Toronto’s Greenwood-Coxwell neighbourhood is one of the city’s most desirable and most diverse areas. Greenwood-Coxwell includes Little India and part of the neighbourhood of Leslieville, and directly borders Greektown. The area is also the city’s highest-rising in terms of housing values, making it a red-hot location for buyers. This attraction is fuelled in part by the many detached and semi-detached houses in the area, many dating from the area’s roots as the home to many brickyards.
Bordered by Greenwood Avenue on the west, Milverton Boulevard to the north, Coxwell Avenue to the east and Eastern Avenue to the south, the neighbourhood passes through a fascinating cross-section of the city. Whether it be the colour, the bazaars and spicy food of Little India, the upscale charm of Leslieville, the bustle of the Danforth with its Greek flavour or the areas being developed by young professionals and familes, the neighbourhood is one of Toronto’s most attractive.
From its beginning as the home of industrial factories, especially brickworks, and gardening nurseries, the area has blossomed into one of Toronto’s most popular, a charm added to by the fact that it has also recently become the centre of the city’s filmmaking industry. Meaning, that in addition to its own abundant charms, you could easily bump into a celebrity while walking the streets of Greenwood-Coxwell.
History and Social Profile
Greenwood Avenue – named after a local hotelier and publican – was the location for many of Toronto’s brickyards in the late 19th century. The source of many of the city’s jobs, the brickyards attracted many immigrants from England and Ireland, who settled in the areas around Greenwood, including Leslieville.
Leslieville itself began as a small village in the 1850s, which grew up around the Toronto Nurseries owned by George Leslie and sons, who bequeathed their name to the community. Most of Leslieville’s early residents were gardeners or were employed at one of the brick-making factories in the area. Then for decades, Leslieville and the Greenwood-Coxwell area were home to light industry, particularly along Eastern Ave. south of Queen St. Many of those industrial buildings are now in the process of being renovated, one reason why the area has become such a hot residential area.
Leslieville is also close to much of Toronto’s growing film industry, with the massive Pinewood Toronto Studios being only the biggest example. That means there’s always a chance of running into a movie star on the streets of Leslieville. Colin Farrell, for example, filmed the remake of Total Recall in the area, and Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro has used Pinewood for several films.
Over the years, the area, like much of Toronto, became much more diverse. This is especially noticeable in Little India, which owes its existence, in part, to the popularity of cinema with South Asian audiences.
In 1972, a local Pakistani businessman, Gian Naaz, opened the Naaz Theatre on Gerrard Street to screen Bollywood and Pakistani films. As the only cinema in Toronto (and possibly in North America) at the time to exclusively screen such films, the theatre did huge business with the city’s South Asian population. This led to shops and restaurants opening to cater to the crowds, which in turn led to South Asians buying houses in the area. The result, decades later, is a thriving Little India that rivals any in North America.
The area has a large South Asian population, as well as a large Chinese population, due in part to the fact that Chinatown East is located just slightly to the west of the Greenwood-Coxwell neighbourhood.
But as well as its culinary, cultural and shopping delights, the area also features a number of parks, including Greenwood Park, Jonathan Ashbridge Park and Monarch Park. The neighbourhood is also within an easy commute to the Beaches neighbourhood to the east, with its beaches lining Lake Ontario.
The Greenwood-Coxwell neighbourhood is quintessential Toronto. It’s diverse, colorful and historic, It allows residents to live in their own little neighbourhoods, while also being part of a larger community, that itself is part of a bustling major city. It allows families and young professionals to enjoy the benefits of quiet neighbourhoods, while also allowing easy access to work and the attractions of downtown Toronto.
Lahore Tikka House
Roden Junior Public School, 151 Hiawatha Road, 416-393-9555
Duke of Connaught Junior & Senior Public School, 70 Woodfield Rd, 416-393-9455
Monarch Park Collegiate Institute, 1 Hanson Street, 416-393-0190
Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, 800 Greenwood Avenue, 416-393-0620
– Greenwood and Coxwell subway stations
– Streetcars run along Queen and Gerrard
– Buses run along Greenwood and Coxwell