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Housing and Neighbourhoods

Toronto enjoys a strong, growing and diverse real estate market that remained stable throughout the global economic recession. Buyers and renters in Toronto can choose from a unique supply of residential options including houses, condominiums, rental apartments and lofts available in a variety of vibrant and colourful neighbourhoods, each with its own personal characteristics and charm.

Housing

As of May 2010, the average cost of a home in Toronto was $446,593, with the cost of a two bedroom rental unit averaging $1,100 per month (see table). As with other large centres, the cost of housing varies by neighbourhood and depends upon local amenities, walkability, housing stock, access to transportation and other factors, but as far as global cities go, Toronto remains one of the most affordable.

Real Estate - Residential May-10 Apr-10 May-10 M-M (%) Y-Y (%)
New Home Sales 3,004 3,196 2,520 -6 -6.0
Souce: Building Industry and Land Development Association
Housing Starts (City of Toronto) 1,432 1,410 772 1.6 85.5
Housing Starts (Toronto CMA) 2,927 2,663 1,931 9.9 51.6
Total Sales 9,470 10,897 9,589 -13 -1
Average House Price* 444,593 437,566 395,609 2.1 12.9
Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Toronto Real Estate Board
* Modified CMA

Source: City of Toronto, Economic Indicators May 2010

To find a house, apartment or realtor in the Toronto region go to www.realtor.ca.

Additional Resources


Neighbourhoods

The Neighbourhoods of Greater Toronto

Toronto is a vibrant urban centre made up of 140 eclectic, lively neighborhoods. These neighbourhoods are a distinct feature of Toronto's urban geography growing even more pronounced with the amalgamation of the cities of Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough into the current City of Toronto. Within each area of the City, neighbourhoods perform the important civic function of bringing people together through festivals, concerts and community events.

Toronto is the fifth-largest city in North America and the largest in Canada; yet, strolling through one of its many charming neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Greek town, The Annex, this big city suddenly becomes much smaller.

The Annex

The community surrounding the University of Toronto is among the most diverse in the city. This is where bohemia and academe meet, with art houses, theatres, beatnik coffee shops, discount stores and well-stocked bookstores peppering a dense kilometer of restaurants and bars. Anchored in the southwest corner by Honest Ed's - the eclectic landmark discount store of the late philanthropist Ed Mirvish - the neighbourhood is also home to Koreatown. Ever lively, this area reflects the liberal ambience of university life, with kitsch meeting nerd-chic head-on. The myriad restaurants and shops make the Annex ideal for dining, shopping or simply lounging around.

More Information: http://www.bloorannexbia.com

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The Beach

Take in the lake breeze. Enjoy the relaxed pace of pedestrians and Queen Street's eclectic mix of chic clothing boutiques, antiques shops, quirky stores, coffee houses and restaurant bars. Head south to the lake, past refurbished cottage-style homes, then hit the sand and stroll the impressive boardwalk. The coast evokes quaint Atlantic towns of the northeastern United States. The boardwalk and beach is a favourite destination for sunbathing crowds and sports enthusiasts who can enjoy volleyball, cycling, tennis or sailing.

More Information: http://www.beachesbia.com

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Bloor West Village

One of the City's greenest neighbourhoods, Bloor West Village, on the north end of High Park, offers a leisurely adventure in Eastern European pastry, coffee and culture. Delicatessens brim over with sausage, perogie, paska (a traditional Easter bread), borscht and other mouth-watering European goodies.

High Park is a large and varied natural area located in west Toronto. In total, the park is made up of almost 400 acres of wooded hills, gardens, large bicycle and walking trails, tennis courts, athletic facilities, a petting zoo and a hillside theatre popular for its annual "Shakespeare in the Park" productions. High Park is a popular destination for families, dog lovers and visitors to Toronto.

More Information: http://www.bloorwestvillage.ca

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Bloor-Yorkville

In the 1960s, Yorkville was the focus of hippie culture in Toronto. Now, it is more “hip haute” with its designer boutiques and fine dining. Alongside five-star hotels are charming Victorian restorations housing galleries, fashion and décor boutiques, and chic cafés and bars. At its southern edge, high fashion retail reigns supreme as the “Mink Mile” of Bloor Street features international retailers like Gucci and Hermès alongside Toronto's own Harry Rosen and William Ashley.

More Information: http://www.bloor-yorkville.com

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Cabbagetown

Formerly a working-class enclave, Cabbagetown is now a gracious cluster of lovely parks and renovated Victorian homes with iron fences and manicured gardens. Parliament Street, Cabbagetown's main street, is not so much quaint as it is eclectic - a hodgepodge of restaurants, cafés and boutiques. In one of Toronto's oldest neighbourhoods, stories of the city's evolution whisper around every corner.

More Information: http://www.oldcabbagetown.com

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Chinatown

Always bustling with crowds of shoppers and vendors, Toronto's Old Chinatown is home to some of Canada's best Asian restaurants and best-stocked Asian stores. Besides Chinese imports, this ever-busy area sells Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese products, with shops and sidewalks alike crammed full of food items, clothing, jewelery, home décor, electronics and toys. The range of culinary offerings is bountiful - Chinese (Szechwan, Hunan, Mandarin and Cantonese) regional dishes, traditional Vietnamese sandwiches and phô (soup) and Thai specialties.

More Information: http://www.chinatownbia.com

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Church-Wellesley / The Gay Village

Home to Canada's largest gay community, Toronto welcomes gay and lesbian visitors with a full slate of things to see and do all year round. The Village is nestled in the downtown core, at the intersection of Church and Wellesley Streets. Packed with cafés, restaurants, shops and clubs, this neighbourhood proves it's fabulous to be gay in Toronto. Real pride in the Village is grandly proclaimed with the joyous extravaganza that is the Pride Parade that caps a week of citywide celebrations every summer.

More Information: http://www.churchwellesleyvillage.ca

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The Danforth / Greektown

Walking along Danforth Avenue reveals Toronto's rich Greek heritage. This neighbourhood is constantly abuzz with crowded sidewalks and street-front patios. There is also strong contrast here, with traditional Greek grocers and classical architecture alongside trendy nightclubs and cafés that stay open late into the night. Weekends are particularly lively as the many excellent Greek restaurants offer up authentic saganaki and spanakopita with music and revelry. Every summer, Toronto becomes a Greek city for a weekend as the "Taste of the Danforth" festival attracts over one million people to celebrate Greek culture.

More Information: http://www.greektowntoronto.com

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Downtown Yonge

A trip to Toronto wouldn't be complete without visiting Yonge Street, Toronto's iconic thoroughfare and the longest street in the world. Yonge is an ever-evolving combination of addresses that reflect the latest in urban trends. The heart is Yonge-Dundas Square with its industrial urban aesthetic, a dynamic venue for community celebrations, theatrical events and concerts. Among the area's top attractions are the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, the last operating "double-decker" theatre complex in the world, and the 230-store Toronto Eaton Centre.

More Information: http://www.downtownyonge.com

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The Entertainment District

Centered around the landmark theatres of King Street West, the Entertainment District is densely packed with trendy restaurants and one of North America's liveliest nightclub scenes. Walking along King Street means walking alongside Canada's most famous icons whose names line the sidewalk forming Canada's Walk of Fame. Find top attractions here, including the CN Tower and Rogers Centre, as well as the new permanent home of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Bell Lightbox.

More Information: http://www.torontoed.com

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Financial District & PATH/The Underground City

Among the spectacular glass and steel architectural monoliths beats the financial heart of the country. This skyscraper jungle benefits from artful parks, green spaces and whimsical artistry. Toronto's Financial District is compact - and walkable, even in inclement weather. Beneath its sidewalks lies the one of its kind PATH, the Underground City, with 27 kilometres (16 miles) of interconnecting passageways leading to 50 office towers, 1,200-plus stores, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions, as well as access to 5 subway stations and the Union Station train/bus terminal.

More Information: http://www.toronto.ca/path

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Gerrard East / Little India

Hailed as the largest South Asian marketplace in North America, Gerrard India Bazaar, also known as Little India, is where Toronto's Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi communities congregate. Restaurants and greengrocers offer regional dishes and local ingredients, and the myriad shops sell tunics, saris, scarves and jewellery. Dining options abound for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

More Information: http://www.gerrardindiabazaar.com

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Guildwood

Guildwood is another of Toronto's most beautiful and exclusive neighbourhoods. The main entrance to the neighbourhood is marked by a formal stone pillar and cast iron gateway. Its major landmark is the historic Guild Inn situated on 90 acres of property overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs. Tourists and local residents visit the Guild Inn to enjoy its historic architectural walking tour and rustic woodland nature trail.

More Information: http://guildwood.blogspot.com

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Kensington Market

Experience first hand Toronto's rich cultural mix at Kensington Market, a dense labyrinth of narrow streets where the shops are stacked with produce and gift items from Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. The streets where cars struggle to pass offer a virtual trip around the world, with global finds in the vintage and second-hand clothing stores tucked in amid eclectic restaurants and cafés. Every day is busy here, with fishmongers, shoppers, street musicians and impromptu speechmakers crowding the laneways. It's no surprise that Kensington is ranked among the best street markets in North America.

More Information: http://www.kensington-market.ca

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Little Italy

La dolce vita thrives year round in this stylish yet warm neighbourhood, where restaurants and bars serve up well-executed traditional Italian dishes, lattes and espressos complemented by lively banter. Here the streets are lined with upscale Italian clothing shops, gelaterias and cappuccino houses. Whether daytime or evening, this is the perfect setting for people watching. Nowadays, Little Italy is home to an influx of immigrant families from Asia, Latin America and other Mediterranean countries, but it remains the City's cultural core for Italians. It is also one of Toronto's best nightspots.

More Information: http://littleitalycollegest.com/

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Old Town Toronto

Old Town Toronto is home to St. Lawrence Market, Corktown and the Historic Distillery District, as well as an abundance of boutiques, theatres, galleries and restaurants. Its well-preserved Victorian architecture houses distinct neighbourhoods where local arts and stylish restaurants are heartily celebrated by visitors and residents alike. The St. Lawrence Market, a lively farmers market, sits where the city originated in 1793 in what is now referred to as the Old Town of York. Formerly the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, the Historic Distillery District has evolved into a centre for arts, culture and entertainment, embracing a rich historical and architectural legacy. This pedestrian-only village houses art galleries, museums, boutiques, artist studios, bistros and cafés.

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The Queensway

The Queensway is an affordable west end neighbourhood that offers both convenient access to downtown Toronto and numerous recreational opportunities at the nearby South Humber Parklands. This relatively low profile neighbourhood has quietly earned celebrity status with many television, movie and commercial productions filmed around Queensway Park.

More Information: http://www.torontorealestateboard.com/about_to/neighbourhood/regions/etobicoke/90.html

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Queen West

Over the past decade, trendy restaurants, clothing chains and purveyors of art and chic house décor have descended on Queen West, but they haven't diluted this colourful strip's street-cool factor. The strip is lined with tenacious textile stores, antiques shops, tattoo parlours and shops selling “real vintage.” Sleek loft condos and a flurry of new dining spots, fashion boutiques and start-up art galleries, combined with bustling watering holes, restaurants and grab-and-go ethnic eateries, make Queen West a virtual carnival of culture, creativity and attitude.

More Information: http://www.westqueenwest.ca, http://www.queenstwestbia.ca

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Roncesvalles Village / Little Poland

A community of Eastern European and Russian immigrants, this area is a mix of residential and small family-owned retail and food shops specializing in sausages, handmade perogies, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls and hearty soups.

More Information: http://www.roncesvallesvillage.ca

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The Waterfront

Stretching across the southern edge of the city, Toronto's waterfront area has a nautical nature that pervades its plentiful parks and shops. Queen's Quay Terminal historic building marks the strip's centre point along the harbour, with shopping, restaurants and an Inuit art gallery. Alongside, the expansive Harbourfront Centre is an arts hub with free festivals every weekend throughout the summer. HTO Park (a sandy strip complete with umbrellas and lounge chairs), Ireland Park and the Music Garden (designed by Yo-Yo Ma) all offer serene escape. Eat some seafood, grab a coffee and go for a stroll, enjoying the breezes blowing in from the lake and the view of sails bobbing on the water.

More Information: http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/

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York Mills

York Mills is one of Toronto's most affluent neighbourhoods. The mills are long gone, replaced by shining office towers and luxury condominiums. The area's main arterial roadways, Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue, were once impassable by car, but now serve as major roadways to and from the city centre. Despite all these changes, York Mills has managed to maintain a peaceful tranquility and natural beauty that has helped make it one of Toronto's most desirable neighbourhoods.

More Information: http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/cns_profiles/cns41.htm

Map of Toronto's 140 neighbourhoods
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