Toronto Neighborhoods Focus â€“ Bloor West Village
If Roncevalles Village boasts a past that recalls the name of a famous gorge in the Battle of the Pyrenees, Toronto’s Bloor Street West boasts that its rise can be traced to the beer of the Bloore Brewery.
If the appeal of a history of a British-rooted pub and brewery isn’t intoxicating enough, today’s residents can soak up nature in any of the myriad of green spaces and parks that complement the hundreds of shops and eateries.
While the parks entice young families and seniors, the growth of the shopping district can be, in large measure, attributed to the TTC subway system, that penetrated the Bloor West Village area in the late 1960s. In turn, the arrival of the subway network saw the establishment of Toronto’s and the world’s first NPO Business Improvement Area in 1970.
The Bloor West Business Improvement Area is determined to keep the retail/restaurant areas vibrant, unique and attractive to locals and visitors, and has been instrumental in the design and operation of the area. 400 distinct shops set in an European village design capture the distinctive flavour of the area.
Several other residential neighbourhoods border Bloor West Village, including High Park North (with its many semi-detached early 1900s homes & newer high-rises), Runnymede-Bloor West Village with its mix of myriad 2-storey brick homes intermingled with newer, larger homes. Bloor West Village, itself, is home to a concentration of younger families, who enjoy the world-class parks such as High Park, playgrounds, the High Park Zoo, and the numerous public & private schools located in the area. Today, homes are a mix of the 1920s style detailed European classics with oak accents and craftsman quality, and more modern efficient and open styles.
Students move from King George Junior Public School, Runnymede Public School, or the Catholic private St Pious X Elementary or James Culnan Catholic School through Runnymede Collegiate Institute or Humberside Collegiate Institute (high schools). Technical and career schools include Ursula Franklin Academy or Western Technical Commercial School.
Historically, Bloor West Village began, in the 1850s, as the property of Lieutenant Colonel William Smith Durie, of the Queen’s Own Rifles. In 1909, the district became part of the city of Toronto.
Populated largely by Ukrainian settlers arriving as part of the great 1909-1912 immigration initiative, the community continues to celebrate its eastern European roots with an annual festival – the world’s largest Ukrainian Street Festival.
Bloor Street is a street name instantly recognized by almost every Canadian, as an iconic part of Toronto. But locals know Bloor West Village as an eclectic community, with cultural depth and a safe, welcoming place for families to grow, thrive, mature and retire. It truly provides a village feel in the heart of Canada’s most vibrant and populous city. The Bloore Brewery may no longer be the feature of the community, but we can all raise a glass to the founding father of this great “village.”
Further neighborhood info on Bloor West found in this great article in Toronto Life – click here