Yorkville, Toronto

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Dissolved municipality
Village of Yorkville (Dissolved)
Coat of Arms[1]
Coat of arms
Historically Yorkville was the area north of Bloor and east of Avenue Rd., today a number of other areas are also considered part of the district
Historically Yorkville was the area north of Bloor and east of Avenue Rd., today a number of other areas are also considered part of the district
Yorkville, Toronto is located in Toronto
Yorkville, Toronto
Location within Toronto
Coordinates: 43°40′13″N 79°23′28″W / 43.67028°N 79.39111°W / 43.67028; -79.39111Coordinates: 43°40′13″N 79°23′28″W / 43.67028°N 79.39111°W / 43.67028; -79.39111
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto
Established 1830 (1830)
Incorporated 1853 (as village)
Annexed 1883 (by City of Toronto)
 • MP Vacant
 • MPP Glen Murray (Toronto Centre)
 • Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale)
Time zone Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern Time Zone (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 416, 647
Old row housing (Roden Place) in Yorkville, 1938
Bloor Street
Old York Lane at Yorkville

Yorkville is a district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, well known for its shopping. It is a former village, annexed by the City of Toronto. It is roughly bounded by Bloor Street to the south, Davenport Road to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west, and is considered part of the 'The Annex' neighbourhood officially. It is one of Canada's most exclusive shopping districts. It is anchored by the Mink Mile along Bloor Street. In 2006, Mink Mile was the 22nd most expensive street in the world, with rents of $208 per square foot.

Yorkville had rents of $300 per square foot in 2008, making it the third most expensive retail space in North America.[2] In 2008, the Mink Mile was named the seventh most expensive shopping street in the world by Fortune Magazine, claiming tenants can pull in $1,500 to $4,500 per square foot in sales.[3]


Yorkville has upscale shopping, restaurants, and the first five star hotel in Canada. It was also home for many years to Canada's first and longest-running erotica boutique, Lovecraft. Upscale boutiques include Burberry, Prada, Gucci, MAC Cosmetics, Hugo Boss, Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Holt Renfrew, Tiffany & Co., Escada, Ermenegildo Zegna, Cartier, Harry Rosen, Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Vera Wang, Lacoste, Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Williams-Sonoma, Bang and Olufsen, Betsey Johnson, Max Mara, Montblanc, Bulgari, Birks, Coach, Guerlain, Swarovski, and other upscale designer boutiques. The Holt Renfrew store on Bloor is the luxury retailer's flagship and largest store with four floors and boutiques. Many flagships of other companies are located here as well, such as Harry Rosen, Town Shoes, Lacoste, Gucci, Coach, and Chanel (in which the Canadian flagship became one of the largest in the world.)[4] Browns Shoes opened on Bloor, with merchandise that is much more expensive than at their other boutiques.

Luxury hotels in Yorkville include the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville, Four Seasons, the Park Hyatt, the Hazelton Hotel, the Windsor Arms Hotel, the Residence on Bay and the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel.

There are many offices and professional services. Notable companies/organizations include the Retail Council of Canada, Canada Post, IBM Canada, Alliance Atlantis, Famous Players, Paramount Pictures, Showcase Television, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Unilever and the consulates of several nations.

MTV Canada headquarters are located in Yorkville as well. Canada's largest museum and the fifth largest in North America, the Royal Ontario Museum is located at the intersection of Bloor and Avenue Rd. The area north of Bloor St. on Cumberland and Yorkville contain petite streets with cafes, restaurants and specialty boutiques. It resembles more of a European style district.

Yorkville is home to some of Toronto's most expensive condominiums, most starting at over one million dollars and going well beyond, including: The Prince Arthur, Renaissance Plaza, 10 Bellair, One St. Thomas, Windsor Arms Hotel, The Hazelton Hotel & Residences, Hazelton Lanes.[citation needed]


Founded in 1830 by entrepreneur Joseph Bloore (after whom Bloor Street, one of Toronto's main thoroughfares, is named) and William Botsford Jarvis of Rosedale, Toronto, the Village of Yorkville began as a residential suburb. Bloore operated a brewery north-east of today's Bloor and Church Street intersection. Jarvis was Sheriff of the Home District. The two purchased land in the Yorkville district, subdividing it into smaller lots on new side streets to those interested in living in the cleaner air outside of York. The political centre of Yorkville was the Red Lion Hotel, an inn that was regularly used as the polling place for elections. It is here that William Lyon Mackenzie was voted back into the Legislature for 1832 and a huge procession took him down Yonge Street.[5] The village grew enough to be connected by an omnibus service in 1849 to Toronto. By 1853, the population of the village had reached 1,000, the figure needed to incorporate as a village and the Village of Yorkville was incorporated. Development increased and by the 1870s, Potter's Field, a cemetery stretching east of Yonge Street along the north side of Concession Road (today's Bloor Street) was closed, and the remains moved to the Necropolis and Mount Pleasant cemetery.[6]

By the 1880s, the cost of delivering services to the large population of Yorkville was beyond the Village's ability. It petitioned the City of Toronto to be annexed. Annexation came on February 1, 1883, and Yorkville's name changed officially from "Village of Yorkville" to "St. Paul's Ward"[6] and the former "Yorkville Town Hall" became "St. Paul's Hall". The character of the suburb did not change and its Victorian-style homes, quiet residential streets, and picturesque gardens survived into the 20th century. In 1923, Toronto Hebrew Maternity and Convalescent Hospital was opened at 100 Yorkville Avenue and a year later the name was changed to Mount Sinai Hospital. The facade of this building still stands today and houses retailer Teatro Verde.

In the 1960s, Yorkville flourished as Toronto's bohemian cultural centre. It was the breeding ground for some of Canada's most noted musical talents, including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, as well as then-underground literary figures such as Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn MacEwen and Dennis Lee. Yorkville was also known as the Canadian capital of the hippie movement. In 1968, nearby Rochdale College at the University of Toronto was opened on Bloor Street as an experiment in counterculture education. Those influenced by their time in 1960s-70s Yorkville include cyberpunk writer William Gibson. Its domination by hippies and young people led MPP Syl Apps to refer to it as "a festering sore in the middle of the city" and call for its "eradication."[7]

Transition into high-end shopping district

After the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway, the value of land nearby increased as higher densities were allowed by the City's official plan. Along Bloor Street, office towers, the Bay department store and the Holt Renfrew department store displaced the local retail. As real estate values increased, the residential homes north of Bloor along Yorkville were converted into high-end retail, including many art galleries, fashion boutiques and antique stores, and popular bars, cafes and eateries along Cumberland Street and Yorkville Avenue. Many smaller buildings were demolished and office and hotels built in the 1970s, with high priced condominium developments being built in the last decade or so.


Village of Yorkville Park[edit]

Village of Yorkville Park
Yorkville Park Trees.jpg
Coordinates 43°40′12″N 79°23′30″W / 43.67000°N 79.39167°W / 43.67000; -79.39167
Operated by Toronto Parks
Website yorkville-park

The Village of Yorkville Park is a series of unique gardens located on the south side of Cumberland Street stretching west from Bellair Street. It was designed by Oleson Worland Architects in association with Martha Schwartz / Ken Smith / David Meyer Landscape Architects to celebrate the surrounding neighbourhood and reflect the diversity of the Canadian landscape.

At the east end, a paved square of land is dotted with Scots Pines growing out of circular benches. Further west, is a set of metal archways among a row of crabapple trees. Next, there is a marshy wetland. A silver-coloured metal structure houses a waterfall bordering one side of a courtyard filled with benches and chairs, while a 650-tonne hunk of billion-year-old granite, cut out of the Canadian Shield and transported to the park in pieces, is towards the west end. The westerly exit of Bay subway station arises next to the rock.

The park has received the American Society of Landscape Architects Award 1997, the International Downtown’s Association Award of Merit 1997 and the City of Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence 1997. In 2012, the American Society of Landscape Architects reviewed the Village of Yorkville Park upon restoration and once again bestowed an award: the Award of Excellence in the Landmark category.[8]

Frank Stollery Parkette[edit]

Named for the local businessman and politician Frank Stollery (1879-1971),[9] this small wedge shaped urban park runs west from Yonge Street between Davenport Road[10] and Scollard Street. The theme of the park now celebrates the history of Davenport Road.[11]

Jesse Ketchum Park[edit]

Named for the Canadian politician Jesse Ketchum, this greenspace park has a playground[12] and is located next to Jesse Ketchum Public School.

Town Hall Square[edit]

Town Hall Square
TownHallSquare sculpture.jpg
Coordinates 43°40′19″N 79°23′18″W / 43.67194°N 79.38833°W / 43.67194; -79.38833
Website Town Hall Square

Commemorating the site of the Yorkville Town Hall, this small urban oasis has paths and benches sheltered between rows of hedges, trees and oversized pots. The square abuts on the east side the Yorkville branch of the Toronto Public Library.

Shopping Centres[edit]


Bars and restaurants[edit]

A Bloor Yorkville sign installed in sidewalk pavement
  • Hemingway's
  • Sassafraz
  • The Pilot
  • One (part of the Hazelton Hotel)

Art Galleries[edit]

  • Versailles Antiques and Fine Art
  • Navillus Gallery
  • Gallery One
  • Drabinsky Gallery
  • Beckett Fine Art
  • Nick Art Nuovo Gallery
  • Maslak McLeod
  • Scollard Street Gallery
  • Old Master Gallery
  • Feheley Fine Arts
  • Gallery Gevik
  • Hollander York Gallery
  • Kinsman Robinson Gallery
  • Miriam Shiell Fine Art
  • Loch Gallery
  • Mira Godard Gallery
  • Ingram Gallery

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This coat of arms, today mounted on Toronto Fire Services Station #312, was once affixed to Yorkville's Town Hall
  2. ^ Bonoguore, Tenille (2008-07-19). "The Downside of Up". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  3. ^ "The world's most expensive streets - Bloor Street, Toronto". Fortune. CNNMoney.com. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  4. ^ "Toronto: Bloor Yorkville: Designer Couture". Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  5. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 35: The Red Lion Hotel". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited. 
  6. ^ a b Filey, Mike (February 1, 2009). "Yorkville - the first 'burb". Toronto Sun. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  7. ^ Henderson, Stuart. "Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s". Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Canadian Landscaping Projects Recognized as Among World's Best". Construction Canada. Construction Specifications Canada. Retrieved 2012-09-29. Toronto's recently restored Yorkville Park was the recipient of this year's Award of Excellence in the Landmark category. 
  9. ^ Mike Filey. "Frank Stollery". Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide. Retrieved January 2015. 
  10. ^ City of Toronto: Frank Stollery Parkette
  11. ^ Goin' down the Davenport Road
  12. ^ City of Toronto: Jesse Ketchum Park

External links[edit]