Yorkville, Toronto

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Street level looking North toward Cumberland Street.
Street level looking North toward Cumberland Street.
Coat of Arms[1]
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
Established1830 (1830)
Incorporated1853 (as village)
Annexed1883 (by City of Toronto)
 • MPChrystia Freeland
 • MPPJessica Bell
 • CouncillorMike Layton (Ward 11 University-Rosedale)
 • Total0.329 km2 (0.127 sq mi)
 • Total5,349
 • Density16,258/km2 (42,110/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern Time Zone)
Area code(s)416, 647

Yorkville is a neighbourhood and former village in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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 it is considered part of "The Annex" neighbourhood officially. Established as a separate community in 1830, it was annexed into Toronto in 1883. Yorkville is diverse and comprises residential areas, office space, and an array of shopping options.

Within the Yorkville district is one of Canada's most exclusive shopping districts, anchored by the Mink Mile along Bloor Street. In 2006, the 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.[3] 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.[4]


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, Yorkville began as a residential suburb. Bloore operated a brewery north-east of today's Bloor and Church Street intersection, while Jarvis was Sheriff of the Home District. The two purchased land in the Yorkville area, subdividing it into smaller lots on new side streets for 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 community grew enough to be connected in 1849 by an omnibus service to Toronto. By 1853, the population of Yorkville 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 Toronto 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 Toronto government to be annexed. Annexation came on February 1, 1883, and Yorkville's name changed officially from the "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, residential streets, and gardens survived into the 20th century.[citation needed] 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 housed retailer Chanel.

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.[7] Yorkville was also known as the Canadian center 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."[8] Joni Mitchell captured a colorful impression of the nightlife scene on Yorkville Avenue in her song "Night in the City".[9] The hippie scene was also depicted in the National Film Board of Canada documentary Christopher's Movie Matinée in 1968.[10]

Transition into high-end shopping district[edit]

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 art galleries, fashion boutiques and antique stores, and 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 subsequent decades.[citation needed]


Historical population

Along Bloor Street is located the "Mink Mile" shopping district. The street is lined on both sides of the street with office buildings with retail stores in the bottom one or two floors. The main streets of Avenue Road and Bay Street north of Bloor are similarly developed. North of Bloor, on Yorkville and Cumberland streets, between the main arteries, the character changes to smaller buildings containing art galleries, first-floor retail and restaurants. Further north still are single-family detached and semi-detached homes dating to the 19th century.

Yorkville has upscale shopping, restaurants, and the first five star hotel in Canada. 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, Bang and Olufsen, Betsey Johnson, Max Mara, Montblanc, Bulgari, Birks, Coach, Guerlain, Swarovski, and others. 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.)[11] 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.

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]

Canada's largest museum and the fifth largest in North America, the Royal Ontario Museum is located just to the west of Yorkville, at the intersection of Bloor and Avenue Rd. Toronto's largest public library, the Toronto Reference Library, is located on Yonge Street, north of Bloor. Yorkville has its own local public library on Yorkville Avenue.


Village of Yorkville Park
Yorkville Park Trees.jpg
Coordinates43°40′12″N 79°23′30″W / 43.67000°N 79.39167°W / 43.67000; -79.39167
Operated byToronto Parks
Town Hall Square
TownHallSquare sculpture.jpg
Coordinates43°40′19″N 79°23′18″W / 43.67194°N 79.38833°W / 43.67194; -79.38833
WebsiteTown Hall Square

Village of Yorkville Park[edit]

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.[12]

Frank Stollery Parkette[edit]

Named for the local businessman and politician Frank Stollery (1879-1971),[13] this small wedge-shaped urban park runs west from Yonge Street between Davenport Road[14] and Scollard Street. The theme of the park now celebrates the history of Davenport Road.[15] His namesake store Stollerys was located in the southwest corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets at the address 1 Bloor West. Stollerys operated for 114 years selling high-end English and European menswear until its closure in October 2014.[16]

Jesse Ketchum Park[edit]

Named for the Canadian politician Jesse Ketchum, this greenspace park has a playground[14] and is located next to Jesse Ketchum Public School.

Town Hall Square[edit]

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.


Art galleries[edit]

  • Versailles Antiques and Fine Art Ltd.
  • 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
  • Liss Gallery

Bars and restaurants[edit]

  • Joso's
  • Hemingway's
  • Sassafraz
  • The Pilot
  • One (part of the Hazelton Hotel)
  • Cafe Boulud

Shopping centres[edit]

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. ^ GeoSearch
  3. ^ Bonoguore, Tenille (July 19, 2008). "The Downside of Up". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  4. ^ "The world's most expensive streets - Bloor Street, Toronto". Fortune. CNNMoney.com. August 26, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  5. ^ Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 35: The Red Lion Hotel". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto Revisited. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Filey, Mike (February 1, 2009). "Yorkville - the first 'burb". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  7. ^ Jennings, Nicholas. "Before the Gold Rush: Flashbacks to the Dawn of the Canadian Sound". Penguin Books Canada.
  8. ^ Henderson, Stuart. "Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s". Archived from the original on February 11, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  9. ^ "Joni Mitchell - Night in the City - Lyrics and Footnotes".
  10. ^ Bob Harvey, "Film takes eloquent look at teenagers' alienation". Edmonton Journal, April 19, 1969. p. 8.
  11. ^ "Toronto: Bloor Yorkville: Designer Couture". Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  12. ^ "Canadian Landscaping Projects Recognized as Among World's Best". Construction Canada. Construction Specifications Canada. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2012. Toronto's recently restored Yorkville Park was the recipient of this year's Award of Excellence in the Landmark category.
  13. ^ Filey, Mike. "Frank Stollery". Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Parks, Gardens & Beaches". City of Toronto. July 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "Goin' Down the Davenport Road". Torontoist. July 8, 2011.
  16. ^ "The Rise and Fall of Stollerys". Torontoist. January 21, 2015.

External links[edit]