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any older atypicalToronto suburban communities worth a look

any older atypicalToronto suburban communities worth a look

Feb 10th, 2009, 10:03 AM
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any older atypicalToronto suburban communities worth a look


In Montreal, I enjoy some of the older communities that are nestled in the suburbs that are not generic suburbia, but have historic homes and churches, and have a sense of community and civic pride. Not to mention even some good restaurants and cafes! And occasionally some lovely river views... I think of Vieux Longueuil, Pointe-Claire Village, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Hudson. Not on the tourist map at all, but quite lovely residential areas.

Are there any equivalent communities (accessible by city bus or commuter train) in Greater Toronto worth a look-see (lakeview)? I don't really go for generic modern suburbia especially, the historic aspect is critical. I'm visiting in early March. Any ideas?

Daniel_Williams is online now  
Feb 10th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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In a word, NO!
SallyCanuck is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:34 PM
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True suburbs of Toronto are pretty hideous examples of suburban blight (I am thinking of Mississauga in particular - although Streetsville has some charm). Further afield but on the lake and accessible by Go-train, Oakville downtown is nice. Oakville across the highway is hideous.

The most interesting areas (my opinion) are actually in Toronto itself - The Beaches, Queen St. West, Dundas and Spadina (Chinatown), the university area (bounded by Bloor St, College St., University Ave. and Spadina, Gerrard St East (Little India), St Clair West - pasta and rasta depending on which end.
semiramis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:39 PM
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I have to promote my town . Burlington is on the commuter train line. It's beautiful downtown, which is the area I think you'd be interested it. It has a beautiful waterfront park, shopping and good restaurants in the downtown area. Beautiful older homes. I love walking around downtown, although I live on the 'other' side of the highway in a new area.

Having said this, I'm really not sure it's worth the train trip, when there are so many areas to explore in Toronto.
kodi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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I've been to Toronto a few times, and have seen some central areas like the central Chinatown (around Spadina I think?), Little Italy (the area just west of Kensington Market), Kensington Market, Pape St. area, Eglinton/Yonge area, etc... This time, I was hoping to mix things up by exploring a little further afield.

I tend to be an urban type of guy, but I've actually come to appreciate some of Montreal's suburbs, for their history, architecture and in some cases almost village-like quality. I could add to the list I already wrote... More central ones like Montreal West, Westmount/NDG and Outremont and further out ones like Vieux Lachine, Oka, Vieux St. Lambert, Dorion (the old part), Chambly, all have charm and history... Of course, we have our own blah suburbia too...

Oh well, I thought Toronto being pretty old (it was the York of olden times, no?), might similarly be surrounded by some interesting historic bedroom communities. I appreciate your honesty... and thanks for the heads up on Burlington; I'll be sure to read up.

Daniel_Williams is online now  
Feb 10th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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Dan, I forgot to mention, if you are at all interested, the Royal Botanical Gardens are in Burlington too.
I love Burlington and do recommend it. I just don't want you to come all this way and be disappointed.
kodi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 02:25 PM
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Oakville... more later.

And do these communities have to be outside themunicipal boundaries of the City of Toronto?

The Kingsway and Bloor West Village, combined, are worth a day, accessible by subway.

BAK is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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"And do these communities have to be outside the municipal boundaries of the City of Toronto?"

Not necessarily.

To give you and idea: Washington DC has Old Town Alexandria and Historic Annapolis. Philadelphia has Chestnut Hill and Manayunk. Boston has Cambridge (one of a number).

I suppose a common thread with the Montreal communities is that these "suburbs" existed long before suburban sprawl, sometimes were completely separate towns (in say, the 1800s), but as a result of location, got morphed into "greater metropolitan (plug in the name of city)". Their age though offers a compactness, walkability, history and architecture that one doesn't see in more recent "suburban communities".
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Feb 10th, 2009, 05:13 PM
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Port Credit, Oakville, Orangeville (pushing it a bit), pretty much any of the aforementioned closer-in areas. (Bloor West especially). Seeing as you mention Hudson in your OP, Orangeville's not so fare removed.

Lakeview's most notable for the former power station.
knickerbocker is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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Yeah the suburbs outside Toronto are pretty dumpy. The one already mentioned Streetsville has beautiful homes but don't know if it has much in the way of cafes and such. Most of the surronding historic little towns have been rAVAGED by urban sprawl. What comes to mind? Richmond Hill There is a little pocket of niceness, meaning historic homes, churches and shops but then it quickly turns into smart centres and eye sore condos.
You know I live downtown in Toronto, and we have some beautiful old historic houses on tree lined streets close to cafes,shops and a community feel. That is what I love about downtown really.
eagle3 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 09:34 PM
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Stay in the city. Have you been to Cabbage Town? Queen & Broadview?

Cabbage Town fits almost all of your your criteria except it's practically smack downtown. It has the greatest concentration of the best preserved Victorian architecture in Canada and all the civic pride you could possibly stomach.

Queen & Broadview is southeast of Cabbage Town. Sometimes this area is called Riverside. It's got lots of Victorian architecture too but Queen & Broadview is more hipster pleb and still has a certain amount of old school east-end character (and by that I mean the influence of motorcycle gangs but don't let that put you off) There are lots of cafes and weird shops and good restaurants.
Apres_Londee is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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I vote for Oakville - on the way to Burlington! Old Oakville, south of the Queen Elizabeth Highway is reachable by the GO Train. The downtown area has many great restaurants, cafes, shops and old churches. There are historic homes and are indicated by a plaque on front of home. It is also on Lake Ontario.
Scotia is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 05:07 AM
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Since you did say you wanted to explore a little further afield. Oakville and Burlington fit the bill.
Neither are dumpy, I can assure you. They both have downtown areas that are worth seeing(if it's further afield you are looking for).

If you go to Broadview and Queen, please notice the Ralph Thornton Community Centre. It was named in honour of my uncle.
kodi is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 05:42 AM
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Inside the city:

Assuming you like to walk...

Take the subway to the Royal York station near the west end of the East-West Bloor Danforth line.

Walk east (toward downtown) along Bloor Street, perhaps walking up (north) a few blocks and through the Kingsway neighborhood of beautiful homes, rturning to Bloor Street to continue your east-bound walk.

Once you gt back to Bloor proceed east past All Saint's Anglican Church and Park Lawn Cemetary until you see a bridghe a couple of blocks ahead of you. When you get to the Old Mill subway station, head north again for a block, to the Old Mill restaurant and confrence center, and the parks surrounding it, in the Humber River Valley.

Cross the bridge in front of the Old Mill, and walk on an angle sout-east back to Bloor Street, emerging onto Bloor Street near Old Mill Pontiac.

Keep walking eastfor a few blocks through Bloor West Village, home to a mix of Eastern Eueopean immigrants, young couples, dogs, inexpensive restaurants, a Chapters, a Book City, Timpthy's, SEcond Cup and Starbucks, some bakeries with coffee, and a branch of The Sunset Grill.

After you cross Runnymeade (another subway station) keep walking east past some old apartments, down into a valley and up again, and head south into the giant High Park.

There's a crummy zoo (free) and a great kids playground that looks like an old castle, and eventually you'll arrive at The Queensway and Lakeshore Blvd. (parallel, along the lake)

Get on a streetcar and ride back downtown.

If this sounds too long, start at High Park station to see the river valley, or Jane Street, just to see the non-nature park of Bloor West Village, instead of Royal York.


BAK is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Take the GO Train (commuter train) from the east side of Union Station west on the Lakeshore line, to Oakville station. Round trip about $13.

Get off the train and head south through the tunnel, instead of going into the station.

From the south parking lot, walk slightly south-east through the parking lot entrance to Trafalgar Road.

IF you like supermarkets and have never visited Whole Foods, from Trafalgar and walk to Whole Foods.

Good coffee, convenient washrooms, cheese and pastries to buy to fuel your next few hours.

Exit the other side of Whole Foods, and walk eastto the first traffic light. Cross the street and walk south through the residential neighborhood -- this is "Old Oakville" referred to earlier.

Keep walking until you get to Lakeshore Road -- cross and keep heading south to Lake Ontario. Turn right / west and walk for a few more blocks and then return to Lakeshore Road, and head west past the small, interesting shops, good restaurants, little park, etc.

When you get to Navy Stret, you'll ss a library and, just a little bit in front of you, a bridge.

Turn left / south down Navy Street and proiceed to the Lake Again. Notice the historic signs on the houses. There's a museum right at the lake, and a park. Head east for a few blocks past some more historical buildings, return up to Lakeshore past more old houses.

Depending on hunger, find a restaurnat you've scouted on your earlier west-bound walk along Lakeshore Road. grab a taxi, and return to the Go Station.

Trains leave for Toronto at 29 minutes after the hour, all day and evening.

(Mostly, they leave downtown for OAkville at X:43, most of the day, until mid afternoon, and then again once rush hour is over.

Train ride is about 37 minutes.

BAK is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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Hi Daniel,

I've done the Bloorwest Village walk that BAK described - it's quite pleasant. The walk is right along the subway line so you can stop when you want and there are lots of shops and cafe's along the way. The walk from Bloor street to the "crummy" zoo and kids castle park is a good distance. The zoo has animals such as Yaks, Mouflon Sheep and Reindeer, so nothing very exotic.

Cabbagetown is also fine. Riverdale farm is good for a walk.

These places are not in the suburbs though, so I guess you could always take the Go bus or Go Train to downtown Brampton but it would hardly be worth it.

Have a great trip.
marseillegirl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 11:53 AM
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You might also want to try Unionville, just north of Toronto.....very quaint with a historical air about it.....many nice shops and restaurants.
alicefazoooli is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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And for another take on the 'village in the city', try The Annex. Walk straight along Bloor from St. George and Bloor along as far as Bathurst. Then meander the side streets to your heart's content to see some marvelous old mansions.
LJ is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Thank you

I like the idea esp. of Oakville since it's closer than Burlington. And thanks for the in-Toronto suggestions too; every trip I go, I think "I must check out Cabbagetown" but other things seem to keep me otherwise occupied while I'm there, so has yet to happen.

Daniel_Williams is online now  
Feb 15th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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I take visitors to Unionville. It is located north of the city, off Hwy. 7 and east of Hwy. 404. It is charming. There is interesting architecture, and many restaurants and shops.
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