The Annex, South Annex And Seaton Village See All Neighbourhoods
For urbanites drawn west of the crossroads of Yonge and Bloor – which is arguably the centre axis of the city by virtue of the intersection of the Yonge and Bloor subway lines – lie three magnificent neighbourhoods which share the amenities of colourful Bloor Street starting at Avenue Road running west to Christie Street. Here The Annex, South Annex and their little sister Seaton Village make up the fabric of Toronto’s urban residential quilt.
The Annex proper has boundaries that run west of Avenue Road, south of Dupont to Bloor, with Bathurst on the west. The Annex has been home to some Canadian icons throughout the ages, including the Eaton and Simpson families in the early 20th century and in more recent decades brilliant minds like poet Dennis Lee, author Margaret Atwood and environmentalist David Suzuki – among many others. Originally home to some of the cities wealthiest residents, these homes are stately and have distinct architectural qualities like pyramidal roofs, turrets, recessed grand archways and wooden spindled porches. In the decades since they were originally built, many of these homes were subdivided into apartments – or torn down and replaced with rental high-rises through the 1960s and 1970s – though many single family homes still remain. In fact, with desirability in demand, the deconversion back to single family residences is blossoming full force.
The Annex is one of the city’s oldest and grandest merchant class neighbourhoods. This area possesses a quiet elegance, steeped in history that draws you in. While these homes are indeed grand (and many have the price tags to match), they are visually arresting and contemplative, surrounded by mature trees which make for languid, thoughtful streetscapes. These houses date from 1880 through to the early 1900s and bear some of the most interesting original architecture in Toronto.
The South Annex is the closest to the University of Toronto, runs south of Bloor to College and west of St. George to Bathurst and is home to many faculty and students alike, mixed together harmoniously with urban professionals, all embracing the qualities of pedestrian living, with everything they need right at their doorsteps. Here the housing stock is a bit more mixed. While residences also date from the 1860s to early 1900s, the smaller lots and more demure houses were originally home to those less affluent than The Annex, though some streets like Brusnwick and Palmerston have some pretty swish architecture. Harbord Village – on Harbord Street- serves the locals – plus those of us who love food – for this is where you’ll find some of the city’s top restaurants and cafes. Mirvish Village, to the west just south of Bloor Street west of Bathurst offer excellent shopping for the retail wanderer, with a good selection of boutiques, as well as classic book stores and purveyors of all sorts- which set the stage for a leisurely afternoon of browsing.
Seaton Village (also known as the West Annex) runs north of Bloor from Bathurst, west to Christie and south of Dupont. Dating from the 1900s, this pocket is home to Edwardian row and semi-detached dwellings of a more modest scale, making the price point generally lower than the neighbouring Annex and South Annex. This area is hugely popular with families, given its home to reputable Palmerston Avenue Junior Public School and Vermont Square Park with its playgrounds, wading pool, rinks and ample green space. The park is also home to St. Albans Boys’ and Girls’ Club, which provides recreation and educational opportunities for children of all ages and their families.
The housing in these neighbourhoods range from magnificent to humble, with an assortment of Victorian and Edwardian row, semi and detached residences that vary by street.
If you seek a neighbourhood that is authentic, the subtleties and nuance of which reveal themselves when strolling down one of the tree-lined streets, then this is the spot for you. Residents and housing enthusiasts get a daily experience that is refreshingly understated and nearly devoid of the pomp and circumstance of other venerated neighbourhoods.