Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village’s history began in the late 1800s when it was an elite residential suburb that rivaled Rosedale as Toronto’s most desirable address. Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village’s popularity led to its incorporation as a village in 1878. Then in 1889, after many heated public debates, Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village’s citizens voted in favour of amalgamation with the City of Toronto. Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village became Toronto’s playground by the lake in 1922, when the Sunnyside Amusement Park and Bathing Pavilion opened for business on Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village’s beaches. Sunnyside was the place to be and be seen for a generation of Torontonians. In 1956, Sunnyside was shut down by the city in order to make room for the Gardiner Expressway and a revamped Lake Shore Boulevard. Unfortunately, these new expressways cut Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village off from the lake and its glorious past. Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village then went into a period of decline that it is still recovering from today.
South Parkdale’s grandiose mansions were built between 1875 and 1895. Some of these houses have been converted into bacherlorettes or rooming houses however the current by laws advocate restoring these houses to single-family use. The houses in the north end of Parkdale, above Queen Street, are more modest than their South Parkdale counterparts, but are no less charming. These houses were built between 1900 and 1910.
The main commercial shopping area in Parkdale has historically been on Queen Street. This vibrant shopping district is in a state of perpetual activity; it includes an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. The Roncesvalles Village shopping district, north of Queen Street, is the cultural centre of Toronto’s Polish community. There are many outstanding food markets, delis, and restaurants along this route.
Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village is conveniently located within walking distance of High Park and the recreational paths and parks along Toronto’s waterfront. Parkdale has four community centres that serve the residents of this neighbourhood. They include Holy Family Community Centre on Close Avenue, Masryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre on Cowan Avenue, McCormick Recreation Centre on Sheridan Avenue, and the Parkdale Community Centre on West Lodge Avenue. The Parkdale Public Library on Queen Street and the High Park Public Library on Roncesvalles, both provide programming for Parkdale/Roncesvalles Village residents.
Fern Avenue Jr.& Sr., 128 Fern Ave., (416) 393-9130
Garden Avenue Jr., 225 Garden Ave., (416) 393-9165
Howard Jr.30 Marmaduke Street. (416) 393-9255
Parkdale Jr.& Sr., 78 Seaforth Ave., (416) 393-1280
Queen Victoria Jr., 100 Close Ave., (416) 393-9200
Bloor Collegiate Institute, 1141 Bloor St. W., (416) 393-1420
Holy Family, 141 Close Avenue, (416) 393-5212
St. Veronica 30 Bank St., (416) 393-5280
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