Welcome to Yorkville
From its humble “village” beginnings, to its days as Toronto’s bohemian cultural centre, Yorkville has owned multiple identities before its current status as one of Canada’s most affluent enclaves. Marked by the “Mink Mile’s” upscale boutique shopping, a range of five-star hotels, luxury condominiums and fabulous restaurants, Yorkville is the ultimate in sophistication.
The Village of Yorkville began as a residential suburb, founded in 1830, by Joseph Bloore and William Botsford Jarvis. Bloore operated a brewery north-east of today's Bloor and Church Street intersection while Jarvis was Sheriff of the Home District. The two men purchased land in the Yorkville district, subdividing it into smaller lots which appealed to those interested in living outside of York. The political centre of Yorkville was the Red Lion Hotel, which was regularly used as the polling place for elections and the place where William Lyon Mackenzie was voted back into the 1832 Legislature. By 1849, the village had grown enough to be connected to Toronto by an omnibus service; eventually annexed by the City in 1883, the “Village of Yorkville” became St. Paul’s Ward.
The area continued to evolve and grow alongside the city of Toronto and, by the 1960s, the area was a breeding ground for creativity. Filled with musical performances and poetry readings, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot are among the many legends who cut their teeth in Yorkville’s bohemian clubs and coffee houses of the time. Young literary talents, including Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn MacEwen, and Dennis Lee were also known to frequent this popular “boho” scene.
Starting in the 1970s, and continuing today, high-end condominiums became the defining Yorkville home. The construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway, alongside the municipal government’s allowance of higher population densities, created a steep increase in Yorkville’s land value. Consequently, the residential homes north of Bloor Street were converted into high-end retail and professional office space, including the art galleries, fashion boutiques and antique stores that provide current Yorkville residents with one of the most upscale and exclusive neighbourhood addresses in Canada.
The Village of Yorkville Park has received multiple awards, including the 2012 American Society of Landscape Architects Award of Excellence in the Landmark category and the 1997 City of Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence.
Frank Stollery Parkette celebrates the history of Davenport Road, while Jesse Ketchum Park (named after the Canadian politician) has a playground and is located next to Jesse Ketchum Public School.
Town Hall Square commemorates the site of the Yorkville Town Hall and is beside another recreational gem: the Yorkville branch of the Toronto Public Library.
It’s easy to get anywhere from Yorkville, as Toronto’s main subway lines connect at the Yonge & Bloor underground stop.
Gillian and Joe’s favourite spots: