"If you’re lucky, somewhere in Toronto’s Yorkville, you might spot the woman with the cactus that has low self-esteem. She regularly exits Bay Station, cactus in arm, telling it it’s a pretty plant."
What Makes Yorkville So Special?
Yorkville itself was established in the 1830s as a brewery spot. In 1853, it became part of the city of Toronto as a village. Victorian homes were built in the 1880s. By the 1950s the Bloor Subway started construction and many of those homes demolished. More homes were converted in the 70’s and 80’s.
During the 1960’s the area was home to dozens of cafes and coffee houses. It was spot filled with a more Bohemian feeling of the times. The Penny Farthing (110-112 Yorkville Ave.) was were Joni Mitchell started off (then Joan Anderson). Neil Young and Rick (Matthews) James played in the R&B band the Mynah Birds at The Mynah Bird (114 Yorkville). Trivia: The venue was named for Rajah, a bird.
Now, today, Yorkville is a mix of luxury condos, upscale boutiques, salons, coffee shops and some remaining century buildings.
The aforementioned luxury condos populate the entire of Yorkville. With more on the way. Minto continues to develop Yorkville Plaza. 2-3 bedrooms average $4 million. 4 and 5 bedrooms also are priced at $5 million and upwards.
Rare century homes (mixed usage) are sometimes available. Many of these are heritage protected.
Shopping is major reason to spend times on the streets of Bloor St., Cumberland St., Yorkville Ave. and Bay St. Major stores include Harry Rosen, Pottery Barn, Winners & HomeSense, Whole Foods, Lululemon, and Holt Renfrew (list HR price tags as one of my major fears along with clowns and monkeys with cymbals).
If you’re taking an afternoon break from retail shopping, or especially as a retail worker, the Village of Yorkville Park (south side of Cumberland St.) is one of the nicest outdoor places to relax. Warm days consider a meal a meal in the park from BBQ Express. It’s hidden on the south exit of Bay subway station. It’s takeout only. In summer grab an ice cream at Summer’s Ice Cream on Yorkville Ave.
Cumberland St. also has numerous salons, restaurants and galleries. Note: Some venues are below level and not handicap accessible.
Food & Stuff
If you’re looking for an alternative to Tim Horton’s or McCafe, try 5 Elements Espresso on Davenport Ave. Or Goldstruck on Cumberland for a fresh roast. Good Press on Yorkville (same ownership as College St.’s Sunshine Market) is a great spot for a smoothie.
For (upscale) night dining try the Canadian French flare at Sassafraz (Cumberland at Bellair). Or watch the chefs put on a show cooking Teppanyaki at Yamato (Bellair at Cumberland). On Weekend, you’ll find live music at The Pilot.