Danforth Avenue west until it turns into Bloor Street. The Don Valley Parkway can also be used to reach the 401 in no time, from which drivers can head into the suburbs or toward Pearson International Airport.
The Locals: Diverse in ethnic origin, yet united in their appreciation of the Don Valley and lighter traffic.
Code of Conduct: Skip the produce section of the grocery store and stock up at the year-round farmers market at Evergreen Brick Works instead.
What You’ll Find: More green space and wider roads than in the downtown core.
What You Won’t Find: Bars and restaurants with lineups out the door.
The Homes: The roster of East York condos has been steadily growing since the 1970s, and shows no signs of stopping.
Sealing the Deal: The ability to zip downtown one day and take refuge in the ravine the next.