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Parkdale is a beloved Toronto neighbourhood west of downtown that has gone through nearly as many changes as the city itself. Back in the early 19th century, when Parkdale was its own village, the area had an elitist, upper income demographic with dozens of mansions.
Today, Parkdale is home to a diverse group of ages, ethnicities and income brackets. The neighbourhood experienced an apartment boom between 1950 and 1970, which led to an influx of residents from across the city, country and world. Many of the historic mansions can still be spotted throughout the neighbourhood, making any walk a scenic one.
Parkdale aims to be a neighbourhood where everyone can co-exist, from young creatives and students, to couples and established families. The neighbourhood remains popular for its proximity to the lake and to downtown, along with its vibrant local culture.
Parkdale is also to close neighbourhoods like High Park, Roncesvalles, Liberty Village, West Queen West and Little Portugal, meaning its residents have plenty going on all around them.
Who lives in South Parkdale?
South Parkdale is about as diverse as Toronto gets. It's a mosaic of ages, cultures, affluence and architectural styles, which creates a uniquely welcoming community where nothing and no one is out of place.
The following data was obtained from the 2016 South Parkdale neighbourhood census profile, and the City of Toronto Ward 14 profile. Average prices are determined by the realestatecondos.ca listings.
Population growth: 2.8%
Rent/Own: 70% / 30%
Median Age: 37
Average household income: 79,073
Average condo sale price: $1,619,618.09
Average condo rent price: $2,026.63
Average family size: 2
Population density: 9,583 people per square km
Parkdale enjoys quick access to downtown Toronto, which is just to the east of the neighbourhood. The largely residential area receives a Walk Score of 83/100. Most needs can be met on King and Queen streets, but you may have to venture out of the neighbourhood for big-box or specialized shopping needs.
The Transit Score is where Parkdale really shines, coming in at 92/100. The area benefits from multiple transit routes, including the 501 Queen and 504 King/Roncesvalles streetcars, and the 47 Lansdowne and 29 Dufferin buses.
GO Transit options include the east/west Exhibition Station, located a bit southeast of Parkdale in Liberty Village, along with a Union-Pearson Express train stop that goes to the airport in 15 minutes, located just north. Parkdale is also down the street from Billy Bishop Airport.
Drivers will enjoy immediate access to Lake Shore Blvd. West, the Gardiner Expressway and The Queensway, making Parkdale a could launching pad for out-of-city excursions.
There are bike lanes on Brock and Lansdowne avenues, as well as on the scenic Martin Goodman Trail, which runs along the lakefront.
South Parkdale amenities
Parkdale’s vibrant Queen West is a popular destination for vintage finds and antique shops. Its proximity to downtown, Dundas West and Roncesvalles, really open up your options.
Diverse independent brands populate the area, along with several second-hand and streetwear stores, supermarkets, hardware shops, bike mechanics, jewelers, record stores and gift shops. The only thing missing from Parkdale are big corporate shops, but most residents prefer it that way.
Queen West even earned one of Vogue Magazine’s “Coolest Neighbourhood” honours in a 2014 list of the top 15 global neighbourhoods, due to the strip’s desirable venues, creative scenes, boutique designers and furniture stores.
Well-known restaurants and cafes
Parkdale is home to a diverse collection of restaurants, mirroring the neighbourhood’s populace. Enough vegan restaurants have recently opened up along Queen to motivate store owners to band together to rename the block ‘Vegandale.’ We’ll see if the name sticks, but either way, you get the point.
The options go way beyond vegan fare though, with an abundance of quick eats and refined venues serving up flavours from every part of the globe. The options are augmented by nearby West Queen West and Roncesvalles, with both areas providing ample dining choices at a short distance.
Notable restaurants and bars that call Parkdale home include: Grand Electric, Miss Thing’s, Parts & Labour, Stones Place, Cadillac Lounge, The Rhino, Electric Mud, Bacchus Roti, Mother India, Skyline, Harry’s Charbroiled, Chantecler, plus many more.
Parkdale is an illustrious destination for entertainment-seekers who flock to the neighbourhood for weekend fun. The area features local musicians and visual artists who often perform and exhibit, and you can find a dive bar and a luxury boutique hotel on the same street. If you’re in the know, you’ll also be able to find impromptu basement dance parties and art exhibits popping up all over.
Besides nightlife, Parkdale is conveniently located near major Toronto venues such as Echo Beach and Budweiser Stage (formerly Molson Amphitheatre), which hosts big-ticket concert events all summer.
And don’t forget: Exhibition Place is essentially in Parkdale’s backyard, so you’ll be able to attend the Argonauts and TFC games played at BMO Field. Annual events include Caribana, the CNE and the Honda Indy, which take over this historic exhibition space year after year while attendees spill into Parkdale.
Schools in South Parkdale
Parkdale has a great network of schools serving students of all ages. Throughout the school day you’ll see hoards of children and parents take over the streets, hustling to first period.
Public elementary schools include Parkdale Junior and Senior, Queen Victoria Junior and Senior, Alexander Muir/Gladstone Junior and Senior, The Grove Community School, and Fern Avenue Junior and Senior.
Parkdale Collegiate Institute and Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic are high school options in the neighbourhood, while post-secondary institutions are short commutes towards downtown.
Parks in South Parkdale
Though the residential streets have small parkettes and not much in terms of huge natural escapes, the neighbourhood is located in the middle of some of Toronto’s green gems.
To the south, you have a never ending stretch of parkland, part of it named Marilyn Bell Park, located just before the shores of Lake Ontario. It features a gorgeous view, waterfront trail and boardwalk.
The other part is Sunnyside Beach, and it can be reached in a short 15-20-minute walk south from Jameson Avenue. Both of these lakefront locations offer a great reprieve from the bustling city streets, and are accessible by foot, bicycle, or car.
Other great parks include the historic High Park to the west of Parkdale, Sorauren Park to the north, and Trinity Bellwoods Park to the east. All of these parks offer unique features, some with twisting trails and cherry blossoms, others with farmers markets and movie nights.