5 important things you need to know about Yorkville

January 16th, 2014

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With two of our projects in Yorkville, there’s no doubt that it’s our favourite neighbourhood. And now that we’re bringing our latest project 1 Yorkville there too, we thought we’d highlight five important facts about the neighbourhood that makes it so fascinating and keeps us developing more projects there.

1) Yorkville was named after the Town of York and was founded in 1830 by Joseph Bloor (who Bloor Street is named after). It was then incorporated as a Village in 1853 and was eventually annexed by the City of Toronto in 1883. Even though it’s now a part of Toronto, Yorkville has always maintained its unique charm and identity to this day.

2) Today Yorkville is known for its elegant shopping and dining but back in the 1960s, it was Toronto’s “bohemian cultural centre.” Yorkville was the hub of Canada’s hippie movement where artists like Neil Young,  Gordon Lightfoot, Margaret Atwood and Joni Mitchell all hung out. In fact, ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,’ a line from Joni Mitchell’s famous “Big Yellow Taxi” refers to a spot in Yorkville. That particular parking lot was eventually converted into the Village of Yorkville Park.

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3) TIFF celebrities frequent the shops and restaurants of Yorkville year after year, but before King West, Yorkville was THE hot spot for TIFF for more than thirty years. The area was once home to a number of cinemas including the Uptown Theatre and the University Theatre which was once the largest movie house in Canada and the centre for TIFF.

4) In the 1980s Yorkville began to transform into the luxurious neighbourhood that we all know it for today. This started because of the condo boom that Toronto experienced in the mid to late 1980s when housing prices soared and speculation became rampant. The real estate market experienced a bit of a slump in the 90s but by the 2000s, luxury condos had sprung up on almost every corner of Yorkville.

5) Today Yorkville has firmly established itself as Canada’s most expensive neighbourhood thanks to retailers like Holt Renfrew, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Tiffany’s who have set up shop on Bloor Street. Both Holt’s and Harry Rosen moved into the neighbourhood in the late 1970s and 1980s, and the addition of the Bloor-Danforth subway, helped transform Yorkville from Canada’s capital of the hippie movement, to the Mink Mile.

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Images taken by Karina PerezLucy Wang and Chris Barker.