Brockton Village is one of Toronto’s most colourful, vibrant and, during the World Cup of soccer every four years, loudest neighbourhoods. Drawing much of its flavour from the presence of Little Portugal in its borders, mixed with a heavy Brazilian influence, and the growing presence of Asian restaurants and culture, the area is rapidly becoming a favourite of young professionals and families, attracted to the friendly atmosphere, Victorian-era housing and still-affordable prices.
Bordered by Bloor Street to the north, Dufferin Street to the east, the CN rail line to the west and the CN/CP rail lines to the south near Queen Street, Brockton Village has also become a prime site for art galleries and fashionable new restaurants. The area along Dundas Street West has become one of the hippest stretches in Toronto, as the music and artistic hotspots of the city move to the west. The area has also become home to a growing number of younger gays and lesbians, drawn to the area’s diversity, openness and willingness to experiment with art and culture.
A prime example of the area’s mix of culture and experimentation is the Monkey’s Paw bookstore on Dundas. The store has become famous across North America for its collection of unique, rare and flat-out weird books, as well as for its Bibio-mat machine, which dispenses a random book for a twoonie.
As well as the eclectic mix of clothing, food, fashion and other stores — many Portuguese, Brazilian or Asian — along College Street and Dundas, Brockton Village is also home to a number of parks and green spaces, including McCormick Park, home to the McCormick Recreation Centre and Arena, which features a fully-stocked fitness facility with cardio machines, free weights and Nautilus equipment. The Centre also has a 25-yard warm-water pool with a viewing gallery, a large gymnasium and fitness, dance and yoga studios. The park and Centre are very popular with families and youth in the area. And Brockton also houses the Dufferin Mall, one of the largest and most popular shopping malls in the west end of the city.
History and Social Profile
Brockton got its start in 1812, when a 100-acre parcel of land was granted to James Brock, the cousin of Sir Isaac Brock, the British soldier who died in the war of 1812. The land stretched from what is today Queen Street north to Bloor, west of Dufferin. After James Brock died, his widow sold much of the land to developers, and paid for the construction of a road in 1850 through the centre of the lot, which today is called Brock Avenue. This settlement came to be called Brockton, and was incorporated as a village in 1876, later becoming an incorporated town in 1881. In 1884, the city of Toronto annexed the town.
The original town hall of the town of Brockton still remains today, at the south-west corner of Brock and Dundas Street.
Many of the houses in Brockton Village were constructed in the late 1880s and early 1900s, in Victorian and Edwardian styles. The painted brick of the rowhouses and semi- detached homes still colour many of the quiet, tree-lined streets of the neighbourhood.
In the latter half of the 20th century, the area became popular to a large number of immigrants from Portugal, and slightly later, from Brazil. In fact, the stretch of Dundas West that runs through Brockton Village is also known as Rua Açores.
In more recent years, the area has become home to a number of Asian immigrants, particularly from China and Vietnam, which has added a new flavour to the neighbourhood, making the already colourful mix of restaurants and stores even more diverse. And as artists and galleries have found Dundas Street West more affordable and accepting than downtown, Brockton Village has taken on the reputation as being one of the most stylish new areas in the city. The result has been that housing in the Village —coupled with recent construction and conversion projects to create high-end condominium and lofts — has become heavily in demand.
- Pho Phuong
- Atlantic Restaurant
- OMG Baked Goodness
- Brazil Bakery and Pastry Limited
- Ilhas de Bruma
- O Fernando
- Ribeirinha Da Dundas
- Pho Linh
- Vena’s Restaurant
- Shirley Street Junior Public School, 38 Shirley Street, 416-393-9270
- Alexander Muir/Gladstone Avenue Junior and Senior Public School, 108 Gladstone Avenue, 416-393-9140
- Bloor Collegiate Institute, 1141 Bloor Street West, 416-393-1420
- St.Helen’s Catholic School, 1196 College Street, 416-397-6142
- Dufferin subway station
- Lansdowne subway station
- Dufferin bus
- Lansdowne bus
- College streetcar
- Dundas streetcar
- Queen streetcar