The Fashion District is pulsing with life day and well into the night offering shopping, dining and drinking establishments in some of the city’s most historic locations. Ideally located for the 20 to 30 somethings amid the tourist attractions of Queen and Spadina, this is the place to live for the cool, artsy, up and coming and just plain social Torontonian.
This tiny pocket of downtown TO is located amidst the city’s heritage buildings between Queen to the north, Front to the south, Spadina to the east and Bathurst to the west. It was once the home to a thriving garment and textile industry and some of the later established fabric stores still remain along Queen.
This was the heart of the Jewish immigrant community, raising businesses from delis to bookstores. The area was conveniently located at the Toronto rail system making it easy to ship and receive materials and products from the businesses in the area. The warehouses and manufacturing companies provided jobs for the Jewish families in the area throughout the early 20th century.
Many of the historic buildings standing today were commissioned by garment industry business owners in need of space for manufacturing and storage of their garments. The buildings were designed by Lithuanian born architect Benjamin Brown who was one of Toronto’s first Jewish architects to practice at the turn of the century. Brown was able to attract many businessmen in the Jewish community and was therefore the number one designer of buildings in the area.
Brown became known for his manufacturing buildings with their distinct stone and brick art deco cladding we still see there today. He was a major contributor not only to the Jewish community, but also to the face of Toronto’s Fashion District.
Following World War II many of the Jewish families moved further north and the businesses and properties were used for a number of evolving uses including artists studios and galleries. A major revitalization of the area in the 1980’s set the stage for this up and coming neighbourhood making it an attraction for not only the art community, but software companies, warehouse sales, clubs and restaurants. Hip companies such as eBay and Brainstation now call the many funky brick and beam refurbishments home.
Much of the unused prime land along the Toronto railway lines has been reclaimed and put to good use for Toronto’s condo community with a wide assortment of high rises changing the area’s skyline.
The area is accessible by streetcar on any of its main streets making it an easy jaunt to both the Bloor and Yonge/University lines. It is minutes from University Subway station and a few more minutes will get you to Union Station and the GO. As the name indicates it remains a magnet to shopaholics seeking a hipper shopping experience to its more snobbish sister area in uptown Yorkville and along Bloor while offering dozens of dining and drinking options. Because of its tiny size there’s only one primary school in the immediate area, (two if you venture a few side streets west) one of the reasons it’s not the most family friendly neighbourhood.
The Fashion District is definitely the place for people who are interested in location over a large and luxurious home. Professionals who spend little time at home are the perfect dwellers for the smaller condos and shoebox apartments they will find here. Like all Toronto neighbourhoods you will still find a diverse mix of people from the young 20 to 30 something professionals who live here, to the students and tourists who are here for the shorter term. You might spot the odd mom and stroller, but for the most part they tend to live further west in more family friendly areas along Queen.
The Best Part
Clarence Square Park and its London feel gray townhomes, Portugal Square and good old St. Mary’s, endless shopping and the throbbing pulse of Queen West. There is an artsy sense cast from the intermittent galleries and up and coming businesses mix men in blazers with bearded hipsters seamlessly among the historic warehouses and boho loft offices that give off that true downtown vibe.
Are you thinking about calling Fashion District your new home?
Contact us today, and we can get started on finding you a home in this one-of-a-kind Toronto neighbourhood