Harbourfront runs along the north shore of Lake Ontario, marking the southern edge of downtown Toronto. The area has become one of the hottest condo markets in the city, not only because of its scenic location on the waterfront, but because Harbourfront has developed into a vibrant cultural and artistic community close to numerous beaches and parks.
Harbourfront Centre has become a centre for arts and culture in Toronto, especially during the summer, offering a wildly eclectic mix of music, dance, theatre and literature. The International Festival of Authors is a world-famous literary gathering, and holds a series of readings featuring world-renowned writers throughout the year. There are also numerous galleries and performance spaces in the neighbourhood.
The area is also the perfect location for those who love the outdoors. The Martin Goodman Trail, Toronto’s premier bike trail, runs through Harbourfront, and the area is also home to a number of parks, including Ireland Park, HTO Park and several wavedecks built to mimic and emphasize the contours of the lake itself. The area is also a hub for urban revitalization, with new facilities nearby including George Brown College and new urban beach parks — such as the recently completed Sugar Park, built near the historic Redpath Sugar refinery, which also functions as a museum.
Harbourfront is bordered by the lake on the south, running along Queen’s Quay, by Bathurst Street on the west, the Gardiner Expressway on the north and Yonge Street or York Street on the east, making it extremely accessible to Toronto’s major thoroughfares.
History and Social Profile
Harbourfront was originally created from landfill in the early 1800s. Due to its location on Lake Ontario, it quickly developed into a web of industry that included warehouses, railway tracks, grain silos and factories, all requiring easy access to water and shipping facilities.
In 1972, the federal government announced the Harbourfront project, which expropriated the industrial port lands in the area and converted them to a cultural and residential district, similar to what was done so spectacularly with Granville Island district in Vancouver. Since then, a series of projects by all levels of government has converted the former industrial area to a space full of art galleries, performance spaces, boating areas and parks. The surrounding neighbourhood has been converted by private land developers into a series of condominium towers and luxury hotels that has made Harbourfront prime residential real estate in Toronto.
Harbourfront’s main shopping district is located along Queens Quay West.
The shopping here is mixed, being geared towards both the local residents and tourists. Queens Quay West is anchored by the Queens Quay Terminal, located at the foot of York Street. The terminal is open seven days a week, and features two floors of shops, galleries, and restaurants.
- The Westin Harbour Castle
- Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Restaurant
- Harbour Sixty
- Harbourfront Centre
- St Lawrence Market
Harbourfront is conveniently located within walking distance of the St. Lawrence Market, Toronto’s oldest and largest food market. The Market offers a cornucopia of culinary delights, including farm fresh eggs, exotic herbs, organic chicken, and an assortment of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, deli meats, and seafood.
- Union Subway Station
- 509 Streetcar
- 510 Streetcar
The nearest subway station is Union Station. From there you can either take the 509 or 510 streetcar to Queen’s Quay or you can walk south along Bay Street from Front Street, underneath the railway tracks and the Gardiner expressway to Queen’s Quay. Union Station is also Toronto’s main terminus for commuter and intercity trains, offering easy connections to the rest of the GTA.
- The Waterfront School Jr. & Sr., 635 Queens Quay West, (416) 393-0684