Toronto’s Best Neighbourhoods: Part 2 – Avenue Road & Lawrence

Avenue Road and Lawrence is an affluent North Toronto neighbourhood known for gourmet food stores, private schools and some of the city’s most luxurious homes. Avenue Road and Lawrence encompasses several smaller neighbourhoods including; Lytton Park, Bedford Park and Caribou Park.

A quick 20-minute drive from downtown Toronto, and an even shorter 5-minute drive to the 401 highway, Avenue Road and Lawrence is ideally located for both professionals making a daily commute into the core and weekend warriors who love nothing better than to escape the city.

There are numerous public parks in the area providing a great deal of green space, and a plethora of high-end shops for food, clothing and anything else one might desire.

The History of Avenue Road & Lawrence

In British English, an avenue is a row of trees, hence Avenue Road denotes a street lined with trees. A common urban legend about the origin of the name suggests that Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe was surveying the old town of York and came to a spot on Bloor Street, pointed north and declared, “Let’s ‘ave a new road!”. Whether that really happened, we will likely never know, but a fun story all the same.

Lawrence Avenue was named after Jacob Lawrence, a tanner and farmer in the area of Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue. Originally Lawrence Avenue only ran east of Yonge Street, with the road heading west to Weston being named McDougall Avenue.

The area started out as a popular stopover for farmers making their way to markets in the city. It was a fairly small village until around the 1890’s when the Metropolitan Street Railway of Toronto began to service the area. At that point the population started to balloon and many new homes were erected. By 1912, the district was annexed into the City of Toronto and from that point slowly evolved into one of Toronto’s most sought after neighbourhoods.

Yonge street and Lawrence 1922
City of Toronto Archives, listed under the archival citation Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 1648.
Construction of streetcar tracks on Yonge Street, at Lawrence Avenue, looking north (Toronto, Canada)

Restaurants & Retail at Avenue Road & Lawrence

Avenue Road and Lawrence is known for having a variety of upscale food shops, restaurants and retailers. The majority of which are located along Avenue Road, North of Lawrence.

Pusateri’s Fine Foods Avenue Road & Lawrence

Pusateri’s Fine Foods is likely one of the most well known shops in the area, with patrons traveling from all over Toronto to get hard-to-find luxury food items. There are dozens of restaurants along the strip, ranging from burger joints to upscale dining. Even more options arise if you travel just 1km to the East to explore the Yonge St. corridor.

Parks & Recreation at Avenue Road & Lawrence

Chatsworth Ravine Avenue Road & Lawrence

There are numerous parks in the Avenue Road and Lawrence area. Most notably, Chatsworth Ravine, which if followed to the East connects with Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens, on to Blythwood Ravine Park, to Sherwood Park, to Sunnybrook Park and eventually connects with Edward Gardens and The Don River Trails. Other parks in the direct vicinity of Avenue Road and Lawrence include; Brookdale park, Douglas Greenbelt, Caribou park, and Bedford parkette.

The nearby Lawrence Park Collegiate features a full track and field, and just behind it is the Otter Creek Center which has a skating rink. There are several golf and tennis clubs in the area as well as many privately owned gym facilities. The abundance of parks and recreational facilities offer plenty of options for nearby residents who enjoy getting outdoors.

Getting around Avenue Road & Lawrence

As previously mentioned, Avenue Road and Lawrence is a short 20-minute drive from downtown Toronto, and just a couple minutes from the 401. Lawrence TTC subway station is 1-km away and numerous bus routes cross Avenue Road and Lawrence running in all directions.

  • 18km to Pearson
  • 2.4km to 401 & Avenue Rd.
  • 1km to Yonge subway line
  • Numerous bus and streetcar routes

Schools near Avenue Road and Lawrence

Many looking at houses for sale in Toronto are also very interested in the availability and quality of nearby schools. Some of Toronto’s highest ranked schools are located in the Avenue Road and Lawrence area, and include a mix of public and private schools.

Elementary schools in the Avenue Road and Lawrence area include;

  • Havergal College, an independent day and boarding school for girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school was established in 1894 and named for Frances Ridley Havergal, a composer, author and humanitarian.
  • Bedford Park Public School, was originally a four-room, two-storey school that opened in September 1911 with 70 pupils registered in grades 1 to 4. The school now teaches kindergarten to grade 8.
  • John Ross Robertson Junior Public School, opened in 1921 and now teaches students from kindergarten to grade 6.
  • John Wanless Junior Public School, was built in 1927 and has had several additions and renovations since. The school teaches kindergarten through grade 6.
  • Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, a well regarded catholic school teaching kindergarten through to grade 6.

Conclusion

It is no wonder why Avenue Road and Lawrence is one of the most sought after neighbourhoods to buy a home in Toronto. It’s close proximity to downtown is ideal for anyone working in the core, or looking to catch a concert or ball game. It is well connected with Toronto’s public transport system and is also very close to the 401, making trips to the airport or out of the city convenient.

The network of parks and recreational areas make Avenue Road and Lawrence an ideal neighbourhood for Torontonian’s who have active lifestyles or just like to get outside for fresh air. The well developed food and retail sector in the area provides ample options when hunger or the need for retail therapy strike. Parents and soon-to-be parents have a number of excellent options for local educational institutions as well.

URBINCO is proud to be developing new homes near Avenue Road and Lawrence. If you are interested in a newly built detached home for sale near Avenue Road and Lawrence, feel free to check out the following listing. You can also contact us to find out about other new home builds we are working on in the area.

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