From Lakeshore to just north of Queen. Roncesvalles to Dufferin
Queen Street West and Lansdowne Ave.
Cool, vintage fashion, furniture stores, new bars, once wealthy, once down-on-it’s-luck, a proud community, large houses.
DID YOU KNOW?:
Anderson Ruffin Abott, born in Toronto in April 1837, was the first black Canadian doctor, and he lived on Dowling Ave in Parkdale. Not only that. He also attended to Abraham Lincoln, and worked as a surgeon in the U.S. army during the American Civil War. He attended to Lincoln when he lay dying from assassination in 1865. He eventually returned to Toronto in 1913 where he died at aged 76.
Parkdale has an unusual mix. It has some of the grandest and stateliest homes in the city. Some have been perfectly restored to their glory days of Anderson Ruffin Abott. Others are barely maintained boarding houses.
The powerful push of Queen St has moved west into Parkdale bringing this legendary street’s trendiness and hip bravado with it without completely replacing the dollar stores and some of the great roti shops that have been around for a long time. The King West portion of Parkdale isn’t as fortunate as Queen West, and there is little turnover in the mostly dreary commercial strip there. Still, it is the properties south of King that you could have a breeze off the lake in the summer that can be five degrees cooler than the rest of the city.
A blend of halfway homes, giant public apartment blocks and beautiful Victorians make this a pretty unique place. It seems most people who live here love it. In fact, there’s a pride in this neighbourhood I see in few others. Despite the vastly divergent populations that live here, the community is strong.
Houses can be very big with large lots compared to other similar neighbourhoods of the same era. Parkdale holds some of the best downtown historic architecture in the city. Despite this, I’m not fully convinced Parkdale will ever change to be a fully gentrified version of the Annex or High Park, in case that is something would like to have. Parkdale will always have its grit. But if you could appreciate a mixed neighbourhood, in addition to close proximity to downtown, this may be worth considering.