The neighbourhoods of the West End are some of the most diverse in the city, owing to its significant immigrant population and also to the gentrification of former industrial areas and formerly rundown neighbourhoods.
From the early 1900s, Italian immigrants who worked in railroad and road construction began buying up affordable Edwardian-style homes and opening up shops along College Street, in the area now known as Little Italy. The neighbourhood has become popular with young professionals because of its great restaurants and cafes, vibrant nightlife, and proximity to the downtown core. More recent Italian immigrants have chosen to settle a little farther north, along St. Clair Avenue, in an area known as Corso Italia.
Little Italy also has a strong Portuguese presence. However, that presence is more visible along Dundas Street with neighbourhoods marked as Little Portugal and Rua dos Açores (street of the Azores) on the local street name signs. You can find authentic churrasqueiras (Portuguese BBQ restaurants) in these areas.
Ossington Village is an area of shops and restaurants between Queen Street and Dundas Street. Prior to gentrification, this was a semi-industrial area with a number of automotive servicing shops of which the only one is still in business; another has been converted into a restaurant with the dining room in the former service bays. Some Portuguese businesses are found towards the north end of the area.
High Park is a huge park on the west side of the district having gardens as well as naturally wild landscapes. There is also a pond big enough to be considered a small lake. The 506 streetcar ends just inside the park in a rustic setting.
Just east of High Park lies Roncesvalles Village, named after a valley in northern Spain, which, oddly enough, is the heart of the city’s Polish community where you will find Polish restaurants and pastry shops.
North of High Park, centred on the corner of Dundas Street and Keele Street, you’ll find The Junction, so named because of the railroad lines that meet in this neighbourhood.
Along Queen Street west of Bathurst Street, formerly run-down neighbourhoods have been gentrified becoming very trendy locales. East of Dufferin Street is the ultra-hip West Queen West neighbourhood, an area home to many of the city’s hottest bars, lounges and cafes, including the ever-popular Drake and Gladstone Hotels. Going west of Dufferin Street, we pass through Parkdale, the new “it” neighbourhood, with its antique shops and quaint Victorian-style homes.
South-east of King Street and Dufferin Street is Liberty Village, a former industrial area that used to be crisscrossed with railway tracks that served the many factories in the area. With gentrification, the factories in the eastern part of Liberty Village were demolished and replaced by condominiums. The central portion of the area became a small shopping area. On the western side, the factories have largely been preserved but converted to house numerous small businesses.
Adjacent to Mirvish Village is Koreatown, located between Bathurst Street and Christie Streets (just west of The Annex and north of Little Italy). The neighbourhood is home to dozens of Korean (and Japanese-Korean) restaurants and bars, as well as Korean grocery, clothing and bookstores.
Much further west, past High Park, lies Bloor West Village, an area with quaint shops, lovely grocery stores with fruits and flowers piled high outside and a wide variety of restaurants line Bloor Street from Jane Street to Runnymede Road, while older houses, many in the American Craftsman style, line the area’s side streets. The area has a Ukrainian presence with its Annual Ukrainian Festival in September.
Available Properties in the West End
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