St. James Town
Known as the largest high-rise community in Canada, St. James Town is a neighbourhood almost entirely composed of apartment and condo towers. It’s also a neighbourhood that, due to its prime downtown location and the condo boom sweeping Toronto, is rapidly becoming a popular choice for those seeking a luxury home in a neighbourhood where prices will soon be skyrocketing. Bordering both Cabbagetown and the city’s gay village, and sitting on the Bloor subway line, the neighbourhood offers something for everybody.
Bordered by Bloor Street on the north, Parliament Street to the east, Wellesley Street East to the south and Sherbourne Street to the west, St. James Town is also one of Toronto’s most multi-cultural neighbourhoods, with a heavy Asian influence making itself felt in the area’s restaurants and stores.
While the neighbourhood is currently a popular place for recent immigrants to Toronto, the increasing number of luxury condos being developed is changing the makeup of the area, as young professionals move into the new condos being built that offer not only luxury living, but a location of unparalleled convenience.
History and Social Profile
St. James Town began life in the 1870s as an upper middle-class neighbourhood filled with Victorian homes, and serving as a convenient suburban home for those working in the city itself. Well into the 20th century, the area was popular with homeowners for its picturesque and historic homes.
When the area was rezoned in 1953 by the city, developers saw an opportunity to build high-rise towers in a central part of downtown. The homes were replaced by apartment buildings, supplemented by public housing buildings. The area quickly developed a strong multi-cultural flavour, as immigrants from the Philippines, India and China settled in the area.
St. Jamestown features considerable amounts of green space around its buildings, as well as easy access to a number of parks, including Wellesley Park, Riverdale Park West, Winchester Park and the magnificent Allan Gardens. That park — which features a playground and two fenced-off walks for dogs — was founded in 1858 and is best known for its conservatory and the spectacular display of rare and beautiful flowers within.
The conservatory includes many tropical displays, including probably the best displays of orchids and cacti in the city. The seasonal shows — at Christmas, Easter and the first week of November, in particular — are magnets for flower-lovers from all over southern Ontario.
The trees in the park itself are sterling examples of black cherry, American beech, red oak, sugar maple and sassafras, with many well over a century old.
St. James Town has a number of public swimming pools and playgrounds, and the Rose Avenue Community Centre located in the Rose Avenue Public School. Open to the public both during the evening and on weekends, the facilities include a gymnasium, a games room and meeting rooms.
The neighbourhood also houses one of the city’s newest community centres, which shares space with a public library branch at the corner of Sherbourne and Wellesley. The centre offers camps for children throughout the year, sports leagues, community meeting spaces, a gymnasium, weight room and aerobic equipment.
- Mr. Jerk
- Nijo Sushi
- Downtown Kabob Grill House
- Westown Chinese Food
- Rose Avenue Junior Public School, 675 Ontario Street, 416-393-1260
- Winchester Junior and Senior Public School, 15 Prospect Street, 416-393-1270
- Jarvis Collegiate Institute, 495 Jarvis Street, 416-393-0140
- Sherbourne subway station
- Wellesley subway station
- Castle Frank subway station
- Buses run along Sherbourne, Wellesley and Parliament