Names and distinctions between neighbourhoods have become increasingly blurred over the past couple of centuries, and they are certain to keep shifting as Toronto grows. However, the Canadian National Railway corridor makes up The Junction’s eastern limit, which is actually relatively static. Runnymede comprises the western boundary of the neighbourhood, with St. Lavender Creek Trail and Annette Street making up the north and south borders, respectively.
Besides its unique chronicle — or perhaps because of it — the Junction now possesses a cohesive and confident sense of identity that other areas manage to function without. The area even has a history of unofficial “mayors” providing the lay of the land, some more welcomed than others.
Self proclaimed Junction “mayor” Felice Scala and his son Ralph once held sway, although their aggressive manner of resisting gentrification is what eventually ousted the pair. Their endeavours in slashing tires and smashing windows allowed the police to assist in dethroning the Scala family and placing them, quite rightfully, behind bars.
These arrests and the lifting of an outdated alcohol ban solidified the rapid pace of change happening in the Junction in the early 2000’s. The Junction was in fact the last neighbourhood in Toronto to remain affected by early 20th century prohibition, with the regulation’s 1997 unraveling provoking further transformation of the neighbourhood.
The current “mayor” has been more democratically selected by locals: bassist Dave McManus of Junction City All-Stars. Along with the birth of new businesses (a few of which naturally rely on this newfound ability to serve alcohol), McManus has aided in cultivating the music scene now crucial to the area’s identity.
Live music venues have popped up to suit the needs of the culture enthusiasts and creatives moving in. Bands make great use of The Junction City Music Hall and Hole in the Wall, while 3030 Dundas also hosts musical acts as well as movie and trivia nights. Eventually, more businesses catering to creative residents opened as well: Above Ground is one go-to place for art supplies, while nearby ARTiculations functions as a multi-purpose space that includes a gallery and studio with workshops, on top of the wares available for purchase.
This West end Toronto neighbourhood has changed dramatically since its days as an indigenous trading route, later making way for railways along the same route during the area’s industrialization. Today the Junction is home to residents proud to live amongst preserved streetscapes, innovative businesses, and close-knit neighbours, and because many of these new residents have eyed The Junction condos as their preferred homes, the condo scene has grown significantly.
No longer polluted by fumes from factories in the Stockyards and the now defunct railway, professionals, young couples, and families have been gravitating toward Toronto condos for sale in the Junction in recent years. Moving forward, trendy design shops, vegan eateries, sartorial boutiques, and the likes have taken over retail spaces no longer affordable for many owners of older businesses — the costs of both retail and residential spaces have doubled from late 2000’s to early 2010’s.
Conceivably, families comprise the majority of The Junction condos residents, followed by singles living alone. The area is brimming with apartment buildings and Victorian style semi-detached homes, as well as some single-family detached houses and a few carefully converted historical structures.
The Union Lofts, converted from Perth Avenue Methodist Church (technically within the Junction Triangle area) initially raised eyebrows with its controversial slogan “praise the lofts,” while at once being swooped up by intuitive buyers. It’s no wonder these eco-friendly hard lofts contained by a 100-year-old Neo-Gothic frame immediately became a popular choice for modern Junction families. Nearby, the Wallace Station Lofts are yet another highly sought after early conversion — this time of a 20th century glue factory, a nod to the area’s industrial past.
Thanks to the abundance of strip malls and conveniently located shops — both locally owned and corporate — residents of this neighbourhood can accomplish their errands on foot.
St. Clair streetcars are a popular choice for getting in and out of the neighbourhood, and thoughtfully laid out bus routes on major arterials like Keele, allow for quick connections to subway stations to the south.
The Junction condos are also quite suitable for car owners, as drivers can take Keele south to Parkside for the Gardiner Expressway on-ramp.
The Locals: Diehard community advocates and young families learning to follow in their footsteps.
Code of Conduct: Drinking doesn’t have to be contained to speakeasies — anymore.
What You’ll Find: Spend an afternoon in the junction and you’ll see how all that pride is perfectly justified.
What You Won’t Find: Lost folks looking for directions to the Gap.
The Homes: Apartment buildings with historical exteriors, including a number of dramatic hard loft conversions.
Sealing the Deal: With such a recent rejuvenation, updates will continue to fine-tune the area in years to come.