Eatonville is a bit of an enigma. Although there’s no doubt Eatonville is the burbs, you don’t have that urban-living-has-forsaken me vibe you get when you’ve gotten too close to the edge of the GTA. You won’t find what you might consider a hip shopping strip out this way, but you’ll find all the conveniences. It’s not minutes from the city, but it’s close to main highways that’ll get you there within a reasonable 20 minutes or so sans the traffic. That’s probably why Eatonville is one of the most popular areas for well to do families intrigued by the mature trees and eclectic selection of homes out this way. If you’re looking for suburban living without actually having to live in a new-build subdivision, Eatonville could be the place for you.
Like most areas just west of downtown Toronto, Eatonville started out as a farming community. Bordered by Rathburn to the north, Dundas to the south, Kipling to the east and Renforth Drive to the west, the area was named after Timothy Eaton, one of Canada’s most prominent retailers. The first farm was situated on the west side of what is now Highway 427, where owner, Peter Shaver, purchased 100 acres to establish Applewood Farm in 1830. Located between Burnhamthorpe and Rathburn Roads, he later purchased a leased Clergy Reserve lot to the south of his property in 1846. However, he donated the new lot for a school on the north side of Bloor where a small log school was built surrounded by forest.
One of the first teachers at the school was noted artist Henry Martin. Many feel the area was built around what was often fondly referred to as this “swamp school” where there was boggy land and plenty of frogs. Parents paid a price for each child to attend the school and those without kids did not contribute. That changed in 1863 when it was decided to apply a tax on ratable properties within the school area to cover teachers’ salaries and school expenses.
In 1891 Timothy Eaton, the owner of the major Canadian retail company Eaton’s Department Store, purchased 200 acres from the Shavers. He donated land on the northwest corner of Brown's Line to the “Swamp School” to create a better schoolyard. His farm was used to provide fresh cream to the soda fountain in his store, but also had cattle and hogs for meat.
In 1909, the Eatons paved Dundas Street for a fee of $10,000 with the new stretch covering from the CPR crossing at Royal York Road to Etobicoke Creek. The Eaton’s farm grew to 369 acres but was sold in 1947 to Confederation Life Association. However, the farm provided meat, poultry, vegetables and dairy products for Eatons stores until the early 1950’s when it was subdivided for residential development.
In 1870 the Swamp School was rebuilt as a one-room brick building. However, with a new subdivision underway in 1913, an additional frame classroom was built. More classrooms were added in 1925, but were mainly used by the Anglican church. The school was demolished when the Bloor Street overpass was built in 1956. A new school, named after the Eatons and the area was opened in 1957.
The Shavers occupied the family home up until 1980, at which time the house was moved to a new site at 450 The West Mall in Broadacres Park. It now acts as a conference and event hall for special events. Another original homestead built circa 1830 is still standing at 72 Old Burnhamthorpe Road. The majority of the homes on the east side of Eatonville were built between the 1940s and 50s, while the homes to the west were built over the next two decades.
About 20 kms from downtown Toronto, you can hop your choice of buses to get to Kipling subway station to take you directly into the city. If you prefer to drive, you’re right on the 427, or you can head east on Bloor, city bound.
While you won’t find the hippest, quaintest, or even most charming shopping strip in Eatonville, you’ll find a stroke of local colour in the Bloor Street shopping district west of Kipling Avenue. It’s the closest you’ll come to neighbourhood shopping, which is why most prefer to head to Dundas where you’ll find your standard, but very convenient selection of suburbia car dealerships, restaurants, and home improvement stores. You also have your choice of Cloverdale or Honeydale malls. Either way, you’re never far from anything you’ll ever need.
Eatonville has its own cultural hub at the non-profit arts hotspot, Neilson Park Creative Centre. It offers ongoing gallery exhibits, arts festivals and craft sales throughout the year. The Shaver Homestead acts as the area’s reception hall as well as a mini museum. The local library offers programs for tots as well as a Tea and Books program for avid readers.
Families are never far from green space, with many local parks available to keep active. The West and East Mall Parks, Wedgewood Park and Cloverdale Park are ideal spots whether you’re looking for tennis, baseball, skating, or swimming. There’s always something to enjoy all year round.
This area is family central, where young families are finding a peaceful suburb to raise their kids. The average income is well above average here sitting at around $123,000 and 75 percent of locals own their homes. Young couples and singles just aren’t too psyched about living in such a suburban area when they have plenty of condos to choose from closer to the lake.
The Best Part
Without a doubt Eatonville is all about living in lovely homes with distinct pre-1980s architecture on quiet streets with well-kempt lawns and mature trees. It’s that simple.
The Worst Part
There’s no if, ands, or buts about it -- when you’re living in Eatonville, you’re living in suburbia. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just a fact.
The Real Estate
Despite the conveniences, it’s the homes that really shine in Eatonville. Most are pre-1980 with an excellent selection of houses east of Highway 427. Built between the late 1940’s and 1950’s, you’ll find charming detached bungalows, cozy one-and-a-half-storey homes, and pretty Cape Cod style two-storey houses on the area’s quiet streets. While some might resent the fact many of the bungalows are being torn down to make way for custom designed new homes, a larger factor of home buyers are excited to get their hands on one of these spacious, high-end babies.
When looking west of Highway 427 homes are a little newer, ranging from the 1960’s to the 1970’s. Here you’ll find brick bungalows, semi-detached houses, and large detached two-storey homes with an eclectic, mid-century modern sense of style. On the main roads condos and townhouses offer affordable options, with a limited mix of rentals thrown in for good measure. While you’ll pay half as much for a good-sized home here compared to areas closer to the city, you’re still looking in the range of $2 million for comparable houses. Of course, you can also hunt for affordable fixer upper bungalows or consider one of the many high-rise condos available.
Compared to many west end areas, Eatonville has quite a large number of schools within its borders including:
JK to Grade 5
West Glen Junior School, 47 Cowley Avenue, 416-394-7160
Wedgewood Junior Public School, 5 Swan Avenue, 416-394-7150
Eatonville Junior School, 15 Rossburn Drive, 416-394-7040
JK to Grade 8
Our Lady of Peace Catholic School, 70 Mattice Avenue, 416-393-5253
St. Elizabeth Catholic School, 5 Redcar Avenue, 416-393-5278
Grade 6 to 8
Bloorlea Middle School, 4050 Bloor Street West, 416-394-7140
Burnhamthorpe Collegiate Institute, 500 The East Mall, 416-394-7130
Olivet School, 279 Burnhamthorpe Road, 416-239-3054
Kingsley Primary School, 3962 Bloor Street West, 416-233-0150
Are you thinking about calling Eatonville your new home?
Contact us today, and we can get started on finding you a home in this one-of-a-kind Toronto neighbourhood