North Toronto occupies a geographically central location within the current boundaries of the city of Toronto. It is a relatively narrow strip, centred around Yonge Street; it extends from the CP tracks south of St. Clair Avenue north to Yonge Boulevard, with its core area between Davisville Avenue and Blythwood Road. The Town of North Toronto was incorporated in 1890, when much of the area was still farmland, and annexed by the old City of Toronto in 1912.
Toronto's Yonge Street streetcar line was then extended through North Toronto, replacing the former radial railway service. North Toronto soon emerged as a popular streetcar suburb, with the area becoming completely developed by the 1940s. The streetcar was replaced in 1954 by the Toronto Transit Commission's Yonge subway as far as Eglinton Avenue and a trolleybus running north from there, which was replaced in turn by a subway extension in 1973. Today North Toronto is a relatively affluent community, and very popular with young families.
The neighbourhood has had a mixed-density design for some time, but this is rapidly changing to a greater density with the construction of residential condominium buildings in the area.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery serves as a major green space for the southern end of the neighbourhood. South of the cemetery are trails in two ravines of the former Mud Creek and Yellow Creek, which lead to the Don River. On the north side of the cemetery is the Kay Gardner Beltline Park, a heavily-used pedestrian and cycling path on the route of a former railway line. The Belt Line Railway was a short-lived commuter route in the 1890s. It was subsequently purchased by Canadian National Railway and used for freight until service was discontinued in the 1960s. The path goes northwest to Eglinton Avenue, then curves west, and ends at the William R. Allen Road, known locally as the Allen Expressway. Other green spaces includes Eglinton Park just west of Yonge Street and Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens at Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue, which connects to Sherwood Ravine Park and Sunnybrook Park to the east.
North Toronto is served by north-south commercial strips on Yonge Street, Mount Pleasant Road, and Bayview Avenue, and an east-west strip on Eglinton Avenue. These offer an array of shopping and dining aimed primarily at the local market, and as with many main streets in Toronto neighbourhoods, are largely given to small, locally-owned shops in free-standing buildings. The corner of Yonge and Eglinton features the Yonge Eglinton Centre complex, which includes a shopping mall, multiplex cinema, and both office and residential towers; and Canada Square, an office complex with a small shopping concourse and another, older multiplex. Both are connected to Eglinton subway station.
Libraries can be found on Bayview Avenue, at Yonge and Lawrence, and near Yonge and Eglinton, along with a children's-focused library on Mount Pleasant. There are two community centres in North Toronto; Central Eglinton Community Centre, at Eglinton and Redpath, offers a wide variety of programs and services for caregivers & young children, adults. and people 50+. North Toronto Memorial Community Centre is located at Eglinton Park (Eglinton Avenue and Oriole Parkway). What was once North America's largest bridge club, Kate Buckman's, was on Mount Pleasant near Eglinton for many years until its closure in 2007; the Toronto Bridge Club is on St. Clair near Yonge. The Toronto Camera Club finds its home on Mount Pleasant Road near Millwood Road.
North Toronto is composed of a number of distinct neighbourhoods. It has more recently also become synonymous with Midtown.
- Bedford Park
- Chaplin Estates
- Davisville Village
- Lawrence Park
- Lytton Park
- Wanless Park
- Yonge and Eglinton
North Toronto's housing stock includes bungalows, as well as semi-detached and fully detached houses, built mostly between 1910 and 1940. North Toronto houses are well maintained and a pride of ownership is painted on the face of every home.
North Toronto also contains a large number of low and high-rise apartment buildings centred around the Yonge and Eglinton area. These apartment buildings range from luxury condominiums, to affordable co-ops and a wide range of rental opportunities.
Blythwood Road is designated by the City of Toronto as a Heritage Conservation District. The charming houses that line this street include fine examples of Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian and Arts and Crafts architecture. These houses sit proudly on large lots some of which back onto ravine land. The tree canopy and expanse of this street along with the architecture of the houses makes this one of the most noteworthy and pretty streets in Toronto.
The mix of stores on Yonge Street is very diverse, ranging from mom and pop owner-operated stores, to international chain stores; that have added a certain lustre to the entire area.
Indoor shopping is available nearby at the Yonge and Eglinton Centre, which has recently undergone a major renovation and expansion.
The Yonge and Eglinton corridor has been coined 'Young and Eligible' due to the many bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and movie theatres, that proliferate at this intersection.
The ultra-modern North Toronto Community Centre is located on Eglinton Avenue, just east of Avenue Road. This centre includes a gymnasium, squash courts, a walking track, and a water slide.
Adjacent to the community centre is Eglinton Park which has sports fields, a baseball diamond, a wading pool, a children's playground, and tennis courts that become an artificial ice rink in the wintertime.
Sherwood Park, located east of Mount Pleasant Road, has a wonderful walking path highlighted by some of the oldest and largest trees in the city. This park contains a picturesque children's playground and a wading pool.
The Northern District Public Library, on Orchard View Boulevard, offers programs for both children and adults.
The Fairlawn Neighbourhood Centre (FNC) is a unique place -offering a broad range of programming for all ages targeted to their 2500 active members. The Centre has become a hub of the community and is often the first place that new families visit when they move into the neighbourhood. You can check out their programs at www.fairlawnneighbourhoodcentre.com
North Toronto has bus routes on Eglinton Avenue, Mount Pleasant Road, Yonge Street and Avenue Road. All of these surface routes connect to Eglinton station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line.
Motorists can be downtown in ten minutes. Highway 401, and the Allen Expressway are both approximately ten minutes from North Toronto.