Toronto’s Wallace-Emerson neighbourhood is one of the city’s more recent. In fact, the area — named for the intersection of two streets at the heart of the locality — was only recognized in the 1970s. Originally an industrial area, Wallace-Emerson is today a neighbourhood in transition. Located in a colourful, multi-cultural part of the city, buildings in the area are being converted from their previous uses as factories and industrial plants to housing. The result is that the neighbourhood is becoming popular with young professionals and families eager to take advantage of the single-family houses and the condo and loft developments before the area becomes too trendy and expensive.
Bordered by Bloor Street to the south, Dufferin Street to the east, and Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railway lines to the north and west, Wallace-Emerson was originally an industrial area built largely to serve the railroads. Today, the area is welcoming high-end residential development and the increasing renovation of original housing. Those looking for affordable housing that will increase in value are attracted not only by the investment opportunities, but by the vibrant cultural life, restaurants and stores. The large Portuguese, Italian and South Asian populations have made their mark in the neighbourhood, and the large Ethiopian presence has made the neighbourhood a must-visit for those eager to explore the variety of ethnic experiences available in the city.
History and Social Profile
The history of Wallace-Emerson is the history of the railroad in Toronto. CN and CP began freight service to the area in the late 1800s, which, in turn, attracted industry to the neighbourhood. The factories and warehouses led to the development of a working- class residential neighbourhood. The opportunities for work — and the numerous single- family houses in the neighbourhood — made the area an attractive destination for recent immigrants, especially from Portugal and Italy, and later from south Asian. In more recent years, a number of immigrants from Ethiopia have settled in the area.
The area was only officially recognized by the city as a neighbourhood in the 1970s, and was given the name Wallace-Emerson because of the intersection of two of the area’s main streets. But the result has been a neighbourhood that flies its multicultural flag proudly, especially along Bloor Street, which is populated by numerous stores and restaurants promoting Italian and Ethiopian culture.
The area north of Bloor generally consisted of single-family houses, many of which have now been converted in apartments. The area close to the rail lines to the north and to Dupont Avenue is still largely populated by factories and warehouses. Many of those have already been converted to lofts and condos and some rowhouses, and many more are scheduled for such conversions, making that part of the neighbourhood highly desirable for young professionals eager to purchase high-end residences in a part of the city that is easily accessible and that will soon be heavily in demand.
One of the original conversion projects in the neighbourhood in the 1970s was turning a seven-acre stretch of abandoned warehouses into what is the Wallace-Emerson park and community centre, running between Emerson Avenue and Dufferin. The green space includes a BMX park, a swimming pool, soccer field, swimming pool and hockey rink, and the centre includes fitness facilities with weights and aerobic equipment, as well as space for seniors and community events and gatherings.
- Starving Artist
- South Indian Dosa
- Mahal Restaurant
- Vena’s Restaurant
- Ortolan Café
- O Bairradino
- Karelia Kitchen
- Brock Public School, 93 Margueretta Street, 416-393-9245
- Pauline Junior Public School, 100 Pauline Avenue, 416-393-9360
- Dovercourt Public School, 228 Bartlett Avenue, 416-393-9220
- Bloor Collegiate Institute, 1141 Bloor Street, 416-393-1420
- Dufferin subway station
- Lansdowne subway station
- Buses run along Dufferin, Lansdowne, Bloor and Dupont