North York is one of the cities that in the 1997 City of Toronto Act became a part of the Toronto mega-city. North York has a unique charm being its own brand of multiculuralism. There are many aspects of North York that make up the vast proportion of Toronto living, from its university, historical sites, and various unique neighbourhoods, North York has become a city within a city.
North York has the following districts:
- The Peanut. Don Mills Road, between Sheppard and Finch Ave, this community has a significant public housing population, immigrants and refugees, sole-support families and youth. It has been an area with a notable level of criminal activity.
- York Mills. Yonge St and Leslie St, Lawrence Ave to Highway 401. Home to the famous Bridle Path, lined with multi-million dollar estates and mansions, this area boasts the highest household incomes in Canada. Also home to Glendon College, part of York University.
- Central North York. Yonge St, from Highway 401 to Finch. Rural in character until after World War II, this is the central business and cultural district. Home to a performing arts center, movie theatres, shopping centers and other amenities, the area boasts significant concentration of highrise condo buildings and an impressive skyline.
- Lawrence Manor. Allen Rd to Avenue Rd, Briar Hill Ave to Highway 401. Developed in the 1950s, this is the heart of Jewish Toronto, when many Toronto Jews moved out of the city core. Many orthodox Jews live on the residential streets off Bathurst, which is lined with synagogues, Hebrew schools, bookstores, delis and kosher markets.
- Little Moscow. Bathurst from Sheppard to Steeles and Steeles from Dufferin to Younge. Known for its Russian populace, with a large Russian Jewish population, one will find various stores with russian signs. As in it's multi-ethnic namesake city, there're Russians, Ukranians, Georgians, and other ethnic groups from former USSR. It has grown significantly since breakup of the USSR and has recently swollen into Thornhill and Richmond Hill.
- Korean Strip. Yonge St between Churchill Ave and Steeles. Second largest population of Koreans in Toronto next to Little Korea downtown, it is one of the largest congregation of Koreans outside of their native land. Known for its karaoke Fridays. Large numbers of Chinese live here as well. You'll find the Persian Section bleeds into the Korean strip to the south.
- Persian Section. Yonge St between Finch and Steeles. Many Persian grocers and restaurants line this section of Yonge Street, while the residential streets house a large Persian population. Some of the cheapest and best Shish Kebabs, Halva, and Baklava can be purchased here. You'll find the Korean strip bleeds into the Persian Section to the north.
- Downsview. Downsview was originally a farm located in the 1870s near the present-day intersection of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. It now extends beyond the intersection of Sheppard Avenue and Dufferin Street, in the former City of North York. The area includes several large post-WWII subdivisions. It includes Downsview Airport, the former site of Canadian Forces Base Downsview, recently largely converted into an urban park known as Downsview Park. The airport is still used as a manufacturing and testing facility for Bombardier Aerospace.
- Jane and Finch Corridor. The area is roughly bounded by Highway 400 to the west, Black Creek Ravine to the east, Grandravine Drive to the south, and Shoreham Drive to the north within Downsview. The Jane-Finch community has long been a media darling, with attention focussed on crime and gang activities. While there is little doubt that Jane-Finch has crime, there are other areas of North York and Toronto which have similar challenges. It also has one of the highest proportions of youth, sole-supported families, refugees and immigrants, low-income earners and public housing tenants of any community in Toronto. In January 2009, there was an effort to return to its original community name of University Heights to get rid of its notorious tag.
- Flemingdon Park is bordered on the north by Eglinton Avenue East, on the west by the Don River (west branch), and on the east and south by the Don River (east branch). The 2 branches of the Don join at the neighbourhood’s southwest corner. The south border is technically a parkland access road formerly known as Old Lawrence Avenue. The community derives its name from its original owner, Robert John Fleming, the mayor of Toronto in 1892-1893 and 1896-1897, and the nearby Don River. This is another community with a significant criminal rate as well as highest proportions of immigrant, low income and sole-support families.
Central North York developed as a result of the subway and it is, therefore, easily accessible by transit. The Sheppard, North York Centre and Finch stations on the Yonge line and the Yonge station on the Sheppard line all serve central North York. From York Region, Viva express buses run to the Finch subway station, as do GO commuter buses and a large number of TTC buses.
The York Mills and Lawrence stations, also on the Yonge line, also serve North York, but south of the North York city centre. The Spadina line, also running north-south (like the Yong line) has the Downsview, Wilson, Yorkale, Lawrence West and Glencairn stations west of Yonge. Some of these stations would be convenient to visit Lawrence Manor while the Downsview station buses would take you to Jane-Finch and York University.
All of the Sheppard Line is in North York. In addition to the Yonge station mentioned above, there are also Bayview, Bessarion, Leslie and Don Mills stations.
Other areas of North York are not served by rapid transit (subways). Some areas are well served by bus, with waiting times as little as 5 minutes between buses, while other areas are less well served, resulting in times as long as 20 to 30 minutes between buses, particularly outside rush hours.
- Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy (One set of lights east of Jane Street, on the South side of Steeles Avenue (follow the Village signs). TTC: Bus Steeles 60 West route from Finch subway station or Jane 35 route from Jane subway station. YRT: From the York University Terminal take the Route 10 (Woodbridge) bus or the Route 20 (Jane-Concord) bus to Jane Street & Steeles Avenue. From the Vaughan Mills terminal take the Route 20 (Jane-Concord) bus to Jane Street & Steeles Avenue), ☎ +1 416 667-6295, . To visit Black Creek Pioneer Village is to journey back in time to discover life in early Ontario. The Village is an example of a typical crossroads community found in the Toronto area during the 1800s. Here you will do much more than just learn about history. You will taste it, smell it, touch it, hear it and walk through it. As you explore 40 carefully restored heritage homes, shops & gardens, history will come alive as interpreters and artisans in period dress help you discover how settlers lived, worked and played.
- Toronto Aerospace Museum, Parc Downsview Park, 65 Carl Hall Rd (From Downsview subway station bus route 101, 108 Downsview, the 86 Sheppard West, Westbound or the 84 Sheppard West, Westbound. From Sheppard subway station, bus route 86 Sheppard West), ☎ +1 416 638-6078 ([email protected], fax: +1 416 638-5509), . W 10AM-8PM, Th-Su 10AM-4PM (). The Toronto Aerospace Museum (TAM) is dedicated to developing an exciting educational, heritage and tourist attraction at Parc Downsview Park, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1997, we are an important year-round attraction within Parc Downsview Park, Canada’s first urban national park. The TAM is located in a building that isn’t just full of history, but is part of history from the days of fabric and wire biplanes of the 1920’s to the dawn of the space age and Canada’s first satellite, launched in 1962. This historic building at Downsview is the original 1929 home of de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd., one of Canada’s most successful aircraft manufacturers.
- Edwards Gardens and the Toronto Botanical Gardens, 777 Lawrence Ave E (South west corner of Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue East, accessible from Eglinton Station, take Lawrence East Bus 54 or 54A), ☎ +1 416-392-8188, . Dawn to dusk every day, year round. 35 acres of 20th century naturalistic parkland famous for rhododendrons, seasonal perennials, roses and wildflowers on the uplands.
- Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Rd (Don Mills Rd south of Eglinton Ave E), . It has several hundred interactive and passive exhibits focusing on science and nature.
- York University founded in 1959 as an offspring of the University of Toronto, is one of three universities in Toronto and is quite excellent in its education offerings. Some would say that its northerly location in the suburbs of the city give it a homey feel while its structure and landscape are breathtaking. Others feel that it is remote and lacking in architectural distinction. Visiting the university is easy, it may be accessed by the 106 bus from Downsview subway station on the University-Spadina line.
- Glendon College, part of York University, but located on its own, very green and historic campus, is home to a bilingual faculty of liberal arts along with a few graduate programmes. It also has links with College Boreal, the French-language community college serving southern Ontario. It can easily be reached by several buses emanating from Lawrence station on the Yonge line.
- Seneca College is the main community college serving North York (though Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning attracts many students from the western part of North York especially). Seneca has several campuses, the largest in the eastern section.
- Centre Point Located at Yonge and Steeles, the place is the last bastion within the city of Toronto for a one stop shop on Yonge Street, although quality and selection are not the greatest.
- Fairview Mall Located at Don Mills and Sheppard, at Don Mill Subway station. Recently renovated, and still shiny, it has two levels and about 1 million sq.ft. of retail, including large multi-level department stores Sears and the Bay, and brand name shops like the Apple Store, HMV, H&M, GAP and so on. It also has a large food court and movie theatres. Very easy to access on the Sheppard subway line.
- Bayview Village Mall Located at Bayview and Sheppard, it is a relatively smaller mall. The defining factor is its large share of luxury and upscale boutiques, of both international and Canadian designers. It has a large bookstore (Chapters) and two fine food grocery stores (Loblaws and Pusateri's). It's also home to one of largest LCBO (liquor stores) in Ontario, being one of the LCBO's flagship stores. If you can legally buy it in Ontario, LCBO Bayview Village will have it, with a large Vintages section of fine and rare wines to boot. It is only two subway stops from Don Mills and Fairview, or one away from Sheppard-Yonge station.
- Yorkdale Mall Yorkdale Shopping Centre was 1,200,000 sq.ft. when it opened in 1964 with 110 stores. It cost 44 million dollars to build. Today Yorkdale is over 1,600,324 sq.ft. and has over 200 stores and services. An additional 165,000 sq.ft. of state-of-the-art entertainment and retail space have been added in the summer of 1999 thus making a visit to Yorkdale a better shopping experience than ever before. It is the best mall to visit in Toronto outside the downtown core. The mall is easily accessible by transit, with a subway station of the same name on the University-Spadina line as well as a bus station services by GO commuter buses and local TTC buses.
- Tovli's South of Steeles and Bathurst, Tovli's serves tradition Isreali Middle Eastern foods, no pork allowed!
- Nox On Sheppard and Yonge Nox is a Korean bistro that serves inexpensive food that tastes fantastic.
- Sakura's On Sheppard and Yonge, Sakura's is a fine Japanese & Korean restaurant with excellent meals. Absolutely everything is delicious and their service is top notch.
- Great Khan Mongolian Grill Located next to Pacific mall Mongolian Grill is a buffet that allowed you to pick your meat (chicken, lamb, beef, or pork) accesorize it and have it cooked in front of you by skilled chinese cooks.
- Elsewhere There are dozens of plazas and strip malls in North York that beg for exploration. Don't be dissuaded by visions of suburban purgatory! If you have your own transportation, you can explore and sample tasty authentic Persian, Middle Eastern, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Jewish, Chinese, Caribbean, Indian, Latin American or classic diners and more. Often at better prices and greater quality than downtown strips. When multiculturalism is talked about in Toronto, it is the areas of North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke
- Chaihana, 1000 Finch Avenue West, ☎ 416 650 1973, 289 814 0019 ([email protected]), . Mon-Sat: 11:00AM – 11:00PM, Sun: 12:ooPM – 10:00PM. Chaihana serves authentic cuisine from the regions of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and beyond - classics such as plov, khinkali, manty, beshbarmak, khachapuri, shakarob, lagman are avaiable for very reasonable prices. Check their website for full menu.
Asahi, at the North West Corner of Bathurst and Steeles is a great place to grab a dinner if you aren't in the mood for anything too fancy and very reasonably priced. Staff are also exceptionally friendly.
- Hotel Novotel Toronto North York, 3 Park Home Avenue, ☎ 416-733-2929, .
- Liberty Suites Hotel, 7191 Yonge Street (North of Steeles, on the East Side.), ☎ 905-604-9400, . Simply Stunning unique facility located just north of Steeles on Yonge. The hotel lobby is situated on the 12th floor, and the suites occupy the levels above. Every suite offers very large floor to ceiling views of the city. Extremely clean and modern, with all the conveniences of home throughout! Rates are very reasonable and the staff is very professional!
- Pan Pacific Toronto, 900 York Mills Road Toronto M3B 3H2, ☎ +1 416 444 2511 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12pm. Located in northeast Toronto, the hotel offers comfortable rooms and suites along with a fitness centre and pool. Starting from USD 110. (43.7568619,-79.4206354)
Like any major city, North York (as part of Toronto) has its share of crime, though far less than the rate found in American cities of equal (and even smaller) size. While it is easy to name specific areas (Jane and Finch, Don Mills and Finch) these are based as much on local legend as police data. Additionally, they tend to be out of the way and purely residential areas and so most tourists will have little reason to venture to them. A lot of the crime is gang-on-gang and in the wee hours. Practice good safety routines, keep your wits and you'll be fine. Plan your route ahead of time as best you can and avoid walking alone at night in deserted areas. Feel free to enjoy late night events, sights, sounds and smells in areas with lots of people. All said, North York is generally one of the safer areas of Toronto, and there is little to fear. If you seem lost or confused, simply ask someone!