January 14, 2020 | emerging neighbourhood
Here’s a question I often receive: What is Toronto’s next emerging neighbourhood? Not what is emerging now. Not what has successfully emerged. We’re looking at what is the NEXT emerging neighbourhood.
In other words, what Toronto neighbourhood is well below average Toronto prices, but will be worth much more some day? Where is the next Leslieville? Where’s the next Junction? Where is the next neighbourhood that will undergo a transformation into a go-to destination with community-oriented events, amazing new restaurants, and packed main streets chock a block full of galleries, daring businesses, healthy alternatives and general fun? What Toronto neighbourhood will get a glowing write-up in the New York Times or make Toronto Life’s list of best neighbourhoods at a date in the near future?
Well, to buy at a bargain price, you need to arrive at this dream-to-be hood before everyone else.
And to be clear: it can’t be just any Toronto neighbourhood where prices are lower than average, and where’s there’s not much going on at the moment. There should be signs of great things to come.
If you look carefully, the Toronto neighbourhood of Silverthorn has all the flashing signs. For simplification, I’m going to say that Silverthorn runs from north of St Clair to just north of Eglinton. From the tracks along Weston to Caledonia. If you’re a stickler, I am combining two areas: Earlscourt and Silverthorn, but I’m going to call the whole thing Silverthorn.
Geographically, Silverthorn stands out. It’s an unusual part of the city in that it’s very hilly, like San Francisco (without the high prices or the ocean) whereas the rest of the city is mostly flat. Silverthorn was once part of the city of York before the Toronto amalgamation, but these days no one could walk through this neighbourhood and have any idea it was not part of Toronto.
The origin of area’s name is dull. Like many Toronto neighbourhoods, the name comes from the Silverthorn family, specifically John and Esther Silverthorn who settled in the area in 1786, long before you and me.
But why Silverthorn over other Toronto neighbourhoods?
IT’S STILL CHEAP
And by cheap, I don’t mean we can turn back the clock and get prices like it’s 1999. This is Toronto, but the prices here are less expensive than the average prices for Toronto houses or pre-sale condos. So, most houses under a million, maybe even under $800K. And though new condos can be expensive, the pre-sale condos here are a bigger bargain than condos not too far away.
With that said, there is one thing I should put out there: When a neighbourhood is still cheap, it can be rough around the edges in spots, but you have to see the possibility. “Potential goggles” will get you far. The same was true for Leslieville, and the Junction 15 -20 years ago.
To give you some perspective, Silverthorn was considered the 3rd worst neighbourhood in Toronto Life in 2013. Not for being overly dangerous. Just dull, far from transit (at the time) and little change (at the time).
CONDO PROJECTS UNDER WAY
In Silverthorn, you will see condo projects under way along St Clair West and Old Weston Road including Scout and and Reunion Crossing. Not just generic condos, but well-designed and less expensive than the pre-construction downtown condos. There’s also boutique condos proposals under way on St Clair like this one. There’s even a building at the corner of Old Weston Rd and St Clair that looks like Jilly’s, the stripper joint in Riverside before it became the Broadview Hotel. Who knows? Maybe some day it will have a similar fate.
SURROUNDED BY GREAT NEIGHBOURHOODS
I often talk about a real estate phenomenon I call the “spillover effect”. This happens when one neighbourhood that grows in demand leads to some people getting priced out. So, they move to the next neighbourhood over. Near Silverthorn, you have the Junction and the Junction Triangle to the south and Corso Italia to the east. For big box convenience you have the Stockyards to the west. It’s not just Silverthorn that’s changing, but the neighbourhoods nearby.
FUTURE TRANSIT HEAVEN
We already have the streetcar only lane along St. Clair that is currently running, but soon there will be the Eglinton Crosstown and a transit megahub at Eglinton between Black Creek and Weston Rd. This nearby station will connect this once transit weak area to the future Eglinton Crosstown and the UP Express connecting to the airport, the Bloor Line and Union Station. It will also connect to the GO Kitchener line. This will make this area one of the most well connected neighbourhoods in the city.
THE HIPSTERS ARE COMING
This may be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you see things, but one thing is for sure: any neighbourhood that has seen some degree of hipsterfication has been made much more appealing with new businesses added to the ones already there. It also means rapid change, and rapid price increases and more demand. In Silverthorn you have your quality Portuguese and Latin standbys already. It’s not hard to find a good custard tart around here. You also see new and hip restaurants like North of Brooklyn Pizzeria that was so successful on Queen West that they now have a number of locations including one of their larger spaces at Rogers and Old Weston Road. It’s the first hipster transplant from the downtown into the neighbhourhood. Because of the influx of new people buying in the area, expect this hipsterfication to continue. Other new fun spots include Bhan Mi Cafe.
So, if you are looking to buy or invest, and you want to get into a neighbourhood before it starts making the “best of” lists and “the neighbourhood to watch” lists, and this may be your hood. Nearby, you may also consider Mount Dennis and Caledonia-Fairbanks. Also on the rise for very similar reasons. Don’t wait too long. Sometimes these transformative neighbourhoods can happen fast.