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Roncesvalles (pronounced Ron-cess-villes) is a quaint, primarily residential area, in the city’s west end. Originally purposed to be farmlands back in the 1800s, the Roncesvalles area is now home to small shops and multi-storey brick houses.
With schools, parks, independent grocers, everyday necessities and unique entertainment options, Roncesvalles will make you feel like your in some small town, removed from the tumult of the big city. But when you're looking to throw yourself into the Toronto fray, it's convenitent to have quick access to TTC streetcar and subway lines, and Roncesvalles delivers in this regard.
The Roncesvalles area provides a feeling unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere in the city. It’s an essential Toronto neighbourhood for those looking for something that's unique and happening, but away from all the hustle and bustle. These aspects have long made the area appealling for families, but younger singles and couples are starting to catch on as well.
Who lives in Roncesvalles?
The charming atmosphere of the neighbourhood, combined with convenient access to the city's major employment districts, lends itself to a working age demograpic that veers towards middle age. Roncesvalles is also becoming more popular with young professionals who want a quiet retreat and less expensive housing than what's on offer downtown.
The following data was obtained from the 2016 Roncesvalles neighbourhood census profile, and the City of Toronto Ward 14 profile. Average prices are determined by the realestatecondos.ca listings.
Population growth: -0.5%
Rent/Own: 70% / 30%
Median Age: 37
Average household income: 79,073
Average condo sale price: $1,855,559
Average condo rent price: $3,850
Average family size: 2
Population density: 9,851 people per square km
People living in Roncesvalles have no issues getting around. Whether they're performing daily activities in the immediate area or traveling to other parts of the city for work or play, nearby TTC options make it easy.
The Walk Score gave Roncesvalles a 91/100 grade, and rates it as one of the most walkable neighbourhoods in Toronto. While running errands in the area you should be able to get everything done on foot. And, not only is it convenient to walk the area, but it's enjoyable too! The small shops and unique atmosphere provides for a scenic backdrop to your daily errands.
Roncesvalles performs even better for transit, notching a Transit Score of 95/100. If you aren’t in the mood to walk around the area, or if you're heading to another part of the city, you can easily take the TTC. The 501, 504, 505, 506 and 508 streetcars provide frequent service for residents, while the close by Dundas West and Keele subway stations provide alternative options for travel.
The neighbourhood is drivable by Toronto standards, with less traffic than what you'll typically find in the city. If you need to get out of the city altogether, the Queensway and the Gardiner Expressway are just to the south.
Roncesvalles functions as its own little town. You'll find everything you need, while finding it easy to avoid everything you don't - think noise and crowds. And because it's a good starting point for journies throughout the city, the neighbourhood makes for a best of both worlds kind of situation.
If you’re looking for everyday necessities, you won’t find a shortage of grocery, drug, or convenience stores. Some are smaller independent retailers, happy to serve you while growing the local economy, but you’ll also find the same chains you'd come across in most other enighbourhoods.
The niche shops, with their old-timey storefronts, is where shopping in Roncesvalles really shines. You'll find a splended mix of new treasures and vintage finds to suit any taste.
Well-known restaurants and cafes
Roncesvalles has a large Polish community, and that's reflected in its cuisine. The neighbourhood is home to numerous bakeries and food counters serving up treats from the old country. But if Polish food isn't your thing, it's not difficult to find a suitable alternative. Though Roncesvalles is far from the busiest region of Toronto, it maintains the diverse cultural influence characterisitc of any big city, and this comes through in the restaurants lining its streets.
Roncesvalles is also home to a large number of indie cafes and bakeries to help you satisfy your caffeine quota and passion for baked goods. One of the top favorites in the area is The Merseyside, but there are many options ripe for exploration.
If you're looking for unique and culturally rich entertainment, you’re in the right place. Being the center of Toronto’s Polish community, there are a number of events and activities that you can take part in throughout the year. The grandest is the annual Polish Festival, held every fall. Featuring Polish food, music, clothing, crafts and rides, the celebration is noted as being the largest such event in North America.
For a more conventional outing, you can head over to the iconic Revue Cinema. Built back in the 1910s, this venue has been designated a Toronto heritage site, and is the city’s oldest movie theatre.
Schools in Roncesvalles
You'll find five schools in the immediate Roncesvalles area. Three are sanctioned by the Toronto District School Board, and two are sanctioned by the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
· Fern Avenue Public School – a TDSB elementary school
· Garden Avenue Junior Public School – a TDSB elementary school
· Howard Junior Public School – a TDSB elementary school
· St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary School – a TCDSB elementary school
· Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School – a TCDSB high school
There are also a number of schools just outside the area, including those that operate under the French education banners of Conseil scolaire Viamonde, and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir.
Parks in Roncesvalles
Because it's primarily a residential area, there is plenty of green space in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. Most notably, the community borders onto High Park.
High Park is the largest park in the city and features lush greenery, beautiful gardens, playgrounds, and even a zoo, which was made famous by the capabara jail-break of 2016. In the 400-acre area, you can also find sporting, cultural, and educational facilities.
To the south, you can find a few spits of sand at the edges of Lake Ontario. These beaches are far from the city's best, but are usually part of larger parks, like Budapest Park or Sunnyside.