Morningside Heights, Toronto
Suburban housing at Rouge Park
|Changed Municipality||1998 Toronto from Scarborough|
|• MP||Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Scarborough—Rouge River)|
|• MPP||Bas Balkissoon (Scarborough—Rouge River)|
|• Councillor||Raymond Cho (Ward 42 Scarborough—Rouge River)|
Morningside Heights is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located in the northeast corner of the city, just north of the Malvern community and west of Rouge Park. The subdivision, comprising approximately 750 acres (3.0 km2), was one of the last large tracts of undeveloped land within the City of Toronto, located between Finch Avenue and Steeles Avenue, from Tapscott Road to the Rouge River.
The area got its name from Morningside Avenue, which was extended north into the neighbourhood. The northern section of Morningside Heights is also known as Brookside. The community is divided, north and south, by hydro lines that cut across the development. The name Brookside originates from a golf course that was once on that site, northeast of the intersection of Oasis Boulevard and Seasons Road.
The first phase of Morningside Heights development took place in 2002. The last houses to be constructed were completed in late 2009. The area has proved to be very diverse, with a large number of South Asian (predominantly Sri Lankan Tamils, Pakistanis, Indians), Caribbean and Filipino residents among others.
Currently there are no commercial developments in the Morningside Heights subdivision. Land at the south end of the subdivision, along Morningside Avenue, has been reserved for this purpose with no construction to date. The local homeowners association was successful in stopping the planned proposal for a gas station to be built at the southwest corner of Neilson Road and Morningside Avenue, citing potential health risks.
There are three public schools serving the neighborhood: Brookside Public School, Thomas Wells Public School and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Catholic School.
Brookside Public School sits on much of the former golf course and is surrounded by single-detached housing. Designed by Teeple Architects, this school was opened in September 2007 and has over 600 students from JK to Grade 8. Also this school has achieved the "LEED (Leadership in Energy Environmental Design) Gold" certification, and will be the most sustainable school in the Toronto District School Board. Brookside is also a mandatory uniform school.
The other (and first) school of the Morningside Heights subdivision is Thomas Wells Public School, named after Thomas Leonard Wells, a former MPP of the electoral district of Scarborough North, from 1963 to 1985. It opened in September 2005, and is an award winning school, recognized for its sustainable energy design. This school was the first "LEED (Leadership in Energy Environmental Design) Silver" certified elementary school in Canada. Thomas Wells PS was a signal of the TDSB's commitment to becoming a leader in "green schools" and energy conservation. Currently the school has over 700 students. The school motto is "Where all students reach the Stars", this was derived from the street that the school sits on, Nightstar Road.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Catholic School is the first Catholic school in the subdivision and adjacent to Brookside. The school opened its doors on September 3, 2013 consisting the selected students from St. Gabriel Lalemant and St. Bede schools. The new 467-pupil elementary school building is divided into public and school use areas, and includes a multi-purpose room available for speciality programs and after hours use. The building is barrier free and include an elevator and barrier free washrooms. The school includes purpose built classrooms for Full-Day Kindergarten, and features a well-defined, student-friendly playground areas that combine hard and soft landscaping. Environmentally friendly by design, the building incorporates enhanced access to natural light, particularly in classrooms, water efficient landscaping, enhanced site storm water management, an energy efficient building envelope which includes high performance windows and a cool white roof to reduce heat gain through the roof. Like Brookside, it is the first school in the Catholic board with full uniforms.
The school is named after Pier Giorgio Frassati, who was beatified in May 1990. Pier Giorgio developed a deep spiritual life which he never hesitated to share with his friends. In 1918, he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society and dedicated much of his spare time to serving the sick and the needy. He decided to become a mining engineer so he could "serve Christ better among the miners". A social activist, he joined the Catholic Student Federation and the Popular Party, a political organization which promoted the Catholic Church's teachings. In 1922, he joined the Dominican Third Order choosing the name Girolamo after his personal hero, the Dominican preacher and reformer of Florence's Renaissance. He died on July 4, 1925 at the age of 24 after contracting poliomyelitis, which doctors later speculated he caught from the poor and sick whom he tended. Neglecting his own health because his grandmother was dying, his illness was too advanced for anyone to treat.
The TTC's 133 Neilson bus serves most of the area, with a connection to the Scarborough Centre RT station and Scarborough Town Centre. The 53A Steeles East bus was recently extended to serve the northeast section of the area connecting to Finch subway station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. Recently the TTC began a trial run of the 116 Morningside looping through the southern portion of the subdivision, giving some residence two bus routes with the 133 Neilson.