The history of the Sunnylea neighbourhood revolves around Alexander Thompson who purchased two hundreds acres of land in this area in 1803, after his discharge from the Kings Rangers. Alexander Thompson lived in a distinguished residence, just south of Bloor Street at Royal York Road that was known as Rose Bank Cottage. His son, Archibald, lived in a country Georgian farmhouse just to the south of his father, which was called Spring Bank Cottage. Spring Bank Cottage is still standing today at 7 Meadowcrest Road. The Thompson property was renowned for its apple, cherry, pear and plum orchards.
In the latter part of the 1800s, the Thompsons were joined in Sunnylea by families who cultivated thriving market gardens filled with fruits and vegetables. A handful of these old Sunnylea farmhouses are still standing both on Prince Edward Drive and on Islington Avenue. In 1907, the first Sunnylea School – a two room white brick schoolhouse – was built on Prince Edward Drive. Edna G. Whitworth, a pupil at the school won a contest in coming up with the Sunnylea name, which also became the name of this community. Sunnylea’s old farms were subdivided in the 1930s and 40s, when the present day neighbourhood was developed. The influx of new families to this community led to the opening of the second Sunnylea School in 1942. The elementary schools have definite enrollment boundaries that serve different parts of this neighbourhood. You can phone the schools listed below to see which one your child would attend.
Sunnylea’s bungalow, split-level, storey-and-a-half, and two-storey houses were built mostly in the 1940s and 1950s. All of these houses are detached and include at least a 30-foot frontage and a private drive.
The Tudor style houses closer to Bloor Street are the older houses in this neighbourhood. Many of these houses feature handsome Riverstone exteriors, bay windows, stone chimneys, wrought iron railings and decorative front porches. The Sunnylea area is bound by Bloor Street, Royal York Road, and the Mimico Creek.
Sunnylea residents enjoy convenient access to the Kingsway Village shopping district on Bloor Street West. This well-planned retail corridor has a festive, pedestrian friendly atmosphere and features comfortable park benches, evergreen trees, and cast iron street lamps. Even the garbage bins are wrapped in ornate cast-iron frames. There is plenty of metered parking along Bloor Street and many of the side streets, which make it easy to explore this vibrant shopping district.
The shops in the Kingsway Village include high-end fashion shops, children’s stores, bookshops, specialty stores, upscale restaurants, fruit and vegetable markets, bakeries and coffee shops. There is also a myriad of professional services located on this street led by a large number of travel shops and real estate offices that serve the high profile neighbourhoods in this district.
The Norseman Community School, located at 105 Norseman Street, and the Park Lawn Community School, at 71 Ballacaine Drive, offer a large variety of recreational programs for children, teens, adults and seniors. Norseman has an indoor pool, which is extensively used for aquafit and instructional swim programs. Park Lawn has a winter ice arena that converts to tennis courts in the summertime. The outdoor pool at Park lawn is used for recreational swimming.
Sunnylea Park and Laura Hill Park each have two tennis courts and a children’s playground. Spring Garden Park is nestled on the west bank of Mimico Creek. This idyllic park has a children’s playground and is well shaded with many old trees. The Brentwood Public Library is located at 36 Brentwood Road, one block west of Royal York Road and one block north of Bloor Street. This library offers year-round programs for children. The fifty-five plus Fairfield Senior Centre is located at 80 Lothian Avenue. The facilities here include a seniors lounge, a library, workshops, support groups, and a variety of special events including fashion shows, “pub nights,” a flea market and summer barbecues.
Norseman, 105 Norseman St., (416) 394-7880
Park Lawn, 71 Ballacaine Dr., (416) 394-7120
Sunnylea, 35 Glenroy Ave., (416) 394-3850
Etobicoke Cl., 86 Montgomery Rd., (416) 394-7840
Etobicoke School of the Arts, 675 Royal York Rd., (416) 394-6910
Sainte-Margueritte·d’Youville, 755 Royal York Rd., (416) 393-5418
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