Roncesvalles Village

Overview

Roncesvalles, known affectionately as Little Poland, has built a reputation as a haven for the city’ foodies, with restaurants offering various cuisines, bakeries, butchers and delis making the area a gourmet’s treat. Roncesvalles is primarily a residential neighbourhood, one that has become increasingly in demand in recent years, especially since the city undertook a major reconstruction of the area from 2009-2011. The renovations not only replaced much of the infrastructure, but also rebuilt sidwalks and bike lanes and beautified much of the neighbourhood with trees and planters — turning the area, especially Roncesvalles Avenue itself, into a pedestrian-friendly destination. The result has been that small local businesses — including specialty gift shops, clothing and shoe boutiques, book, video and music stores — have thrived.

That easy-going, relaxed ambience is aided by the fact that the neighbourhood borders on High Park, one of the city’s largest green spacs, and is also home to Sorauren Avenue Park. Roncesvalles is also a popular cultural destination. That neighbourhood love for the arts is epitomized by the Revue Cinema, a popular repertory theatre built in 1912 — and celebrating its centenary in 2012 — and designated as a city heritage site. The theatre closed in 2006, but was reopened as a community-run, not-for-profit business due to local efforts. There are also a number of small clubs and music venues, most notably Hugh’s Room, perhaps Toronto’s leading folk club. At the very foot of Roncesvalles Avenue is the Palais Royale, a historic ballroom dating to the 1920s, which once hosted big bands like Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Since the 1950s, the venue has been host to a number of popular and alternative rock bands, everybody from Blur to The Pogues to Sigur Ros. Most notably, in 2002, the Palais Royale hosted a Rolling Stones concert. The area also has its colourful history. The Boyd Gang — a notorious group of 1950s bank robbers led by the infamous Edwin Alonzo Boyd — began their crime spree at the Roncesvalles branch of the Bank of Montreal (now a Starbucks) and holed up in a local apartment between robberies. The neighbourhood is centred around Roncesvalles Avenue, but is bordered roughly by Lake Ontario to the south, High Park to the west, Sorauren Avenue to the east and Bloor Street to the north.

History and Social Profile

The area was originally made up of the small independent villages of Brockton and Parkdale and of parcels of land granted to John George Howard, a leading architect of the time. Between 1883 and 1893, the land that currently makes up the Roncesvalles neighbourhood was annexed as part of the city of Toronto.

In the early part of the 20th century, residents began to move into the area as Toronto expanded. Following the second World War, the area became a popular destination for Polish refugees and immigrants, who established a number of local businesses and churches. While the area has subsequently become much more diverse — as seen from some of the well-known Thai and Vietnamese restaurants and businesses in the neighbourhood — the annual Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival is still considered the largest Polish festival in North America. In 2011, an estimated 300,000 people attended the event.

The Roncesvalles neighbourhood is also home to a major hospital in St. Joseph’s Health Centre, originally an orphanage, which has been operated since the 1840s by the Sisters of St. Joseph Order. The site was originally Sunnyside Lodge, the first home of John Howard.

Roncesvalles has also become a popular site for condo development, most notably along Sorauren Avenue, where a number of older industrial buildings have been converted into lofts. There are also plans to convert other buildings nearby into part of a new community centre.

Roncesvalles

Acclaimed Restaurants/Cafés

  • Café Polonez (Polish)
  • Barque Smokehouse (Barbeque)
  • Butler’s Pantry (Asian Fusion, Indian)

Predominately a Polish community, here you will find authentic polish butchers, bakeries, and restaurants. The area also caters to a variety of cuisines of different cultures including Thai, Vietnamese, as well as fair trade cafes with vegan threats.

Public Schools

  • Fern Avenue Public School, 128 Fern Avenue, (416) 393-9130
  • Garden Avenue Junior Public School, 225 Garden Avenue, (416) 393-9165
  • Howard Park Junior Public School, 30 Marmaduke Street, (416) 393-9255

Catholic Schools

  • St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary School, 116 Fermanagh Avenue, (416) 393-5227

Public Transportation

  • Dundas West Subway Station
  • Keele Subway Station
  • TTC Street Cars
  • GO Transit

Roncesvalles is conveniently served with the Dundas West and Keele subway stations to the north at Bloor Street. The 501, 504, 505, 506, and 508 streetcars provide frequent service and the Queensway bus provides service along Parkside Avenue from Keele station. There are also GO trains operating along the CN/CP lines to the east, stopping at Bloor Street and Dundas Street West.

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Listings

Se Of Dundas St W/Roncesvalles
363 Sorauren Ave $599,900 Days on market: 2
1 BDR
1 BATH
600-699 FT2
0
For Sale
Roncesvalles/Sorauren/Dundas
363 Sorauren Ave N $650,000 Days on market: 3
1 BDR
1 BATH
600-699 FT2
1
For Sale
Pictures Coming Soon
Roncesvalles And Queen
41 Roncesvalles Ave PRIVATE LISTING Register or login to view
PRIVATE LISTING
For Sale
Pictures Coming Soon
Dundas/Lansdowne
160 Lansdowne Ave $1,798,000 Days on market: 5
7 BDR
4 BATH
2000-2500 FT2
0
For Sale
Pictures Coming Soon
Queen/Sorauren
1558 Queen St W $2,189 / month Move in: Immediate
2 BDR
1 BATH
700-1100 FT2
0
For Lease
Pictures Coming Soon
Queen/Sorauren
1558 Queen St W $2,189 / month Move in: Immediate
2 BDR
1 BATH
700-1100 FT2
0
For Lease
North Of Queen/Macdonell
35 Macdonell Ave $1,579,000 Days on market: 8
3 BDR
2 BATH
0
For Sale
Queen / Fuller
89 Fuller Ave PRIVATE LISTING Register or login to view
PRIVATE LISTING
For Sale
Pictures Coming Soon
Roncesvalles/Dundas
25 Ritchie Ave $499,000 Days on market: 10
1 BDR
1 BATH
600-699 FT2
0
For Sale
Pictures Coming Soon
Dundas & Sorauren
383 Sorauren Ave $989,000 Days on market: 11
3 BDR
2 BATH
1200-1399 FT2
0
For Sale

Condos for lease 29
Avg. Price $2,689

Houses for lease 70
Avg. Price $2,761

Condos for sale 94
Avg. Price $723,472

Houses for sale 155
Avg. Price $1,276,102 Scroll to Listings