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Toronto’s Waterfront neighbourhood is condo central; there are virtually no houses in the area.
Even with this uniformity, the neighbourhood has a nice mix of city and nature, with sprawling views of the urban landscape on one side, and the waters of Lake Ontario spanning for miles on the other. This densely populated area is home to a variety of old and new luxury condominium buildings, with a diverse demographic to match. Despite the increased offering of new builds across the city, the Waterfront remains a popular spot seeing plenty of new developments in the works.
Just a stone's throw from some of the city’s most well-known sites, including the world-renowned CN Tower and Roger’s Centre, the Waterfront offers quintessential Toronto living. A hotspot for real estate investment, this area is great for both renters and homeowners.
Living on the shores of Lake Ontario can leave you feeling like you’re right in the middle of an oceanside town. Naturally, you won’t be left disappointed with the amenities on offer, and residents are surrounded by excellent transit links transporting them to the rest of The Six and beyond.
Who lives on The Waterfront?
The Waterfront neighbourhood is demographically mixed, so you never know who you’ll end up rubbing shoulders with. From retirees to young, urban professionals, the Waterfront vistas attract all sorts. If you’re lucky, you might even befriend a neighbour who owns one of the many boats that fill the marina in the harbour.
The following data was obtained from the 2016 The Waterfront Communities-The Island neighbourhood census profile, and the City of Toronto Ward 28 profile. Average prices are determined by the realestatecondos.ca listings.
Population growth: 52%
Rent/Own: 67% / 33%
Median Age: 36
Average household income: 90,911
Average condo sale price: $1,437,052.34
Average condo rent price: $3,498.51
Average family size: 2
Population density: 7,838 people per square km
No matter where you're going, the Waterfront is a prime spot to live for fast, efficient transport links.
The Waterfront has three major streetcar routes that pass through, and it sits just minutes from Toronto’s biggest transport hub, Union Station, which connects to TTC subways, streetcars and buses, as well as GO Transit buses and trains for longer journeys. The amalgam of options earns the area a sterling Transit Score of 99/100.
In addition to the trains, streetcars and buses, residents have quick access to the Toronto Islands via the ferry port on Queens Quay, where ferries run frequently during the summer months. Plus, if you’re planning on getting out of the province, or even out of the country, Billy Bishop Airport is just a quick trip.
Located on the Toronto Island, Billy Bishop is the country's ninth-busiest airport, servicing more than 20 cities around Canada and the U.S, and connects the city to more than 80 international destinations.
For those who own a car, access to Lakeshore and the Gardiner Expressway is right at your doorstep. And, as if all the easy vehicular movement wasn't enough, the neighbourhood is additionally a pedestrian paradise with a Walk Score of 92/100.
The Waterfront amenities
Some of the city’s leading tourist hotspots, cultural hubs, foodie favourites and most popular bars are all within reach of the Waterfront, so you will never have to travel far to find entertainment in this robust locality.
The central retail spot for the Waterfront community is based along Queens Quay West at Queens Quay Terminal. This area attracts a mix of locals and out-of-towners visiting the city. The Harbourfront Centre houses a mix of shops across two floors, from small boutiques to a Sobey’s Urban Fresh. The Waterfront is also home to several chain restaurants, eateries and bars.
Living here means you’re within walking distance of the landmark St. Lawrence Market. This historical marketplace provides some of the freshest regional produce the city has to offer. Whether you’re stocking up on food for the week, or grabbing a bite at one of the many cafes that call this market home, there is something to indulge every palette.
Additionally, a Loblaws recently joined the Waterfront to provide groceries, a cafe, pharmaceuticals, and a wine shop. Doubling as a community gathering place, Loblaws hosts regularly scheduled workshops, cooking classes and public meetings.
Well-known restaurants and cafes
Being one of the main tourist strips, the Waterfront is saturated with top notch restaurants, all serving up amazing food and tableside views to match.
One of the most well-known Harbourfront establishments is the Amsterdam Brewhouse, a 525 seat restaurant and brewery. Guests can sip on a freshly brewed beverage or sample one of the pub-style dishes from the comfort of a red Muskoka chair, overlooking the Great Lake. For something a little more elegant, there is Toula, which serves up delicious Italian food. If you’re into sushi, sample a handmade roll at Oyshi Sushi on Queens Quay.
Coffee lovers rejoice, there are plenty of options for your caffeine fix dotted throughout this shoreside area. There are your well-known chains like Starbucks and Tim Hortons, plus some more unique offerings, such as Boxcar Social, which serves up steaming cups of joe by day, and stylish cocktails by night.
There’s no questioning it: there is a lot to see and do in this community.
Residents can conveniently catch a Blue Jays or Raptors game, or scale the CN Tower to take in the city from above. Once you’ve exhausted all of the landmarks, perhaps it’s time to escape city life by taking a stroll along the Waterfront Trail, or soaking up some culture at the Power Plant Contemporary Gallery.
If you’re the active type, why not rent a city bike and cycle along the shoreline? Or, try a one-of-a-kind workout at Spokehaus, located at CityPlace. Spokehaus is based off the SoulCycle model, but it’s far from your traditional spin class. If all that cycling isn’t for you, there’s Greco Fitness, an adrenaline-inducing fitness studio hailing from Ottawa.
After all of that activity, you deserve a beer. So head over to the Steamwhistle Brewery where you can brush up on a little bit of Toronto history while you sip on that hard earned beverage.
Schools on the Waterfront
There are plenty of schools in the surrounding area that offer diverse, multicultural environments, perfect for young Torontonians.
With a mix of education levels, spanning elementary right up to post-secondary, local learning hubs are well within reach of the Waterfront neighbourhood.
The neighbourhood continues to deliver for the growing number of families flocking to the area, with a new development at CityPlace underway. The CityPlace School and Community Centre will contain two elementary schools, a daycare and community centre, scheduled for completion in 2019.
Some of the schools within walking distance from the neighbourhood include:
The Waterfront School
Island Public / Natural Science School
George Brown Waterfront Campus
Parks on the Waterfront
Considering the Waterfront is in the centre of downtown, it’s surprising how much nature surrounds you.
Make the most of those hot, Toronto summers at one of the two sandy urban beaches that overlook the lake. Sugar Beach can be spotted by its signature pink parasols, and its sister-beach at HTO Park has its own parasols in sunshine-yellow.
There is plenty of green space on offer too, with Harbour Square Park, located next to the Ferry Docks, offering the perfect spot for a picnic where you can watch the ferries making their routine trips to the Toronto Island.
Just a little further is Roundhouse Park, which along with some grassy spots, also has a storied history. The area features the John Street Roundhouse, a preserved locomotive roundhouse, as well at the Toronto Railway Museum, Steam Whistle Brewing and a giant arcade known as The Rec Room, perfect for adults and kids alike.