Downtown West was originally part of the vast military garrison lands that were established to protect the Town of York – the forerunner to Toronto – against attack from the United States. Following the war of 1812 peaceful relations were established with our neighbour to the south and the garrison lands were sold to the railway, which became a vital cog in the booming industry then taking place along Toronto’s harbourfront.
By the 1960s much of Toronto’s port-based industry had moved north of the city, thus rail service dwindled to a trickle. The railway lands — a site bound by the Rogers Centre to the east, Bathurst Street to the west, Front Street to the north, and Lakeshore Boulevard to the south — then lay dormant and derelict for over 30 years while the City of Toronto debated what to do with them. In 1998 city council finally approved the sale of the railway lands, which are currently being redeveloped into a $2 billion condominium development known as CityPlace. Another re-birth in the Downtown West is the King/Spadina/Bathurst district, which was at the heart of Canada’s garment industry until the early 1990s. Now many of these shop worn buildings are finding new life as trendy loft condominium projects and funky office space for the media services, high-tech communications and graphic industries.
Downtown West is Toronto’s most lively neighbourhood. This neighbourhood’s vitality is due to the fact that Toronto’s Entertainment, Fashion, and Financial districts are all located here.
Until recently there were limited residential options in Downtown West. However, in the past few years the rezoning of King-Spadina commercial buildings into residential lofts, the downtown condominium and townhome building boom, and the massive redevelopment currently underway at the former railway lands have now made it possible for many more people to live, work and play in this urban neighbourhood.
New condominium projects have recently been built or are underway on Richmond, Queen and Wellington streets and in the King-Spadina area. Many of these projects are midrise loft-style buildings. The glitzier high-rise buildings feature sleek designs with brick, glass and metal facades. By far the largest development in the area is taking place on the former railway lands next to the Rogers Centre. This new community is called CityPlace. Over the next several years 21 condominium buildings will stand on the area bounded by Rogers Centre to the east, Bathurst Street to the west, Front Street to the north, and Lake Shore Boulevard to the south. When complete, CityPlace — a technologically advanced fibre optic community — will consist of approximately 7,000 condominium units that will bring around 12,000 new residents to this neighbourhood. Heritage home fans should check out the Second Empire and Victorian-style houses on Draper Street and the Clarence Terrace
townhomes on Clarence Square.
(P) The Waterfront School Jr. & Sr., 635 queens Quay West, (416) 393-0684
(P) Alpha School Jr. and Sr., 20 Brand Street, (416) 393-1880
(P) Downtown Alternative, jk-3, 20 Brant Street, (416) 393-1882
(PH) Oasis Alternative School, 707 Dundas Street, (416) 393-9830
(PH) Central Technical School, 725 Bathurst Street.,(416) 393-0060
Public High School
Private Catholic School
Private Jewish School