Danforth Village is an up and coming area that is often overlooked due to the popularity of its prettier sister “The Danforth” to the East. However, the main strip along Danforth Avenue is showing all the signs of gentrification combining old school fruit and vegetable stands, butcher shops, bakeries, and European cafés with some edgier contemporaries beginning to inch their way in. Danforth Village is a testimony to Toronto’s simmering pot of multicultural diversity, attracting families of varying backgrounds and incomes.
Spanning Greenwood to the west, Victoria Park to the east, Milverton to the north and Gerrard to the south, Danforth Village was settled by British, Irish, and Scottish immigrants in the 1880s. The area was originally known for its market garden farms which attracted customers seeking fresh produce at its many produce stands. Signs of this proud history can be seen at the many local grocers still displaying stacks of colourful fruits, vegetables, and fresh cut flowers which are still a common sight along the Danforth today. Just south of Danforth Avenue, the land was originally owned by the many brick making families of Toronto.
Danforth Avenue was named after Asa Danforth, who was responsible for building Kingston road in 1799. Danforth Village was annexed to the City of Toronto in 1908, and was subdivided for various housing projects. The area remained cut off from Toronto due to the Don Valley until 1915 when the building of the Bloor Street viaduct remedied transportation challenges. Houses began to pop up in the area in the 1910s and housing projects continued to develop through the 1930s. Houses ranged from Victorian row houses to semis and bungalows to larger three-story detached.
A large population of Greek immigrants were attracted to the area following World War II and by the 1950s they made up a larger segment of the local population than the original Anglo-Saxon residents. Greek Town, which is located to the east of Danforth Village is the largest Greek neighbourhood in North America and is also home to the second largest Greek population in the world.
In 1966 the area became even more accessible with the building of the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Today Danforth Village is filled with unexpected parks, shady side streets with mature trees and tiny gardens, and a bustling shopping and dining section on Danforth Avenue.
Danforth Village is an easy 10 minute subway ride to Yonge and Bloor with access to the Bloor-Danforth line from Greenwood, Coxwell, Woodbine and Main stations. Locals can also hop on the Don Valley Parkway to head north out of town, and with so many conveniences located on Danforth Avenue, shopping and dining are within easy walking or cycling distance.
With its own niche of convenient shopping, dining and parks, Danforth Village is an attractive option for residents who have everything they need in this family oriented neighbourhood. Popular parks in the area include 5-hectares of parkland at Monarch Park which boasts an outdoor pool and waterslide as well as a wading pool and playground. East Lynn Park is popular in the winter thanks to its outdoor skating rink, but also attracts locals in the summer months with a welcoming green space and an organic outdoor market.
The neighbourhood holds a number of festivals nearby and Danforth Avenue makes shopping or dining out a breeze. The multicultural shops, restaurants and cafés offer new experiences for the adventurous while those looking for more familiar fare will find an assortment of fast food joints, pubs and cafés. Danforth Village has slowly come into its own as people discover there is more to Danforth Avenue than Greek Town.
As already mentioned, this is a multicultural area which has become a popular choice for young professionals and families seeking a quieter city community close to downtown. There’s also a strong creative community which includes artists, musicians and actors adding to the diverse vibe of the neighbourhood. Parents have become highly active in keeping a sense of community a priority in the area which helps it maintain its village feel. For people seeking solace in a quieter neighbourhood without leaving the city, Danforth Village continues to welcome new residents with open arms.
The Best Part
This area has all the amenities of a little village, without any of the pretentions of many higher end downtown Toronto neighbourhoods. It offers sleepy side streets with attractive, comfortable homes, plenty of parkland and an “off the main drag” feel to the local shops and restaurants.
The Worst Part
The secret is out Danforth Village offers a tiny pocket for some of Toronto’s more affordable homes. Unfortunately, that means in most cases you’ll find it’s a little too late to take advantage of the lower housing prices.
The Real Estate
The homes in Danforth Village remain relatively affordable considering its convenience, amenities, and impressive inventory. As a result it has become a popular area for first time home buyers, but as it grows in popularity prices are on the rise. It has that rare combination of mature trees, fixer upper opportunities, established detached renos, more affordable semis and row houses and an assortment of adorable bungalows. Many homes feature comfortable porches amidst shady trees and lovely gardens that show pride of ownership. You can also find some condos and rentals here and there. While larger, upgraded homes will be well over the $1 million mark, you can still find some affordable options hovering below $800K.
There aren’t any schools located within the formal boundaries of this neighbourhood.
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