Bayview Village Neighbourhood Profile
A convenient neighbourhood near upscale shopping and the highway
By Elysse Zarek, revised by Sarah Bleiwas
The Bayview Village neighbourhood is rectangular-shaped and bounded by Sheppard Ave., Bayview Ave., Finch Ave. and Leslie St.
Bayview Village began as a farming settlement in the 1800s, but urban development didn't begin until the 1950s. Homes in the area - mostly ranch-style bungalows and split-level houses - were built in the 1950s, and the winding residential streets situated on picturesque ravine lots have a time-capsule feel.
There are also a large number of affordable condominium townhouse communities in Bayview Village. After the completion of the Sheppard subway line, rapid real estate development came to the neighbourhood in the form of new luxury condominium towers.
Bayview Village has an upscale feel, solidified by the posh Bayview Village Shopping Centre, with its wide walkways, slate-coloured floors and designer boutiques.
Bayview Village by the numbers
12,397: neighbourhood population
1,125: number of Jews
320: number of Jewish seniors
$1.1 million: median price for a single detached home
$1,900: median rent for a two-bedroom apartment
population figures - 2001 Canada Census
Several decades ago, as the Jewish community expanded northwards, community planners anticipated a growth of Jewish life along Bayview Ave. It seemed logical at the time: the Jewish community was successful on Bathurst St. and was looking to expand to the east. And so schools and synagogues were built including Beth Tikvah Synagogue, United Synagogue Day School (now Robbins Hebrew Academy) and Temple Har Zion on Bayview Ave., and a dayschool and a Jewish community centre on Leslie St. During the 1970s and 1980s, the schools and synagogues were full. However, the community didn't stay.
Although today there are still Jews on Bayview Ave., the area can’t compare to Bathurst St., the Jewish spine of Toronto. This was a case where the demographers’ predictions didn’t work out.
According to Statistics Canada, the Bayview Village neighbourhood has more seniors and fewer children when compared to the rest of the city. The Bayview Village area has also benefitted from surges in immigration, with the majority of immigrants arriving in Canada since 1990. Chinese, Persian and Romanian languages are often heard in the streets. However, Jewish is still on the top 10 list of ethnicities living in the neighbourhood. The Jewish population of Bayview Village is now around 1,125, with seniors making up more than 15 per cent of the Jewish population. Only five per cent of the children in the neighbourhood are Jewish.
Beth Tikvah is a traditional Conservative synagogue on Bayview Ave., on the border with the Armour Heights neighborhood. Its members travel from as far as Richmond Hill, Pickering and the Beach to attend its Kabbalat Shabbat services. Beth Tikvah has several youth programs and a congregational school, and its choir has won several awards for its music programming. As well, Beth Tikvah houses Tikvat Hayim School, an award-winning educational program designed for children with learning challenges.
Jewish facilities in other areas are easy to access. Many residents go to Temple Emanu-El or Kehillat Shaarei Torah in York Mills, or any of the number of synagogues in Forest Hill, Thornhill-Vaughan or Thornhill-Markham.
Residents with school-aged children can go to Robbins Hebrew Academy, a Conservative day school with classes from junior kindergarten to grade eight integrating Jewish and General studies programming. It is housed in Beth Tikvah.
Because of the proximity of Highway 401, it’s an easy trip to Bathurst St. for anything else, including TanenbaumCHAT, the community high school, and other synagogues, schools and shops.
Shops and Services
The upscale Bayview Village Shopping Centre is where locals go both to buy and to window-shop. Another nearby mall is Fairview Mall, located on Don Mills Rd., which has all the major retail stores. Also nearby on Leslie St. is Ikea, the furniture store popular with students and young newlyweds – and Canadian Tire, a home-improvement mega-store.
North York General Hospital is located in the southeast corner of the neighbourhood, as are a number of other medical buildings.
The neighbourhood was built to incorporate the parklands that run alongside the East Don River, so there are many opportunities to frolic in Bayview Village’s public parks. The East Don Valley Parklands provide open green space with beach and picnic areas, walking trails and numerous sports facilities including a swimming pool.
For indoor recreation, there is a general community centre with a fitness club and pools.
For recreation, theatres can be found along Yonge St. between Finch and Sheppard Aves, or at Fairview Mall on Don Mills Rd. Many residents head further south for other forms of entertainment.
There are many different ways to get to, from and around the Bayview Village neighbourhood. Highway 401 at the south end makes it possible to zip across the city in minutes, although traffic can be heavy during rush hour. As well, Highway 404 and the Don Valley Parkway to the east connect to the downtown core and the northern reaches of the Greater Toronto Area. Motorists are approximately twenty-five minutes from downtown via Yonge St. or Bayview Ave.
Retiree Marshall C. moved from Willowdale to a condo in Bayview Village in 2003, "It's convenient. We're practically on top of the highway, we're near the Don Valley Parkway (a north-south highway leading downtown), everywhere you have to go."
The Sheppard subway line runs beneath Sheppard Ave. and connects to the Yonge subway. Access to the Yonge subway line (at Yonge St. and Finch Ave.) is a short drive away, and bus routes operate on all the major roads in the neighbourhood.
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