Old Town, Toronto
Detail and location of Old Town within Toronto
Old Town is a neighbourhood and retail district in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was the first of Toronto's named neighbourhoods, having acquired the moniker no later than 1815, at which time the original town of York was expanding. The old neighbourhood was referred to as "Old Town" by residents, and the new neighbourhood as "New Town". The site still has a large number buildings dating back to the 19th-century.
The neighbourhood's approximate boundaries are Queen Street on the north from Church Street east to Parliament Street, Parliament Street south to Front Street, Front Street west to Jarvis Street, one block north to King Street and Church Street north to Queen Street.
The first town plan for York was laid out by Captain Mann in 1788. However, the original plan was rejected by Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe who had a new plan drawn up by Alexander Aitkin. The plan called for a compact, ten-block townsite, laid out in a gridiron pattern near the mouth of the Don River. This ten-block plan was bounded by George, Berkeley, Adelaide and Front Streets, with the areas east of Parliament to the Don, and west of Peter Street to the Humber set aside for government and military purposes. Government buildings were erected near Parliament and Front Streets.
In April 1849, the area was ravaged by the Great Fire of Toronto, destroying buildings on the north side of King Street East, between Nelson and Church Street. The Cathedral Church of St. James was among the buildings destroyed in the fire, although it was later rebuilt in 1850.
The area is filled with buildings predominantly two or three storeys tall. Along the main streets of Front, King and Queen are numerous first floor restaurants and stores with walk-up apartments on the upper floors. The area also has numerous older warehouses that have been converted to lofts or offices.
The area between Front Street on the south and Adelaide Street on the north, between Berkeley Street on the east and George Street on the west, is the ten blocks that make up the original town-site of York, as laid out in 1793. While no buildings in the area date from that time period, there are numerous heritage buildings such as Toronto's first post office on Adelaide within the area.
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