Riverdale Home Detail by Rick Weiss
Riverdale, once called Riverside, is a diverse community named after the city park, which is a landmark in the area. Today, Riverdale attracts young affluent professionals looking for quaint Victorian homes close to downtown. Its colourful shopping districts and tall maple trees will simply make you love this neighbourhood!
Back in the 1850s, Riverdale was nothing more than a small rural community. Development began with the Grand Trunk Railway and accelerated when in 1884, the area north of Queen Street was annexed by the City of Toronto. In 1918, the Prince Edward Viaduct linked Riverdale to the City of Toronto west of the Don River.
For lovers of Victorian houses, Riverdale is an ideal neighbourhood. It is full of remarkable two- and three-storey homes built between 1880 and 1924. Upper Riverdale, characterized as the part of the neighbourhood north of Riverdale Ave, is a good option if you seek renovated homes. Lower Riverdale, the area south of Riverdale Ave., is for those who prefer a small inexpensive home with the original classic design from the late 19th century.
Riverdale Farm by Matt Jiggins
At the west end of Simpson Avenue you will find the six oldest Victorian houses in Riverdale, locally known as the ‘Six Sisters’. Several remarkable century-old homes are also built on Langley Avenue, named after Toronto’s well-known early 20th century architect.
In the “Blake-Jones”, a pocket of tree-lined streets, you will find not only more semi-detached and affordable houses than in many areas of the city, but also public housing apartments and townhouse complexes. In the “Pocket”, there is a high number of people from the Muslim and Greek Orthodox communities, while the largest visible minority group there is Chinese.
In the “Badgerow” area, named after the residential street, you will find the legendary Maple Leaf Tavern, as well as a Sikh temple, a Turkish cultural centre and Jewish cemetery, in addition to the Gerrard Square shopping mall.
Most of Riverdale’s homes have parking off rear laneways, and permits are available for street parking.
The Greek Community
You’ve watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and you’ve always wanted to taste Greek food in a traditional Greek atmosphere—why not visit Danforth Avenue? It’s Riverdale’s best known shopping district and the heart of Toronto’s Greek community, also the second largest Greek community outside of Greece!
Danforth Avenue by Jamie
Danforth Avenue, full of street Greek signs and flags and examples of classic Greek architecture, is home to many first-class Greek restaurants, vegetable stands, butcher shops, and Greek bakeries and pastry shops. Many restaurants feature open kitchens, where you are welcome to watch the preparation of authentic Greek cuisine. The restaurant interiors are often decorated to look as if you are on an outside patio, with stone floors, drawings of beaches and water on the walls and roof tiles peeping in from the sides and ceilings.
On Danforth Avenue, there are also dozens of European-style cafes and restaurants and a dazzling array of stores catering to everything from home and garden to fine jewellers, clothing stores, gifts and collectibles, spas and salons, and more.
Apart from the Greek community, Riverdale also has a Chinatown shopping district centred around Gerrard and Broadview. This stretch of stores is known for its bakeries, grocery stands, and restaurants. Another shopping destination for Riverdale residents is Queen Broadview Village. This historic shopping district includes some interesting antique and collectible stores.
Pig Barn Riverdale Farm by John S Fernandez
Riverdale Park and Farm
If you’re looking for a place to spend some quality time with your family, Riverdale Park is one of the best choices in Toronto. It is Cabbagetown’s recreational centre, at the corner of Winchester and Sumach, offering sports fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool, a jogging track, and it also serves as an access point to the Lower Don Recreation Trail. In the 1970s, the park was the original site proposed for the 40,000 seat stadium that would become SkyDome. The plan was eventually abandoned, in part due to the strong objections of local Alderman John Sewell.
In Riverdale park, you ’ll also find the municipally operated Riverdale Farm where you can take your children to enjoy demonstrations of daily chores including animal feedings, egg collection, cow and goat milking, horse grooming, and other agricultural concepts and experiences.
You can take pathways through 7.5 acres of wooded areas, around ponds and into butterfly-herb-vegetable-flower gardens. Along the way, at barns and outdoor paddocks, say hello to cows, horses, donkey, sheeps, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, and cats.
Beyond a delightful stroll, the Farm offers activities and fun for all ages. Some highlights are the parent and tot programs, pottery, quilting, summer day camps, yoga, tree planting, fresh bread from the wood oven, and the Tuesday Farmers’ Market.
Withrow Park is a 8.5-hectare (21-acre) park in Riverdale, constructed in the 1910s. It is named after John Jacob Withrow (1833-1900), a local landowner and builder, who also served as a city alderman and was one of the founders of what would become the Canadian National Exhibition.
Photo by Brian
The park is among Toronto’s largest multi-purpose parks, bound by Carlaw Avenue on the east, Bain Avenue on the south, Logan Avenue on the west and McConnell Avenue on the north. In February 2008, the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team held a practice in Withrow Park, to mark the recent refurbishment of the park’s ice rink and related facilities.
Green Spaces & Recreational Centres
In addition to Riverdale Park and Withrow Park, there is another large park: the Jimmie Simpson Park. It features an indoor swimming pool, a games room and a gymnasium. Other parks in the area include Todmorden Mills Park and Greenwood Park.
Todmorden Mills Park by Jeremy Burgin
The Pape Recreational Centre has a gymnasium, an indoor pool, a weight room and meeting rooms. The Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre has an indoor swimming pool, a games room and a gymnasium.
The annual Taste of the Danforth festival, held in early August, is an outstanding opportunity for recreation and food tasting. Tens of thousands of people gather for a lively weeklong celebration, as the many restaurants on Danforth set up street kiosks to offer samples. Music, demonstrations, giveaways, and many activities for children are also scheduled. The Danforth is also a night owl’s haven, with clubs and cafes open into the wee hours.
Riverdale has four public libraries:
- Queen/Saulter Branch at 765 Queen St. E
- Riverdale Branch at 370 Broadview Ave
- Pape/Danforth Branch at 701 Pape Ave
- Jones Branch at 118 Jones Ave
- Pape Avenue Jr. School
- Frankland Community School
- Blake St. Jr. Public School
- Morse St. School
- Leslieville Jr. School
- Riverdale CI
- A host of alternative schools
- The Riverdale TV series, a Canadian prime time soap opera that ran for three seasons (from 1997 to 2000), was set in the neighbourhood, which had the reputation of being home to many CBC employees at the time. It focused on a variety of characters and their interactions in everyday life. Ninety-four half-hour episodes were produced.
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding was filmed in the Greek community of Riverdale.
Location & Transport
The Don Valley Expressway, Lakeshore Boulevard, and the Gardiner Expressway are all easily accessible from this neighbourhood. There is also excellent access to public transit, with regular bus or streetcar service on Broadview, Carlaw, Jones and Greenwood Avenues, as well as on Queen and Gerrard Streets. The Bloor-Danforth subway has five stations serving Riverdale: Broadview, Chester, Pape, Donlands, and Greenwood.
- Total Population (2006): 18,789
- Total Households (2006): 7,969
- Average household income: $60,656.00
- Average age: 41
- Most common religion: Roman Catholic (16.7%)
- Most common ethnicities: English (15.0%), Scottish (12.0%), Chinese (12.0%)
- Job types: White collar (27.81%), Grey collar (34.65)%, Blue collar (41.12)%
Interested in living in the neighbourhood? Browse the MLS Listings for the perfect house or condominium available in this area.