Yonge and Eglinton Neighbourhood Profile
Young and lively in the centre of the city
By Elysse Zarek, revised by Sarah Bleiwas
The neighbourhood around the intersection of Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. was once referred to – and sometimes still is – as North Toronto, but in recent years the whole area has simply been called Yonge and Eglinton, after the two defining streets.
At the turn of the twentieth century, North Toronto was a large agricultural estate. It later grew into a commuter suburb to the growing city of Toronto. Today, the famed intersection is near the geographic centre of the city.
The glittering TV screens with their 24-hour advertisements, constant rumblings from the buses lumbering out of the nearby station and steady stream of people going back and forth from the office towers, shopping centres, coffee shops and stores make Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. one of the busiest corners of the city.
The hustle bustle around this busy intersection has made the south section of the neighbourhood (below Eglinton Ave.) popular with singles and young couples, while the north part (above Eglinton Ave.) is home to more young families with school-age children.
The housing market in the area reflects these changing demographics. Residential areas in the south section mostly consist of apartment buildings - from newly built luxury condominiums to affordable co-ops and rentals. There are also a number of duplexes and walk-up apartment buildings too. Although there are houses in this neighbourhood, (mostly large, three-storey, custom built homes), there are fewer single-family dwellings than in other areas.
Housing in the north part of the neighbourhood is almost the reverse. The homes are varied, including bungalows, semi detached and fully detached. As one travels towards the intersection at Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave., the presence of low and high rise apartments is noticeable.
Overall, the average house price here is more expensive than more northernly neighbourhoods like Lawrence Manor, Armour Heights, Newtonbrook and Willowdale, and less expensive than affluent neighbourhoods like the Annex and York Mills.
Yonge and Eglinton is where the young people are. According to Statistics Canada’s 2001 census, there are approximately 75,000 people living in the Yonge and Eglinton area. Over 29,000 people – or 39 per cent – are between the ages of 25 and 44. Meanwhile, there are 4,810 Jews in this neighbourhood; 33 per cent of which are between the ages of 25 and 44. Compared to the rest of the city, the immediate area around this intersection has far fewer children, youth and seniors than other city neighbourhoods. Residents tend to be young professionals. Many are single. In recent years, the area has been given a new nickname: Yonge and Eligible.
For Melissa and Aaron, the decision to live at Yonge and Eglinton was based on geography. She grew up in Forest Hill; he’s from Thornhill-Vaughan. Yonge and Eglinton was the middle ground that pleased them both. The couple now rents an apartment one block from the Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave.
Yonge and Eglinton by the numbers
75,175: neighbourhood population
4,810: number of Jews
6.4: % of Jewish residents
545: number of Jewish seniors
105: Russian-speaking households
1,600: Jewish residents between the ages of 25 and 44
$835,650: median price for a single detached home
$1,376: average rent for a two-bedroom apartment
population figures - 2001 Canada Census
“It’s so close to everything,” says Melissa, 27. “I’m two blocks from the grocery store, the subway, shopping, the gym. I get my hair cut two blocks from my house.”
Aaron, 29, teaches high school in the Greater Toronto area. Because the highway is so close to their apartment, he can get from home to work in exactly half an hour, driving out of the city and against rush-hour traffic.
The Jewish life at Yonge and Eglinton is about the people. Seventy-four per cent of Jews in this area are of working age. In some parts of the neighbourhood, as many as nine per cent of residents are Jewish, but in other areas, only two per cent of residents are Jewish.
Jewish Family and Child's Jerome D. Diamond Adolescent Centre is a children’s mental health centre, dedicated to providing hope and help to youth with educational, emotional and/or behavioural challenges. It is the sole community institution at Yonge and Eglinton, although others are only a 10-minute drive away in Forest Hill or York Mills. People who move here often base their decision on things like proximity to shopping and transportation: concerns like proximity to Jewish schools aren’t as relevant when many residents don’t have children. Yet there is no denying the Jewish presence at Yonge and Eglinton.
Shops and Services
Nearly every major intersection has a grocery store or variety store on its corner. The biggies are the Metro Supermarket in the Yonge-Eglinton Centre and at Bayview and Eglinton Aves. There are also a number of specialty clothing and furniture stores west of Yonge St. in the Forest Hill neighbourhood. There a number of kosher restaurants starting west of Eglinton and Yonge, closer to Avenue Road and Bathurst Street.
Just east of Yonge St. is Mount Pleasant Rd. with antique and collectable shops that attract an international clientele. This stretch of road also has a wide selection of restaurants.
The corner of Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. can provide entertainment for all ages. Movie theatres, shopping centres, boutique stores, fitness centres, coffee shops, clubs, bars and restaurants line both sides of the street.
The southern end of Yonge and Eglinton is home to a large park which is popular with young children for its playground and wading pool. Also available are tennis courts (and an active tennis club) and a baseball diamond. There are numerous other parks scattered throughout the neighbourhood, some with picturesque walking paths and ice rinks for wintertime fun. The public library is also close by.
A stroll around the neighbourhood will reveal that boredom is impossible here.
The primary method of transportation for residents is by foot. Because everything is no more than two or three blocks away, many residents trade in their cars in favour of walking. However, for farther trips, motorists can take the Don Valley Parkway, which is just east of the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood and connects to all the major highways in and out of the city.
The Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood is also conveniently located near both Eglinton and Davisville subway stops. Many residents are in walking distance to one of these stations, and those who are not can easily take one of the many buses that run along all the major streets.
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