High Park North

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High Park North
Neighbourhood
A subway train crosses Clendennan Avenue, a residential road in High Park North
A subway train crosses Clendennan Avenue, a residential road in High Park North
Neighbourhood map of High Park North
Neighbourhood map of High Park North
High Park North is located in Toronto
High Park North
Location within Toronto
Coordinates: 43°39′22″N 79°28′30″W / 43.656°N 79.475°W / 43.656; -79.475Coordinates: 43°39′22″N 79°28′30″W / 43.656°N 79.475°W / 43.656; -79.475
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto
Community Toronto & East York
Established 1883 (Subdivision)
Changed Municipality 1887 West Toronto from York
1909 Toronto (former) from West Toronto
1998 Toronto from Toronto (former)
Government
 • MP Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park)
 • MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale—High Park)
 • Councillor Sarah Doucette (Ward 13 (Parkdale—High Park))
 • Councillor Gord Perks (Ward 14 (Parkdale—High Park))

High Park North, or often simply High Park, after the park, is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is bounded on the south by Bloor Street, on the west by Runnymede Road, on the north by Annette Street, Quebec Avenue and Humberside Avenue, and on the east by the CNR/CPR railway tracks. It is located in the Parkdale—High Park provincial and federal electoral districts. The area east of Keele Street is also known informally as the "West Bend" neighbourhood.

Character[edit]

The Runnymede Branch of the Toronto Public Library.

High Park North is mainly residential, containing many semi-detached homes built in the early 20th century. North of High Park, the neighbourhood has several high-rise apartment buildings, built after the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway.

Bloor Street is the main east-west thoroughfare. It is a four-lane road and is commercial with storefront-type businesses that have residential second and third storeys. North-south roads include Keele Street and Dundas Street. Both are primarily residential within the neighbourhood.

The oldest residential houses in High Park North were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s and are mostly Victorian, Edwardian and Tudor-style. The houses are typically two- and three-storey, built with detached brick. Among remarkable architectural details and ornaments are leaded and stained glass windows, lush wood trims, French doors, hardwood doors, and fireplaces.[1]

Condominium buildings are located on Gothic, High Park, and Quebec Avenues near Bloor. They offer views of the park and from some balconies, Lake Ontario can be seen as well.[1]

Schools[edit]

Public Schools
Annette Public School

Annette is a public elementary school. It shares its space with High Park Alternate School.

High Park Alternate School Jr

High Park Alternate shares its space with Annette School on Annette Street.

Humberside Collegiate Institute

Humberside is a large public high school located on Quebec Avenue at the intersection of Humberside Avenue.

Indian Road Crescent Junior School

Indian Road Crescent Junior School is located in the Junction Area of Toronto, east of Annette and Keele Streets. The original school, located to the north of the current building, was built in 1901. It was originally called Western Avenue Public School and was built on one of the transportation routes used by our native peoples. The new school was built in 1964. Indian Road Crescent serves students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6.[2]

The school is also home to an Ontario Family Resource/Parenting Centre

Keele Street Community School and Community Centre

Keele is a public elementary school which shares its space with a community centre. It is located along the west side of Keele Street north of Bloor Street.

Western Technical-Commercial School

Western Tech is a large high school located on Evelyn Crescent north-west of High Park.

Catholic Schools

St. Cecilia School is an elementary school located on Annette Street. It offers a Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 program.

Father Joseph McCann, a priest at St. Helen's Church, purchased land on Edwin Avenue in November 1887 to establish a new Catholic church and school. Originally the parish was to be named after St. Charles. According to historical records, however, the first school—a small wooden structure—was named St.Mary's.

In 1890 the school was replaced with a brick building and renamed St.Cecilia's. Legend has it that St. Cecilia, the patron saint of sacred music, was chosen as the new name because the Heintzman Piano factory stood in view, across the railway tracks, from the school. The present St. Cecilia's Church, at the corner of Annette Street and Pacific Avenue, was opened in 1909, replacing a smaller structure first occupied in 1895. Father Eugene Gallagher was the pastor.

The present St. Cecilia Catholic School at the corner of Annette Street and Evelyn Avenue opened in 1914 with additions in 1918, 1954 and 1964. The school's first teachers and administrators were the Loretto Nuns, who lived in the former Heintzman family residence at Annette and Laws Streets, providing another musical connection with St. Cecilia.

Institutions[edit]

The Runnymede Branch of the Toronto Public Library, housed in a renovated heritage building built in 1930, is located within High Park North at Bloor Street West and Glendonwynne Road. The Annette branch of the TPL is located to the northeast of the neighbourhood at Annette and Medland.

History[edit]

High Park North falls entirely within the boundaries of the town of Toronto Junction, which was purchased from the Keele estate in 1882 by Daniel Clendenan who subdivided the farm and racetrack for a residential district (now called High Park North) to serve the Junction commercial district. As Bloor Street was still an uneven and a mostly undeveloped street, early housing in the area was concentrated to the north and east, where it was easier to access the stores and industry along Dundas Street. High Park Avenue in particular was the site of many early homes of the Junction wealthy, as was modern Evelyn Crescent; many of these houses are still standing. High Park North emerged as a neighbourhood once Bloor Street was widened and evened out following World War I, when most of the residential homes which still exist today were built.

In 1915, Bloor Street was the site of a major public works at the north-west corner of High Park. The street, west of High Park Avenue, was crossed by creeks that emptied into Grenadier Pond. The creek banks were steep, making the roadway treacherous and difficult for traffic. A rail trestle was built to cross the gap at a level of 60 feet. The rails were used for rail cars to dump soil around the trestle. The trestle was completely buried and the present Bloor Street roadway built on top.[3] Existing north-south roadways connecting to Bloor Street were raised to meet the new level of Bloor Street and this facilitated the development of the neighbourhood.

In the 1960s, the area directly north of High Park was the site of 'block-busting' development. After the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway line in the 1960s, the nearby residences on High Park Avenue, Quebec Avenue and Gothic Avenue were bought up by developers, razed and large apartment buildings were built. The area from north of the subway line to Glenlake Avenue is now almost entirely high-rise towers. At the time, the City government was very much pro-development, and there were no local ratepayer/community associations as is seen today. Local City alderman Ben Grys, along with his wife, owned properties on Gothic Avenue and voted to approve the apartment project on the site before his family's land holdings were revealed by John Sewell through a search of local property tax rolls. Under vague conflict-of-interest guidelines, Grys continued as alderman until he was defeated in the following municipal election. Grys sued Sewell over Sewell's attempt to remove him but eventually withdrew his case when it became clear that Sewell would get access to further information about his business dealings. By the 1970s, local residents formed associations in harmony with new reform Council members, partly to fight the block-busting north of High Park.

A 2009 example of 'block busting' just north of High Park.

The desirability of living close to High Park and the subway keeps developers operating in the neighbourhood, although not on the scale of the past. In the first decade of the 2000s, a condominium development was built on the site of a former gas station on the south side of Bloor Street, overlooking High Park on the landfill of the former bridge over Wendigo Creek.

One block east of High Park Avenue, between Pacific and Oakmount, a block of Edwardian-era homes has been purchased for demolition. The area will be the site of a condominium development overlooking High Park. A tenant of one of the homes remained while the other homes became vacant and boarded up until eviction in 2010, much like the block-busting of the 1960s and 1970s. This is the first block of older homes directly on Bloor Street, facing High Park, to be demolished for apartment building.

Transportation[edit]

The neighbourhood is served by the Dundas West, Keele and High Park stations of the Bloor-Danforth TTC subway line. The TTC operates local buses out of each station.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b High Park real estate from ilovetoronto.com retrieved on May 20, 2011.
  2. ^ TDSB (Toronto District School Board). (n.d.). TDSB School Profile. Retrieved 04 14, 2010, from TDSB: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/profiles/5281.pdf
  3. ^ Duff, J.Clarence; Yates, Sarah (1984). Toronto Then And Now. Fitzhenry & Whiteside. p. 99. 

External links[edit]