What is the [Chicago neighborhood] of Toronto?
June 14, 2020 2:22 PM   Subscribe

My spouse and I are planning a move to Toronto from Chicago. I've been to Toronto a few times (family from Ontario) and my spouse has been there once, but we're feeling overwhelmed looking at all the different neighborhoods (and...suburbs? absorbed suburbs?) Can you help us find a place to live?

We live in Ravenswood, and spend a lot of time in neighboring Andersonville and Lincoln Square. We love this area and have been here for more than a decade. We'd love to find a similar neighborhood in Toronto.

What we have now/what we'd like to keep having:
- Walkable (for groceries, pharmacy, entertainment etc.) and well connected to public transit
- Lots of great small businesses (restaurants, shops, breweries)
- Green! Lots of big trees even on main streets, parks and nature areas, near the lake.
- Festivals and events pretty regularly during the warm season
- Vibrant but not too busy/trendy -- there are always people around doing stuff and it's safe to walk around late at night, but you'll never wait more than 15 minutes for a table at a restaurant
- This one is less important but I live really close to an ice rink right now and I love it

Apartment wants:
- The biggest challenge from what I've seen so far: I would prefer a low-rise building, and that seems like it might be harder to find in Toronto. We've always lived in 3-4 story walk-ups, usually with just a few units. I like how neighborly it feels, plus having access to a yard is great. But if that's not really a thing, I can let it go.
- We know that a comparable area in Toronto is likely to be more expensive. Until we have a better sense of what our income will be, our budget is ~ $2400 CAD for a 1-2 bedroom; small is fine, dank hole in the basement is not. Less would be better. (That's already a lot more than we pay here.)

Spouse will be self-employed and I am used to long commutes, so right now we're just focused on neighborhoods we'd like to live in so we can start our search. Thank you for your help!
posted by robot inside a grid to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bloor West Village. Check out places close to Jane, Runnymede, and High Park subway stations.
posted by nathaole at 2:27 PM on June 14 [7 favorites]


I was going to say the same as nathaole, above.
posted by rodlymight at 2:43 PM on June 14


Leslieville might be a nice area to consider.
posted by Lescha at 2:44 PM on June 14


Seconding Leslieville
posted by walkinginsunshine at 2:52 PM on June 14


St Clair West fits the bill, except it's not near the lake. Good number of walkup low rise buildings there too. Streetcar service to the subway. Wychwood barns has a farmer's market most of the year, and grocery stores are plentiful. Can typically get a table at restaurants, but who knows what restaurants will still be in business. Annual Salsa festival closes down the street.

The Danforth would do as well. It's closer to the lake, but not at the lake.

The Beaches would be another that meets the criteria set out. It gets a bit crowded in the summer, especially for fireworks on the holiday weekend.

Little Italy (College West) would be another.

More generally, Toronto is a safer city than Chicago, and just about any neighbourhood that meets most of your other criteria will be pretty safe.

There are numerous outdoor rinks scattered around the city. You won't have a long trip for one regardless.

Good luck!
posted by thenormshow at 2:52 PM on June 14


Agree that Leslieville might be nice - or its adjacent neighborhoods, Riverdale, The Pocket, The Danforth, farther out, the Beaches. The area is full of breweries (assuming they survive Covid). North of Leslieville is the Danforth with the big Taste of the Danforth festival every summer. Good parks include Withrow park (full of families, summer outdoor shakespeare, etc) and then further east Riverdale Park (big baseball diamond, gorgeous view, access to running trails, and...a small farm).
People tend to rent out floors of houses in Leslieville. With AirBnB suffering, it's a good time to nab something in your price range.
posted by stray at 2:53 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I'm not familiar with Chicago neighbourhoods much but on this point:

- The biggest challenge from what I've seen so far: I would prefer a low-rise building, and that seems like it might be harder to find in Toronto. We've always lived in 3-4 story walk-ups, usually with just a few units. I like how neighborly it feels, plus having access to a yard is great. But if that's not really a thing, I can let it go.

There are a lot of semi/detached houses in Toronto that have been converted into apartments, plus the occasional purpose-built 2/3 story building, hidden in a lot of neighbourhoods. Although in my experience the latter don't have any yard to speak of. So don't despair on that front.
posted by quaking fajita at 2:57 PM on June 14


The area north of Lawrence, east of Yonge Street has lots to offer, including smaller, older apartment buildings in surprising locations (that is, not right on Yonge). A 6-plex one block east of Yonge on Mt. Pleasant was just renovated and has units available at your price point. Shopping and restaurants on Yonge, a couple of parks, and a 7-10 minute walk to the subway. South of Lawrence, a library and a beautiful public garden that connects with one of the ravines. And lots of trees. It’s called Lawrence Park North by the real estate agents.
posted by strasbourg at 3:27 PM on June 14


- This one is less important but I live really close to an ice rink right now and I love it

Here's a listing of all of Toronto's indoor and outdoor ice rinks.

There are quite a few.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:10 PM on June 14


I live close to an outdoor rink at Rennie Park, which is at the foot of Runnymede (as per Bloor West village mentioned above). It's set on the edge of a wooded marsh and really nice. There's also a community centre with a pool across the soccer fields from it.

It's not far from the lake but be aware that everywhere west of downtown, a busy expressway and another busy 6 lanes of Lakeshore Boulevard are cheek by jowl with the water. There's a bike and pedestrian path but I find it too noisy.

The quieter spots along the water are at The Beaches in the east end. The Beaches themselves are a PITA to commute to and from but due north along The Danforth there are lots of funky shops (a huge Greektown) and a subway line. I think it's one of the cheaper areas to rent, compared to other places with restaurants, shops & transit. When I move again, it'll probably be there.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:01 PM on June 14


Lots of great small businesses (restaurants, shops, breweries)

Most of these are shuttered still, and an alarming number aren't coming back. It'll be months before we know what shape our neighbourhoods will be.
posted by scruss at 8:12 PM on June 14


Definitely Bloor West Village/High Park. Another option is Roncesvalles -- little harder in that your commute may involve a streetcar, but if you find a spot near the north end and are up for walking, it's easy to get to Dundas West station.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:03 AM on June 15


Dundas West / Roncesvalles fits all your criteria except maybe an ice rink.
posted by dobbs at 4:05 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


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