A little more suburban and slightly less dense than midtown Toronto (and even less so than downtown of course), North York is the northernmost area in the city. Located just south of Vaughan, North York was formerly a borough and then its own city, until it officially became part of Toronto in 1998.
It’s hard to believe, but as recently as the years leading up to World War II, North York was almost entirely agricultural. Only in the post-war years did the area become suburban, and since being incorporated into Toronto it has only continued to grow. Many condos in North York have now cropped up to satisfy demand for the area.
The boundaries reach as far west as the Humber River, while Victoria Park is considered North York’s eastern border. It also covers a huge amount of ground from north to south, dipping a few blocks below Lawrence, and reaching all the way up to Steeles Avenue.
As the population density in North York grew, developers took advantage of the vast green spaces by turning a number of them into amenities for active residents to use. Golfers may opt to join the Don Valley Golf Course or the Oakdale Golf and Country Club, while those who want to stay active during the winter can visit the North York Ski Centre in Earl Bales Park.
Once used as a manufacturing plant for airplanes, Downsview Park was transformed into a recreational space starting around the new millennium. Since then, large concerts and events have been held in Downsview Park, including a Canada Day festivity headlined by the Tragically Hip and a visit from the Pope in 1984. Fresh City Farms has also set up an operating urban farm in Downsview Park, where visitors can pick their own produce on Sunday mornings.
One of the most exciting 20th-century additions to North York has to be the Aga Khan Museum, home to an enormous collection of Islamic and Iranian art. The building is a cultural masterpiece in and of itself, designed by Fumihiko Maki and constructed in 2014. Just around the corner from the Museum is the Ontario Science Centre, which is far from a newcomer to North York. Established in 1969, the Brutalist building houses interactive exhibits that make nature, geology, astronomy, and physiology exciting for visitors of all ages.
When residents have had their fill of art and culture, those living in North York can head to one of the area’s enormous malls for some retail therapy. While the most celebrated is Yorkdale Mall, there’s always the option of visiting the Bayview Village Shopping Centre, the CF Shops at Don Mills, or Fairview Mall.
North York covers a massive amount of ground, and as a result the housing market in the area is extremely varied. On top of the countless single-family homes in the area, there are also over 400 North York condos.
Areas like Bayview Village and Yonge and Sheppard have a higher concentration of large, contemporary condos, while the Bridle Path & Sunnybrook Park and Hogg’s Hollow tend to be filled with single-family homes. Some of the most stylish, contemporary condos in Bayview Village include the 41-storey Opus at Pantages on Sheppard Avenue East, Viva Condo North Tower, and the 30-storey building directly above Bayview Village Mall, which has been aptly named the Bayview Village Condos.
Thanks to the recent TTC extension, North York is more accessible than ever, especially for condo residents without a car. New stations include York University, Pioneer Village and Finch West, offering easy access for university students as well as anyone living north of Sheppard.
Drivers, on the other hand, can use the 401, which conveniently cuts across North York from west to east. However, North York residents should leave themselves extra time when traveling during rush hour, as this stretch of the 401 happens to be the busiest highway in North America.
The Locals: Enormously diverse: less than half of North York’s residents were born in Canada.
Code of Conduct: Driving is perfectly acceptable, but testing out the new subway stations is also highly recommended.
What You’ll Find: Sprawling shopping malls, both indoor and outdoor.
What You Won’t Find: Tightly packed, identical condos, one placed next to the other.
The Homes: Less cramped than in the downtown core.
Sealing the Deal: The ability to always find a parking spot.