It’s no secret that Toronto has some of the best neighbourhoods in the world. West Queen West was recently voted one of the “coolest neighbourhoods” in the world by by Vogue Magazine, Harbord Village is deliciously over-caffeinated thanks to Sam James Coffee, and Kensington Market retains its unique character even as development pressure looms. This year, a new batch of neighbourhoods will blossom, replacing rundown storefronts and abandoned buildings with new developments, trendy restaurants and cafes.
Here are my picks for the top 5 ‘hoods on the rise in 2015.
The area near Weston Road and Eglinton Avenue has been transformed in recent years. With the closure of the Kodak Plant in 2005, the 23-hectare site awaits redevelopment in conjunction with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which itself will prove a major boon to the area. There’s already an indie coffee shop in the form of Supercoffee, and the somewhat controversial Nyctophilia street light art project is slowly being accepted as a important addition to a neighbourhood in the midst of change.
Long Branch and New Toronto
South Etobicoke has always been an alluring place, given its access to the lakeshore and proximity to downtown-bound transit in the form of the 501, but these neighbourhoods are poised for a boom as development pushes west from the Humber. You have developments like the upscale Minto Townhouses and Condos and Watermark Long Branch. Long a place with decent coffee culture thanks to Fair Grounds Organic Cafe and Roastery, the arrival of a new Sense Appeal location signals an area on the upswing.
There’s many great reasons why Dovercourt Village is a neighbourhood on the rise; the first being that Dark Horse Espresso will soon open up a fifth location in the Artisan Factory building near Dupont and Dovercourt, and the second is the Bellwoods Brewery, which is on the way too. Perhaps even more importantly, Geary Avenue has quietly become a hub for artist-run live music venues, with S.H.I.B.G.B’s and Geary Lane ensuring that the area’s artistic character lives on.
The times they are a changin’ for Little India. A chunk of the South Asian population has moved to the suburbs (think Brampton) and a new younger generation are now buying properties. The area set to get a major makeover in an effort to revitalize a streetscape that’s grown tired over the last decade, but new business like Brickyard Grounds are also pitching in. More exciting is the coming of The Tree House Townhouses, one of the city’s most unique real estate projects, which will touch down just east of the neighbourhood. The stacked townhouses will feature 37 cubed units separated by a courtyard, rooftop terraces and garden patios.
West Don Lands
The West Don Lands is a neighbourhood under major construction near the Don River in the city’s east end. If you’ve never heard of it or the new Canary District, you will (a lot) in 2015. The once industrial wasteland is now the site of some exciting new projects including the central hub for the summer Pan Am Games, Corktown Common, the new community park and green space and something called a “woonerf,” the city’s first shared street for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. There are new developments happening at an accelerated pace including the architecturally stunning River City Condos and the Canary Park Towers.
What did I miss? What neighbourhood do you think will blossom in 2015?
Writing by Alana Charles