The Best Places to Live in the City: A (Mostly) Scientific Ranking of All 140 Neighbourhoods in Toronto
In Toronto, we develop stubborn loyalties to where we live. We grow familiar with a couple of blocks and identify as west- or east-enders, or as the sort of person who can only live above or below Bloor. We brag that our neighbourhood has the friendliest people, the biggest backyards, the most coveted French immersion school, the greengrocer with the juiciest peaches. But what if we’re wrong? In a city with so many great pockets, and many more improving faster than you can say gentrification, the competition for the title of Number One is cutthroat.
To end the uncertainty, Toronto Life presents the ultimate ranking of the city’s neighbourhoods. We examined 10 factors for each, assigning them a score out of 100: housing (which considers year-over-year appreciation and the ratio of average price to household income), crime, transit, shopping, health and environment, entertainment, community engagement (which factors in voter turnout and beautification projects), diversity, schools and employment.
A team of researchers at U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute think tank—who have an abiding interest in the growth of cities—helped crunch the data, pulling from a wealth of sources, including Statistics Canada, the city’s exhaustive statistical research, the Toronto Police Service, the Centre for Research on Inner City Health and the Fraser Institute (you can read the Institute’s explanation of their research process here). The goal was to be thoroughly objective, but we also took into account that some factors will always be subjective when measuring the quality of a neighbourhood. To some of us, a truly great neighbourhood has a dozen nightclubs, while to others it has the cheapest houses. We conducted an online poll of Toronto Life readers, who told us what they prioritize when choosing where to live, and adjusted the rankings accordingly: housing is weighted highest, at 15 per cent, crime at 13 per cent, transit and shopping at 11 each, health and entertainment at 10 each, community and diversity at eight each, and schools and employment at seven each.
The results are bound to be controversial. The top 10 are a surprisingly varied group, ranging across the city, from some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods to some of the most modest. What all 10 share is the right combination of covetable qualities. Here are the best places to live in Toronto today.
The idea of Rosedale exerts a powerful effect on the city’s psychology—for a certain type of Torontonian, moving into the neighbourhood, perched just above downtown, is an incontrovertible signal that they’ve made it. The average household income is a tidy $386,076, and few detached homes go for less than $1.5 million. But Rosedale is not monolithic. Its winding streets, which seem designed to baffle outsiders, are divided into countless little pockets: there are the secluded mansions of Drumsnab Park, the family-friendly enclave of Nanton Avenue, the remnants of the lieutenant governor’s mansion in Chorley Park. (Then there’s Summerhill and Moore Park, both lovely and part of the same official City of Toronto neighbourhood boundary, but neither is quite Rosedale, if you ask most Rosedalers.) Nearly half the residents are renters, which means there are grad students and artists mixed in with the bankers and trust-funders. Low- and mid-rise apartment buildings poke out between the oaks and maples from Bloor up to St. Clair, and strolling along streets like Elm Avenue in South Rosedale, it’s hard to tell which of the grand old homes have been subdivided.
The area is notoriously resistant to change and proud of its understated elegance, especially compared with the flashier Forest Hill and the blinged-out Bridle Path. (David Thomson, Canada’s richest man, needed four separate zoning variances to build a two-storey addition to connect his two neighbouring homes on Roxborough Drive.) For the most part, the people who live in Rosedale value their privacy, but there are a couple of organizations that draw them out of their Edwardians. Mooredale House, one of the city’s first community centres, is the weekend hot spot. During soccer season, 1,700 little players from the centre’s house league swarm Rosedale Park (their parents, meanwhile, circle around Roxborough and Edgar Avenues in their SUVs, desperately looking for a place to park). Every spring, Mooredale also hosts Mayfair, a fundraiser where power-brokers kibitz in the beer garden as their kids scramble into bouncy castles and onto merry-go-rounds (Ben Johnson officiated the track and field events a couple years ago). And down in the valley is Rosedale’s new communal backyard, the Brick Works Park. Every Saturday in the summer, half the city seems to descend on the bustling farmers’ market, but throughout the week, it belongs to Rosedale and Governor’s Bridge dog walkers, who wend their way through ravine paths to reach the boardwalks around the ponds. The entire project first got off the ground thanks to a $3-million donation from the Hamilton Group’s David Young and his wife, Robin, who live right up the hill.
E. P. Taylor, one of Toronto’s greatest tycoons, started amassing the land to build Don Mills in 1947, and by the time construction was completed two decades later, he’d laid down the template for suburban development in Toronto and all across Canada. While his bold plan for a new community had many imitators, it has had few equals. Instead of completely razing the land, Taylor built the rambling, discontinuous residential streets around existing trees and green spaces, with generous square lots for the detached homes. The houses themselves are set back at varying distances from the main streets, and feature quirky mid-century design touches like gabled roofs sloping off the sides to form carports. Behind the streets, a maze of paths form an internal walkway system (typically filled with tykes on bikes), and nearly 20 per cent of the area is given over to parkland.
In 2009, the original Don Mills Centre reopened as the more upscale Shops at Don Mills, an open-air mall with its own network of streets and a central square with a sculptural clock tower designed by Douglas Coupland. The development has quickly transformed a sleepy suburban mall into a destination. Toronto’s most entrepreneurial chef, Mark McEwan, chose the setting for his first gourmet grocery shop, a giant toy store for foodies with wallets to match their tastes. (It also doesn’t hurt that the new LCBO is three times the size of the one it replaced.) In 2013, Taylor’s suburban idyll is still one of Toronto’s most desirable places to live.
In a city not given to grand civic gestures, High Park is an anomaly. First open to the public in 1873, the magnificent park’s 164 ecologically significant hectares are an urban paradise of hills teeming with cyclists in spandex, picnic areas filled with extended families and fitness boot camps, a giant pond around which fetching couples nuzzle unabashedly on the weekend and, of course, a zoo. East of the park, on the nearby Roncesvalles strip, a hip new restaurant, fishmonger or knick-knack shop seems to open up every five minutes. Tellingly, even some of the stolid citizens who reside in the stately set-back mansions along High Park Boulevard have laid claim to Roncey.
The area is heaven to left-leaning, Birkenstock-wearing professionals who abhor the flashiness of, say, Yorkville, but nevertheless pull in enough to afford the $2-million detached homes. You can’t walk a block without tripping over a toddler, particularly as you approach Smock, a new café where young mothers sip pinot grigio while their tots play with craft kits. On the other side of the park is Swansea, a secluded redoubt that was amalgamated into Toronto in 1967 and still has its own little town hall, which now serves as a community centre. The houses on this side of the park are a mishmash of styles—a Tudor here, a ’90s McMansion there. Near the bottom is the area’s culinary gem: the Cheese Boutique, an old-fashioned palace of fine foods run by the affable Pristine family, where regulars stop by for marcona almonds, dry-aged rib-eye or perfectly creamy chèvre.
Filled at the top and bottom with thick forests of apartment buildings from the 1960s, Mount Pleasant West’s population density surpasses that of urban Paris. A visitor to Toronto peering southwest from the corner of Yonge and Eglinton could be forgiven for thinking he’d found the city’s downtown. Every morning, streams of young professionals emerge from their apartments and filter onto the subway to head to their jobs in the real downtown, and every evening they return to fill the shops and restaurants along Yonge Street. (Welcome new additions to the strip: Boar, a sandwich shop from the owners of Rosedale’s beloved Black Camel, and Lil’ Baci taverna, an outpost of the Leslieville Italian restaurant.) Even the schools here have taken advantage of the neighbourhood’s staggering verticality: North Toronto Collegiate traded its old, rundown premises for a new $52-million glass and steel complex by selling off a parcel of its land to Tridel, which built a pair of condo towers there.
The new facilities are so good that one gym teacher postponed his retirement. Set against this resolutely modern cityscape, the charming, tree-lined central section of the neighbourhood feels like a time warp to 1930. Edwardian and English Cottage–style homes radiate out on narrow lots from the Church of the Transfiguration, and the quiet streets are filled with dog walkers. Old North Toronto meets up with modern-day Mount Pleasant at June Rowlands Park, a green space with a baseball diamond, a new splash pad and a weekly farmers’ market. But the future of the area will always be up: in 2004, Minto began construction on its Quantum towers, kicking off a development rush to rival the mid-century one. Yonge, Glebe and Eglinton are all preparing to sprout condo towers and townhouse blocks, and a new class of owners is getting set to move in and remake Mount Pleasant West once again.
Big changes are coming to the sleepy neighbourhood sandwiched between the Junction and the park. Ever since this western stretch of Bloor was designated by city hall as ripe for intensification, developers like Daniels and Great West Life have been assembling parcels of land and preparing to turn them into—what else?—new condo buildings with breathtaking views of the park below. Existing residents, perturbed by the prospect of three glass and steel behemoths along Bloor, have rallied to “save” the street by lobbying the builders to lop a few storeys off the planned mid-rises and replace the modern cladding with red brick. And they’re right—this is a substantial transformation. But it’s also an exciting one.
The buildings themselves—10, 11 and 14 storeys—are stepped back from Bloor and beautifully designed, with streetside courtyards and wood accents. However these fights turn out, it’s easy to see why people would kill to squeeze themselves into the neighbourhood, with its winding, hilly avenues full of old Victorians and Edwardians. It’s also home to Humberside Collegiate, with its popular French immersion program; the innovative Ursula Franklin Academy, where students take over the curriculum on Wednesdays; and the radically democratic Student School, which holds a bi-monthly general council meeting of students and staff. A budding community association has christened the zone between Keele and the CP railway line the West Bend. The name is starting to catch on with the young professionals who have been moving in and planting community gardens by the railway tracks. The other advantage of High Park North is its proximity not just to the park, but also to the ever-gentrifying Junction, with its taquerias, craft breweries and decor shops, and to the more sedate charms of Bloor West Village.
At Al Premium, the gleaming new 75,000- square-foot grocery store at Eglinton and Warden, bags of Filipino jute leaves share the aisles with sacks of Vietnamese glutinous rice flour, Caribbean spices and Halal meats. The cafeteria counter transitions seamlessly from shawarma to mutter paneer to pho to dim sum, and the bubble tea station, staffed by a teenager in a hijab, abuts the espresso machine. The store caters to the mind-boggling diversity of the westernmost bit of Scarborough, which fulfills Toronto’s promise as a multicultural city in a way that no downtown neighbourhood has in decades—nearly half of the residents here are visible minorities. The diversity is vividly realized at the annual three-day Taste of Lawrence festival, for which the local BIA manages to close off a six-lane suburban arterial to traffic (downtowners would be surprised at how many people opt to walk).
In contrast to the hectic excitement of the main streets, all is placid on the inner residential lanes, where pretty post-war bungalows on perfectly kempt lots go for less than $500,000. There are even a few reminders of the mid-1850s village that used to stand here, like the old Anglican Church of St. Jude in Wexford and a copse of gnarled, hundred-year-old oaks and sugar maples that somehow survived clear-cutting at the top of Wexford Park. Further north on Pharmacy Avenue is Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts, the east end’s magnet for budding singers, actors and artists, whose alumni include sculptor Shary Boyle, Canada’s representative at this year’s Venice Biennale; and Degrassi’s Nina Dobrev—and yes, the school’s “Gleeks” recently sang an earth-to-orbit duet with Chris Hadfield.
The snaking paths that connect the remains of the great and good in Mount Pleasant Cemetery are also some of the city’s most picturesque running routes, passing by fountains, gardens and hundreds of rare trees from around the world. It’s because of those trees that the midtown neighbourhood in which the cemetery sits has the city’s densest, plushest canopy. Unlike renter-dominated Mount Pleasant West next door, Mount Pleasant East feels like a small town full of professionals drawn by the quiet, leafy streets and central location. Housing stock here is a mix of brick semis and detached homes from the 1920s, with the occasional mansion and modern glass and brick stunner thrown in. One of the most attractive streets is Belsize Drive, which is split in two by a linear park, beloved by dog walkers, called Glebe Manor.
Homes don’t often come on the market, and when they do, bidding wars are the norm: one old semi recently went for $760,000—$80,000 over asking—after 200 visitors and seven bids. Of the two retail strips that flank the neighbourhood, Davisville Village, on the west side, is more interesting and varied than Bayview. Up the street is Mabel’s Fables, one of the city’s best children’s bookstores. The strip is also home to a 125-year-old camera club; two of the last small-time neighbourhood cinemas, the Regent and the Mount Pleasant; and three surprisingly good bistros, Célestin, Jules and Mogette, that fill up each weekend with families out for brunch.
The Beach is the only segment of Toronto’s waterfront that lives up to its enormous potential as a place to live and play. That’s why the 3.5-kilometre boardwalk is invaded every weekend by pleasure-seekers and why a detached home on one of the picturesque streets by the water seldom goes for less than a million dollars. It’s also why the word “Beach” has been climbing steadily uphill from the lake, first transforming the gracious homes north of Kingston Road into the Upper Beach and then spawning Beach Hill just south of the train tracks, the latter’s dubious connection to sand and spit notwithstanding. Residents of the actual area tend to stay away from the crush of beach volleyball and kitesurfing at Ashbridge’s Bay Park, sticking to the quieter eastern stretches or relaxing over a pint at the Balmy Beach Club, a relic of the days when the shoreline was filled with amusement parks.
The styles of the houses here are more eclectic than in just about any other old Toronto neighbourhood. By the water, tiny Victorian summer cottages mingle with low-slung apartment buildings and larger houses from the ’20s and ’30s, some featuring kitschy lakeside resort details like porthole windows. In the 1990s, Greenwood Raceway was torn down and replaced with Woodbine Park, which gets taken over by a different festival every summer weekend (Ribfest, the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival, the jubilant Beaches International Jazz Festival). To the east, there’s a dense New Urbanist development laid out on six streets, bringing new waterfront housing to hundreds of families in the area for the first time in decades (even if the trees have yet to fully grow in). Beach residents are famously averse to new development, and the first modern mid-rise condos are only now appearing along the fiercely protected Queen East retail strip.
Ask Mimico residents about their neighbourhood, and they’ll get a starry, faraway look in their eyes as they rhapsodize about their little commuter village by the lake. It’s easy to get swept up by the small-town feel of neighbours looking out for each other’s kids, or by the tiny waterside parkettes at the end of the streets, some with chess tables. Or, for that matter, by the bucolic cottages and bungalows on generous plots that go for about the same as a condo downtown. Every weekend, cyclists take to the lakeside trails and dog walkers brush by joggers in Mimico Waterfront Park, a new kilometre-long green space with pockets of wetland habitats, and boardwalks along the shore that connect to the waterfront trail. The Humber Bay Shores area just to the east is quickly filling up with 38- to 66-storey towers whose meretricious names evoke Miami Beach—Ocean Club, Jade, Eau du Soleil—but Mimico itself has so far resisted that kind of intensification.
A revitalization plan recently approved by city council caps off new Mimico buildings at 25 storeys while sprouting parkland and increasing access to the lake (it also allows developers to replace the crumbling apartment blocks from the ’50s and ’60s). After years of planning, GO trains are now running every half hour to Union Station (it’s a mere 15-minute jaunt for Bay Street–bound commuters), and new businesses are slowly creeping in, like FBI Pizza, a delivery outfit run by Queen Margherita Pizza alumni. Whatever real estate agents might say, the area is a long way from becoming the western Beach. The pace is less harried here, there’s not nearly the density of cutesy restaurants and shops, and Starbucks has yet to invade. And that’s precisely how Mimico residents like it.
In Casa Loma, house pride extends beyond property lines. When a townhouse developer began to gut the Georgian Revival residence of the late magazine magnate John B. Maclean in 2009, members of the residents’ association rose up and got the city to award a heritage designation. A new developer then stepped in with a plan to preserve the building, originally designed by Union Station architect John Lyle, by subdividing it into three residences, restoring and preserving as many historical details as possible. The entire drama was just repeated in short form to save an Arts and Crafts home formerly occupied by chocolate tycoon Charles Neilson. Even back when Sir Henry Pellatt first started laying out plans for the medieval fantasy castle that would give the neighbourhood its name, it was the Millionaire’s Row of its time.
The estates there were occupied by other self-made families like the Eatons, who lived in a Georgian mansion named Ardwold, and the Austins, who built a miniature Downton Abbey on Davenport Hill called Spadina House. Today, streets like Lyndhurst and Wells Hill are still home to some of the city’s nicest Tudor- and Edwardian-style properties. Further east is the family-filled Republic of Rathnelly, which irreverantly declared independence from Canada in 1967 (last year, the city installed street signs recognizing the secession), and the winding roads of South Hill. Society power couple David and Kate Daniels keep a magnificently restored art deco mansion nearby. It’s not all barons, though. Just north of the castle is a block of well-maintained rental buildings, and St. Clair and Avenue are full of charming old apartment blocks. The whole neighbourhood comes together in the middle at Sir Winston Churchill Park: high school students convene pickup soccer games, dog walkers let their pups loose in the large off-leash area and, in winter, tobogganers steel themselves for one the city’s steepest—and most scenic—runs.
160 thoughts on “The Best Places to Live in the City: A (Mostly) Scientific Ranking of All 140 Neighbourhoods in Toronto”
“…and the Fraser Institute.”
Annnnd we’re done, folks. Thanks for coming. Or did you figure out a way to unwrap heavily biased data?
It’d be helpful if there were a map to show exactly where the other 130 neighbourhoods exactly are. For example, Rouge is #21, and I have no idea where that is exactly. Help us out, Andrew D’Cruz!
York University Heights scored higher than the Annex? Are you guys on acid?
What a load of bullcrap courtesy of the psudo-academics from UofT.
Hmmm… it’s in the print version? But also, the neighbourhoods are the official City of Toronto ones, which are listed here: http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/profiles_map_and_index.htm
I learned a new thing today. Thanks, Andrew! Have now bookmarked that page.
Playter Estates-Danforth rank low on transit. Its right by the subway
Most of the top 10 are areas that I would not live in as they are too white, too car dependant and too full of lawyers. I am not trying to start a class war but frankly these areas are boring. Also the geographic boundaries are a bit skewed with areas that locals would not consider connected included in the same map (High Park Swansea is totally different depending where you are) and the Mimico photo is totally non representative of that area. I kind of hate your 1980’s like obsession with ranking communities against each other but frankly I found the rankings very unscientific and a bit laughable.
Mt. Dennis! We’re number 140, we’re number 140, we’re number 140!!
At least until the Crosstown LRT opens, we could get bumped to 139!
Ha! This is good: the Beach is ranked ahead of the Annex in the entertainment category (score of 81 versus 31 for the Annex), because the Beach has Ribfest and the Jazz Festival in the summer, while the Annex only has theatres, museums, bookstores, live music venues, a university and a college every day of the year.
Go back to reporting on the shenanigans of the ultra-rich Toronto Life, you’re better at that.
Bloor and Runnymede = Bloor West Village
Annette and Runnymede = Upper Bloor West
Dundas and Annette = Junction
Why don’t you get your information from the locals instead of “whatever this review is”
– Ahem’ garbage.
Your math is wrong. Either you din’t do a fact check, or you don’t care.
.Let’s take Oakridge, which you rank at 136 out of 140.
The top three weighted indicatiors make up 39% of the value. For Oakridge, these are
Interesting. You wouldn’t expect the 5th worst neighbourhood to rank in the top third of two of the three key indicators, and and the middle third in the other. So we can expect the next three that make up 31% to be right at the bottom, right? No?
That’s curious. The next two, worth 16%, must be dead last., right? No?
And finally, the last two, worth 14%…
Exactly one indicator, with the lowest weighting of all, falls below your overall ranking.
This is such unbelievable bullshit. There is no math that can make this work
Wow! People are getting quite angry with respect to the listing! I actually thought it was pretty accurate. I think taking into consideration schools, shopping, entertainment, crime, etc. this list looks about accurate. Further, as I am not an expert, I leave it to those that have been doing this for many many many years to know what they are doing!
What a suprise. All of these neighbourhoods, except the scarborough one, have lower or much lower % of visible minorities than the city average. Is that representative of this magazine or the readers.
Is this ranking based on Toronto life reader population? lol
high crime value = good?
The numbers do work if you look at the actual scores in each category rather than the ranking in each category.
Malvern gets a 96. Explain that one.
Junction 9/100 in entertainment? Uh…….we have two excellent breweries, street events, restaurants, movie nights? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
Valid, if you’re using Mayor Ford’s definition of “entertainment”.
This whole thing is bizzare. Banbury-Don Mills was given a diversity score of 92. 64% of the population is from Europe and British Isles.
Mimico is 9th and Roncesvalles is 80th?
I sincerely believe you could randomly rank neighbourhoods and come out with a more accurate picture of Toronto. As always you wonder exactly which city Toronto Life is writing about.
I would be interested to know on what criteria they base their transit numbers?
Bayview Village has 3 Sheppard Line Stations, including the lovely Bessarion station, 5 bus lines around the edges, and ends up near the very bottom.
Seems based on % of people who live within x metres of y transit trips per minute.
Not sure what you mean. the “actual scores’ would follow the same trend.
Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?
Bendale, Malvern, and Jane/Finch are 3 of the better neighbourhoods to live in!!?? This officially ends my subscription with you
??? How do you get a high transit score? I live in Lambton Baby Point, a 2-min walk to Old Mill Station, 5-min walk to Jane, and it got a 31.
How is Health and Environment measured…? what about air quality?
SOUTH RIVERDALE THUG LIFE 4EVA!!!!
The divisions of the neighbourhoods are a bit strange. 2 different high parks that include roncesvalles and the junction in the “good aspects” but for some reason both these neighbourhoods are down in the 80s and 90s?? While “high park” (roncesvalles) and “high park north” (junction) are 3 and 5? Doesn’t make any sense. High park north stops south of Annette street. High park does not include the roncesvalles strip..
Still trying to figure out how Rosedale has a diversity ranking of 77 and an employment ranking of 99. Who works in Rosedale? What a bizarre and confusing “study”.
Honestly the title of the article should be “whitest places to live in toronto.”
LOL…no boundaries? Where are the boundaries?
I never saw the appeal of the Annex…
Confusing. Kingsway South, whihc has one of the best JM schools in the city (Lambton Kingsway) and a decent High School (Etobicoke Collegiate) got the lowest possible ranking for Schools (1.0). How is that scientific?
I never knew that Jane and Finch, recently renamed University Heights, was a better place to live than the Annex. Good thing we have Toronto Life for such ‘scientific’ revelations.
Wow, I’ve spent all these years living in Leslieville (aka “South Riverdale”) and I never knew it was the most crime-infested neighb in the city. With a shocking zero out of one hundred! So in case anyone is interested to see literally the most dangerous community possible you need only hop on the 501 and cross the don valley…INTO HELL! What a joke.
What idiot put this together and how were they unaware that Leslieville has existed for longer than Toronto has, or that it most certainly isn’t part of “South Riverdale”? If you can’t even get that right, how could your list possibly have any credibility? Sweet Jesus.
Do we still tar and feather people in this town? I bet we could find the supplies in Kensington Market.
Yeah, they have to try to appeal to suburbanites in Ford Nation in order for the magazine not to fold.
Look at the overall map and it’s not so slanted. Only 2 Scarborough neighbourhoods in the top 20, but 11 of Scarborough’s 25 neighbourhoods are in the top 40. 14 of 25 are in the top half of the city. And they are generally in the more diverse parts of Scarborough too (ie most of these ‘good’ neighbourhoods are not along the lake).
I’d say if anything this map shows how underrated Scarborough is in general.
Here’s the breakdown of Scarborough neighborhoods (25 in total):
going to the zoo?
these are the borders used by the city of toronto.
Seems about right. The best neighbourhoods are generally the urban wealthy areas. After that are a mix of up and coming urban neighbourhoods (Little Italy) along with highly upwardly mobile (diverse) suburban areas (Rouge River, etc.). The more stagnant areas that are brought down by high housing prices after that. At the bottom are the urban/suburban squalor areas.
Who still calls it “The Beaches”…
City of toronto. On the city’s website has a list of all the neighborhoods and boundaries used for this article.
I think they mixed up the entertainment.and diversity scores. The Nike sports complex.is not that entertaining.
Hope you brought a stash of those little plastic bags. Cuz you’re gonna need ’em. What a steamer.
I’d be interested to have some details on the method for ranking. At least a few data points seems quite off (example: Yonge-Eglinton scored near the bottom for shopping). I feel like i might have wasted the last 15 minutes reading this.
theatres, bookstores and live music is everywhere. Get over yourself Annex.
I feel as though these results are a little skewed because of the variety of sizes of the neighbourhoods. For example Henry Farm was given a shopping ranking of 0 because the neighbourhood starts just below Sheppard. Just above Sheppard Avenue is Fairview Mall, which is considered to be part of Don Valley Village. So even though many “Henry Farm” residents can walk to Fairview mall in 5 minutes we still get a ranking of 0 in the shopping category…This is probably true of the school ranking as well but I am not as familiar with that.
High Park North is definitely not car dependent. You can get anything you want and do anything via bike or stroll. Fantastic neighbourhood. #smugbastard
Glad to see Toronto Life acknowledging that Toronto exists north of Bloor Street.
Those maps are horri-awful.
I 1/2 agree with you. Anyone getting bent out of shape over the Rotman School of Management deciding what makes a community good or bad needs to consider the tagline on their webpage: “the best education you can buy.” This is a sorta-scientific (in that someone got some data and put it in a machine) attention getter from one of UTs biggest money funnels. I give this community ranking all the weight you’d give an online opinion poll conducted by 1 newspaper (none). If this came out of one of the more social science oriented departments, that’d be a different story imo.
I know, right? I think it’s somewhere between the “Greenwood – Coxwell community” and The Beaches. Otherwise known as not exactly Riverdale.
How am I supposed to know what my neighbourhood is called? I’m not from Toronto and I can’t click on a large sized version of the map. So annoying, not everyone is from Toronto and knows everything about Toronto, it’s not the centre of the universe.
It’s rated lower than the Island, which is probably the least accessible place in the GTA.
Check City of Toronto’s website here: http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/profiles_map_and_index.htm
I thought the same thing at first and I was born and raised in Toronto so don’t feel as if this is a not-from-Toronto thing. I had no idea my neighborhood was named what the city says it is named and have NEVER heard anyone refer to it as such in this context.
Fifteen years ago Toronto Life published similar rankings for 2 or 3 years.
People picked holes in the rankings, left right and centre.
How am I supposed to know what my neighbourhood is called? I’m not from Toronto and I can’t click on a large sized version of the map. So annoying, not everyone is from Toronto and knows everything about Toronto, it’s not the centre of the universe.
Agree about the map. Disagree about it being the centre of the universe. Cause, you know, it is.
It wouldn’t matter if you knew what your neighbourhood is called.
The rankings are tied to the city’s development-districts they use for urban planning purposes which don’t correspond to historical neighbourhood boundaries (why they chose these districts for the study is beyond me) so you have situations where actual neighbourhoods are split into two districts, and other hoods are joined with separate ones.
How the hell did they come up with their entertainment rankings?
Parkwoods-Donalda, which is at the 401 and DVP, is ranked #5 for entertainment, while Little Portugal (which covers Dundas and Ossington) is ranked #59.
This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What kind of entertainment is there up there? Most restaurants are chains or nothing special, (aside from Casa Manila, this area is void of the usual strip-mall mom-and-pop awesomeness found in Western Scarborough for example). There are virtually no bars, and no entertainment venues to speak of.
How is there more entertainment than one of the top 3 entertainment districts in the city that also features one of the best parks in the City (Trinity Bellwoods)?
This makes absolutely no sense.
What an utterly worthless study that no one should pay attention to.
According to the study Island is #4 on diversity, even though it’s probably the most monocultural community in the whole city.
Remember – those houses can’t be bought or sold, they’re inherited, meaning they’re still within the same almost-entirely Anglo families that owned them back in 1950.
And yes, Regent Park, Moss Park, and many suburban neighbourhoods where over 60% of people aren’t white are way down below 120 in diversity rankings.
What a bunch of garbage.
Holy misleading! TL should be embarrased by this publication. Who the hell came up with this? 1. Some of these places arent Toronto. Scarborough, Etobicoke, are NOT Toronto. They should at least be weighed differently. (like -15 points for not realllly being a Toronto neighbourhood)The average house prices are WAY off. Perhaps they should have called it a GTA list. And cant someone be consistent of the boundaries of these neighbourhoods. I have fallen into 4 different neighbourhoods in Toronto Life over the years and havent even moved. Get your shit striaght.
maybe you should get out more.
riiight. because every neighbourhood has a Lee’s Palace, Bloor Hot-Docs, Mirvish Village, designated historic neighbourhoods, subway access and some of the best dining at all price ranges. if only i knew this earlier. (insert eye roll due to ignorance here)
aside from being “too white” i get what you are saying….but Id hardly call Toronto “white” at all.
ATTENTION: All newcomers to Toronto- Apparently Yonge and Finch is an up and coming place to live. (beats Trinity Bellwoods) just dont leave your house. ever.
The Toronto.ca map represents the cities attempt to arrange and define neighbourhoods for administrative purposes. The boundaries are based on historical precedent, but it can be fuzzy at times. In some cases, the boundaries are just plain wrong.
For example, Parkdale was an incorporated village with easily confirmed boundaries. If I’m east of Sorauren, West of Dufferin, north of Queen and south of the railway, I’m in Parkdale.
Bizarrely, in this map I’m considered part of Roncesvalles? You
know I’m right here. Why is there a South Parkdale if there isn’t a North Parkdale?
The results should be publish in tables , which would make it easier to find the contradictions.
Isn’t downtown considered a part of Toronto?
I have never seen a 3 bedroom house sell for under $1 million in Rosedale in the last 5 years. Where did that average come from?
Well unfortunately the GTA became part of Toronto a few years ago with something called amalgamation. Which is a big reason why our Toronto mayor isn’t from Toronto and could care less about actual Toronto. Unfortunately we’re stuck with it.
A big problem with the ranking is that the Annex scored 1/100 for schools. It seems that being 5 min walking distance to a bunch of schools, including UofT and George Brown isn’t good enough. There’s even some UofT buildings in the Annex, but that apparently doesn’t count either.
These neighbourhoods are great if you have a dual income but what if you’re single?
there are plenty of co-ops and condo’s too…
I think Trinity Bellwoods has twice the crime as Yonge and Finch. Maybe you’re thinking Jane and Finch? It also has a subway!
I was in Lislieville on Thursday afternoon. Saw two crack whores on Queen right by the park where kids are supposed to play. Nice.
I was wondering the same about Banbury-Don Mills. I have never seen a house sell for less than $700K in the last few years, especially in Banbury where house prices start at $1 million. Where did that average come from? Needs some serious updating.
Sort the list by schools. #83 has a school rating of 40. #84-140 all have ratings of 1. How can this list be published without even a spot check of the results to make sure that they reflect reality?
I live steps away from the corner of Woodbine and Lumsden(/Mortimer)… and am left somewhat speechless by our top-of-the-list “Crime” category rating. Our neighbourhood is “edgy” and rough-around-the-edges, but I certainly don’t feel that it is high in crime. Can TL indulge us with more information about how they calculated the “Crime” ranking?
TL readers are some of the most critical I have come across. Some people are getting awfully worked up defending their communities. If you take a moment to actually read how the data was collected and weighed, you may not take such personal offence to the results. Comments that the top rated neighbourhoods are “predominantly white” and “boring” are a horrible mis-statement. I live in the #2 rated area and am one of only two Caucasian families on my boulevard of over 100 homes. So we aren’t Ossington or the Annex with non-stop bars and restaurants but I used to live there and gladly traded that in for affordable/quality housing and protected green space. I can’t tell you what this has done for my happiness. As the article states, this is bound to be controversial and everyone’s priorities are different when choosing a neighbourhood; but take the material in context and you may learn something new.
I am also confused about this ranking. I live in this area as well, and I’ve never thought of our neighbourhood as crime-ridden. How is it that Woodbine-Lumsden has more crime than certain Rexdale areas or even Regent park? I hope people don’t use this list as a guide when moving to a new ‘hood. I can assure you Woodbine-Lumsden is not the actual ghetto of Toronto.
The people who live there, and anyone who isn’t snooty.
WAIT – I think I’ve got it backwards; a HIGH number is a HIGH (i.e.desireable) rating, which means that W-L is the BEST neighbourhood for crime.
That being said, like I said before, W-L is still edgy and rough-around-the-edges… so now I STILL perplexed at the way the “Crime” ranking was compiled.
Re: Annex and schools, I dont think they mean universities. I lived in the Annex, it’s not that great. Yes they have a bookstore, yes they have Lee’s Palace, yes they have some sushi, big whoop!! People that live in the Annex are pretentious. Get out and explore other neighbourhoods.
I always thought of Mimico as a trailer park with lobster traps and Newfoundland flags. Just bang on the door and hear all the empties rattle!
At least all of the neighborhoods are actually IN Toronto. BlogTO would have included neighborhoods from Vaughan, Markham and Mississauga.
That picture of Wexford looks great. Even better than the real thing.
Just about everyone who doesn’t live there,
And didn’t some guy get beaten and sliced to shreds then dumped on the railway tracks like 9 months ago? Police said it was once of the most violent deaths they’ve ever seen,
Wexford # 5 , you got that right. I have always suspected this place is an undiscovered gem until recently where the price of the Bungalows are going through the roof. I moved to this area a few years ago with the intention of moving out a few years later when my kids grow up. Guess what ? I am still here 10 years later. It is close to all methods of transportation,shopping and quite placid streets. When I first moved here it was mainly full of seniors. It is changing now as families with children are moving in.
Lansing-Westgate gets a 2.0 for Transit? Living right next to the 401 and a stone’s throw to the Sheppard-Yonge Subway interchange is ridiculously inconvenient, I suppose.
While I am reasonably happy with my community’s ranking (not completely horrible), the rankings for some criteria is bizarre. We have some amazing stately homes on at least 3 streets which cause most to go “WOW!” and houses here sell pretty quickly because of our great access to the rest of the City. And I don’t get how Jane and Finch area (which is segmented into 4 pieces) could rank higher than us with the exception of one area. But as rankings go, I am sure we were lower last year, so things are looking up! Can’t wait for next year’s ranking and a suggestion to TL: do a comparison from previous year so that people can see if their neighbourhood went up or down. But it’s all subjective — we know we have a great community! It’s all a matter of perspective…
I think there are two issues here: 1. The impact of crime is underrated. 2. The raters didn’t actually know the neighbourhoods that well. I moved from Weston to Princess-Rosethorn several years ago. The former is rated much better for shopping and transit. Other than more dollar stores and ethnic grocers in Weston (rarely frequented by Toronto Life readers I suspect), both neighbourhoods are equally bad. Transit is the same, perhaps marginally better in Princess-Rosethorn since the express to the subway is on a faster road and the airport is more accessible (by either car or TTC). What kills Weston (and Malvern, etc.) is the crime. High crime neighbourhoods may have superficially more community involvement, but are generally poorly kept (dirty, noisy, graffitti, etc.) There are just so many break-ins and shootings you are willing to accept. My impression of the list is that Toronto Life was revealing its general bias (well off, non-suburbans with a token “diversity” quotient).
In which decade of Toronto’s history does Jane/Finch score a 3 (!) for crime, while Etobicoke Westmall an 83?! I think someone accidently put the 8 in the wrong listing…
There are plenty of non-university public schools in the Annex.
Very surprised that Toronto Life went beyond their cozy snotty confines of the downtown core to find the best neighbourhoods in the city. Did they get lost on the way? :p
And we are suppose to feel your pain?? ……. A-ha-a-ha-ha!!!!!!
Clearly, you don’t know what you are writing about.
40% of the neighborhoods get 1 point oh out of 100 for schooling… damn… even home school is better than 1.0.
The #2 neighbourhood is 60% “white”, including Europeans. It has a lower number of visible minorities than the Toronto average. While certain blocks (The Donway) may have a higher concertration overall the neighbourhood is pretty white.
Revising, 83 is good 3 is bad. It’s score not ranking.
Well that should add to the entertainment ranking at the very least. Moving there in December–happy to know that any crimes I feel like comitting will fit right in with the neightborhood.
Lee’s Palace? What are you 16? Mirvish Village? Seriously? Cockroach infested dives on Bloor Street? Just for your information, these types of places actually bring the Annex score down.
Wow, were you guys just throwing darts at a map to pick everything after 10?
Forest Hill South 31 and Forest Hill North 90?
Clanton Park is 133 and Parkdale 86???
The best is that Downsview which is right beside Clanton Park is 28 and is hardly a neighbourhood cause it’s a giant park and industrial area!!!!
What an absolute joke.
Are the raw statistics available? Anyone know where?
So like many other regions that have things across the street but loose out, Wychwood gets a 1.0 for schools even though it has one of the best junior schools across the street from one border and a high school across the street from another. And how does that area, with Wychwood Park, Bracondale Hill etc. get a 9.0!! on housing?!? Try buying anything in that area for less than $700k or so.
Born and raised in Toronto, my work and social life has taken me all over the city for many years. I’ve been everywhere in Toronto.
Wychwood: 65, Wexford/Maryvale: 6, Trinity-Bellwoods: 41, Bendale: 25, Lambton Baby Point: 78, Agincourt South-Malvern West: 13.
These rankings are a joke but then again so is our current Mayor; the times we live in.
P.S. Jane & Finch is now apparently renamed University Heights . . . hilarious!
This study is a disaster. One glaring example, Danforth-EastYork is ranked 13th in Transit but has 0 subway Stations. I guess it gets its high ranking because it is attached to Danforth-Toronto and is in walking distance of that neighbourhood’s 5 Subway stations (as well as the City’s unofficial Eastern Transit hub: Pape). So what’s Danforth-Toronto’s transit rank? 75th!?!??
Cabbagetown serves me just great its number 1 in my books
Where is leslieville?
High diversity and employment? They’re probably referring to ‘the help.’
you’re full of shit but frankly who cares?
dufferin grove gets 2 for environment when its one of the best parks in the City (it was even written up in the NY Times for christ’s sake, but then you guys wouldn’t be reading that would you)
the kind of people take seriously these articles DO NOT take public transit disqus!
if in doubt you live in Rosedale
aren’t there some strip joints at 401 and DVP?
but it’s say “average house price $527,900”, so the “house” including co-ops and condo???
South Riverdale – last place on crime? How?
Parkdale Cntrl & Brockton Village
How, exactly, do about half of the city’s neighbourhoods rank a 1% in Education? Is it education of the residents? Educational opportunities in the neighbourhood? How pleasing to the eye the school grounds are? EQAO (the most biased and non-standardized test ever) scores?
I wouldn’t even call this survey pseudo-scientific, since there seems to be no information as to how the stats were compiled and what factors were considered for each one. First time I’d bought Toronto Life in a LONG time. Thanks for reminding me why I stopped!
Or don’t, and then the rabble that actually believes bs rankings like these will stay out of great neighbourhoods like Oakridge, leaving the rest of us to enjoy our shawarma in peace…
Nah, they see railway tracks and they’ll run away, screaming. I’m not that worried. They’ll never find the new bakery and the Bangladeshi place.
Let’s include government housing replacement costs
I think that means there is NO crime :)
Henry Farm has always been known as one of the best kept secrets in the GTA and you guys just confirmed that. We have a terrific neighbourhood association, great school, lovely walking trails, friendly neighbours, terrific shopping, 15 mins to anywhere, and low crime all tucked into tree lined streets. Perhaps the next time you do this article you might want to pay us a visit? We would be happy to show you around.
So New Toronto is 91 and Mimico is 9 – yet no one, not even the majority of people who live here know the difference. How does one block drop you 90 spots!
Sarah, south of Annette, west of Keele, east of Runnymede, and north of the park is actually called High Park North, as the article rightly suggests. Lived there 7 years now, am indeed a local, and never heard of ‘Upper Bloor West’.
This survey is so inaccurate, I took it upon myself to register just to write that. I’m familiar with many areas listed on this survey and many categories if not all are waayyyyy wrong in there ratings of particular area’s. This is a sham. sigh.
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Total garbage. The only empirically objective measure of the quality of a neighbourhood is price of the homes….because price considers all of the factors this study wishes to rate/rank and applies it in a subjective manner. The dollar is the final arbiter!
When was the last time you were there?
Location, Location, Location… and the closer you are to the core, the better value you have for your house. It’s all about the walk score in my opinion – and checking the best schools in the neighbourhood.
That’s where you should want to live. I’d rather live with the white folks as opposed to Jane & Finch with all its sketchbags and criminals. White people are great we stole this country from the Indians and made it what it is today
Newfoundland is far superior to all this garbage in Toronto. Why don’t all you dirty townies fuck off somewhere! Toronto is trash
There isn’t a single neighbourhood in Toronto that is liveable. The whole city is full of douchebag wannabe clowns that have never seen a forest and wouldn’t know how to block, split and stack a cut down tree.
You arseholes think that Toronto is the centre of the universe but it’s really a total wasteland.
No such thing as a “too white” neighbourhood
There are no good places to live in Ontario. Toronto is full of the worst filth imaginable
Too many NON-WHITES. Start culling “diversity” and make Toronto Canada’s Finest City again. Now it is a cockroach hole, thanks to diversity.
You’re forgetting the white guilt agenda thats being pushed by the liberal extremists. makes them fell forward thinking and enlightened.
Welcome to Detroit bruh.
there’s tons of meth labs too.
hahahaha the photo of mimico is not very representative of the area. i should know i live right by that house and have my whole life. there is a small stretch of picturesque cottagey mansions on lakeshore inbetween royal york road and symons. west of royal york there are more apartments. and east of symons is where the mimico southside apartments start. there are now many hipsters and young people with money in the area trying to start families, lots of people have been calling mimicos apartments “the great wall of mimico”. the buildings are old but these people fail to understand without these buildings mimico would lose its individuality and lots of the charms and nuances about the neighborhood people like would be lost in a sea of white typically canadian box stores and plazas with some expensive independant buisnesses mixed in. it bothers me that people want to make mimico out to be something it isnt. its a great neighborhood but it is not the “western beaches” as toronto life would have you believe. it is a mixed very multicultural area with its own range of social issues, poverty and drug/alcohol addiction have left there mark on the area and there are many prostitutes drunks and drug dealers/addicts out at night. however those issues doesnt mean it cant be named one of the top ten neighborhoods, cause i certainly think it was deserving of the spot it got, i love mimico for what it is not what toronto life would make it out to be. if you are coming to mimico with the idea of it being similar to high park or the annex or mount pleasant you are in for a very big surprise. especially if you come at night ahaha. i support keeping mimico ungentrified, over the years i have come to know and love many of the people here that would be lost if gentrification hit hard in mimico. it is real community out here we don’t need starbucks, or metro, we have mimico bagel and nofrills thank you very much! the hipsters will come and go but the strip isnt theres, the strip and the southside belong to the people who live on it. wall of mimico? those buildings ARE mimico. we keep it friendly out here everyone i meet is nice and sociable except for a few fiesty crackheads who wanna rob u when u see em. as far as gangs go there are some gang members but they keep to themselves for the most part. lots of people are out on the shore everyday chilling with there friends and drinking and having good times. i never understand why people wanna change it, its perfect
i want to know where they are getting ‘average house prices’…there hasn’t been a house in rosedale sell in the $ 950,000 range for decades…the average is likely closer to $2.5 million. same goes for all these neighbourhoods, the stated average is probably 50% lower than the minimum price you’d be able to find. Fact is buying a house in Toronto is out of reach for the vast majority that live here.
hahahah actually laughed quite hard, so true though
Malvern was an awesome place to grow up when I was there. It was actually suppose to be a model suburban neighborhood. The unfortunately forgot elements that kept it that way such as employment and newcomer resources that they have put in place now. Better late than never but still late.
How the hell was Riverdale South LAST in crime? Does that make any sense?
Hey man, then you bump me – Etobicoke West Mall! BTW this list is a bleeping joke.
Yes: you can keep that Starbucks in LongBranch, thanks.
And while FBI pizza’s ok, you totally neglected LaVinia (beside it to the West):the best Spanish resto in Toronto. (not just Mimico)
It’s been 40 years since you’ve visited, then. We miss the Newfie store, big time.
this is a thinly veiled “where to buy your next million dollar house, young parental units” click-bait
Roncy likely lost points for price and frequency of main street being uprooted.
A little ridiculous — especially if you make a more scientific, ‘technical’ comparison of neighbourhoods based on “transit” for example. Roncesvalles Village probably has the best transit options: Junction bus; Bloor subway; King streetcar; College streetcar; Dundas streetcar — and so on. Yet ironically it doesn’t “rank” by itself. And its housing is beyond unaffordable! Great place to live, but who can?!
A falling down shack that looks like it should be condemned is a half a million dollars. The best selling feature is it has a sewage line and that is followed by a exlamation mark.
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