Living in Riverdale: Everything You Need to Know | Christine Cowern Team

| Communities

Spotting the next up and coming neighbourhood used to mean watching where the art scene was chilling, but today it’s all about watching the hipsters. While others have been watching the hipsters, we’ve been watching Riverdale become one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Toronto, near everything buyers, hipster or not, want.

When it comes to living in Riverdale, the cool shady streets, eclectic heritage homes, funky shops and cafes, and its decidedly green conscience all point to its hip, gentrified vibe.

Living in Riverdale Corner Shop Renos

That gentrified vibe is a mix of Riverdale’s rich history and the availability of what some might call less traditional housing found in the once quirky little shops and corner stores that dotted the side streets. These corner stores are still found on many Toronto streets, but what makes Riverdale especially intriguing is the creative way people have scooped up these untraditional properties and renovated them into varying forms of comfortable, funky and in some cases luxe spaces. Many of these old shop fronts sat abandoned for years making them affordable fixer-uppers for those with the vision to make them into something great.

These little stores made living in Riverdale easy to work and shop all within a few blocks of home. That much hasn’t really changed. This convenience was eventually lost to those who fled the Riverdale area in search of the lawns and newly built homes of the burbs. Meanwhile, the homes they left behind became dilapidated in the following decades only to be reborn as property savvy Torontonians anxiously purchased them and brought them back to their original glory kicking off Riverdale’s slow gentrification process back in the late 1980’s.

History Unveiled While Living in Riverdale

While some of us were rocking the grunge look in the early 90’s, other more industrious Torontonians were renovating run-down Riverdale Victorians. In one case an electrician made a bizarre discovery on Broadview Avenue that turned out to be the original walls of an entire cabin dating back to 1807.

Living in Riverdale, it is often easy to overlook or even be unaware of its hidden history, and we think it’s something that shouldn’t be missed if you are looking for the ideal Toronto area to call home. You can play a game of spot the heritage plaque walking around Riverdale including the infamous Don Jail and its gatehouse (1859 – 1864), landmarks like the Don River Bridge (1803) and The Scadding Cabin (1794) of Riverdale farm.

Roosters Living in Riverdale?

A family favourite fun spot, Riverdale Farm is a flash from the past and was also the former home to Toronto’s first zoo in 1894. The few remaining buildings and structures of the zoo give a kind of creepy (in a good way) abandoned feel to the back end of the park. It’s just one of the many peculiar sights you might come across when living in Riverdale.

Locals might even be roused from sleep with the crow of a rooster coming from the farm and surprisingly that’s not the only kind of rooster you will find when living in Riverdale! Roosters Café is one of the best places to enjoy a warm beverage, especially in the deep freeze of winter after a few rides down the “slopes” at Riverdale Park East. Known as the place for tobogganing, (or for those of us who enjoy a few cocktails for warmth, taboozing) Rooster Café on Broadview welcomes the winter-weary with the perfect mix of ambience, trendiness and warmth.

It also welcomed Daniel Radcliffe who enjoyed a drink at Rooster’s Café in The F Word, which also featured a great shot of the city from Riverdale Park giving the area some street cred in the film industry (although we’re not sure how much clout Danial has since he outgrew his Hogwarts robes and wand).

Living in Riverdale — East and West

Selling condos in Toronto, we’ve seen some pretty stand out views – of the Lake, of High Park, and of course of the city. No matter what anyone says, we will always argue that Riverdale East offers the best view of the Toronto skyline hands down. A seat on the grassy hill is perfect for taking in the view any time of day but particularly spectacular as the sun sets, or the city lights are aglow.

Locals enjoy strolling, walking the dog and of course riding the bike trails by crossing the pedestrian bridge that takes you from Riverdale East to Riverdale West. The footbridge is a charming throw-back to slower times and contrasts with the startling roar of the Don Valley Parkway traffic below. On the west side, you will find Evergreen Brick Works, which shows just another example of what can happen when something old and overlooked can be transformed into something truly amazing.

The Brickworks has become a thought leader setting the standards for communities around the world with climate change, community building, urban farming and eco-friendly transportation. Evergreen’s Bike Works, promotes cycling in Toronto with DIY bike repair shops and other events and services focused on a healthier way of getting around.

Avid Bikers and the Eco-Friendly Living in Riverdale

Riverdale’s community-run bikeSauce is another sign biking seems to be a preferred mode of transportation in what is considered a very eco-friendly, environmentally conscious neighbourhood. A neighbourhood where recycling is handled with more than forbearance, but instead with a sense of reverence and duty. Respect for trees and the health and life of the Don River all thrive as part of this highly responsible community.

Adding to the green vibe of the area where mature trees shade the streets through the summer and tower over their homes in the winter, bare and gray, you will also enjoy the echo of the eco-friendly streetcars as they trammel along Broadview. These are all the sights and sounds that add to the eclectic, urban atmosphere in Riverdale.

From vinyl addicts’ music stores to dog companions’ pet shops and die-hard vegans’ dining spots to meatatarians’ beloved burger joints, living in Riverdale offers a diverse Toronto area to call home. If you would like to get your foot in the door of one of these high demand properties, call our kick-ass team of Riverdale real estate experts at #416-291-7372 or email us at and we will help you find the perfect home.