Close to gorgeous public parkland and the lake? Check. Easy access to the 501 Queen streetcar, running 24 hours? Check. A main drag lined with pubs, restaurants, specialty coffee shops and pet spas? Check. It could be a list of amenities you’d find in the Beach—but it’s at the other end of the streetcar line in New Toronto, which shares much in common with its pricier east-end counterpart.
The natural beauty of this “streetcar suburb” sandwiched between Mimico and Long Branch is defined not just by its access to the western beaches, but also the sprawling Colonel Samuel Smith Park, which contains some of the oldest buildings in Toronto. These include the former “lunatic asylum” that’s been restored and put to use by Humber College. The park also features a unique figure-eight ice-skating path at its centre.
There’s a good mix of detached single-family homes, new townhouses, bungalows and apartment towers on both sides of Lake Shore Boulevard that’ll run you half of what you’d pay in the Beach.
If you follow the lake west to Etobicoke, you’ll pass through New Toronto. The neighbourhood hugs the shore close to the Mississauga border in the city’s southwest end.
West: Twenty-Third Street; East: Dwight Avenue; North: GO Rail Line; South: Lake Ontario.
The commuter’s artery of choice—the Gardiner Expressway—sits about a five-minute drive north of the neighbourhood, providing a direct route downtown. Currently at war with your car? Mimico GO Station is close by and the Queen 501 streetcar also runs along the main drag. Those heading downtown can make a quick switch at Roncesvalles from the 501 Queen to the 504 King car. The 44 Kipling and the 110 Islington bus routes head north from New Toronto to the subway. If you’re more the “scenic route” type and find yourself with a spare hour, hop on your bike to take full advantage of the lakeshore panorama.
Time to Union Station (All times are approximate)
16 minutes by car
68 minutes by streetcar
17 minutes by GO Train from Mimico
Highlights include the baseball diamond at Rotary Peace Park and a playground, splash pad and paved surface perfect for rollerblading at Prince of Wales Park. The socially minded New Toronto pooch can roam free in the off-leash area at Colonel Samuel Smith Park.
Residents can head to Ourland Community Centre for tennis, bocce and kids’ camps or go skating at Mimico Arena, but the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence is worth the quick drive west of the ’hood. Home to four rinks, it’s the official practice facility for the Leafs and Marlies, and offers occasional free family skates on Saturday afternoons. FYI Battle of the Blades fans: The show’s third season was filmed there.
The lakeshore offshoot of Humber College—home to 5,000 full-time students and the school’s main hub for its arts, social work and police foundations programs—sits just west of New Toronto and is easily accessible by transit. Lakeshore Collegiate Institute and Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary are the local high schools, while Seventh Street and Twentieth Street Junior Schools, both opened in the 1920s, serve the elementary level alongside St. Teresa’s Catholic.
Highest ranked elementary school
St. Teresa’s Catholic Elementary School (8.9/10)
Highest ranked high school
Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School (7.2/10)
The Gallery Studio Café (2877 Lake Shore Rd. W.) does triple duty as a coffeehouse, live music venue and gallery space for artists.
Ranked the 82nd safest out of 140 Toronto neighbourhoods.
WHAT’S THE CATCH?
The streetcar is convenient, but it can be a loooong trip to more popular destinations downtown—the trip to Yonge and Queen is about an hour.
GOOD TO KNOW
Colonel Samuel Smith Park is home to the ﬁrst wetlands and wildlife preserve on the Great Lakes.
92 Hay Ave.
Price: sold for $465,000
Draw: Plenty of upgrades add character to this adorable two-storey find, which includes a finished basement and recently updated kitchen. It’s also just a short walk to stores and the Mimico GO and a quick drive to the Gardiner for commuters.
Catch: Privacy is minimal when you’re tightly sandwiched between two neighbouring homes. Laminate flooring abounds, which dates the interiors quite a bit.
81 Fourth St.
Draw: This rustic two-storey home is made even cozier thanks to hardwood flooring and a wood fireplace. Complete with eat-in kitchen and a walkout to the deck, it’s just minutes from lakeside parks and rec facilities.
Catch: You should be interested in a DIY project, as the unfinished basement and one-note décor scheme could use a little sprucing up.
41 Albani St.
Draw: A long private driveway and expansive yard lend some privacy to this charming bungalow—a great choice for first-time homebuyers and young families.
Catch: It’s a definite fixer-upper; the basement is only partially finished and recent renovations (fresh paint, some window work) are minimal.
WHAT THE NEIGHBOURS SAY
Joann Walzack, 26, Student
How long have you lived in New Toronto?
“Two and a half years.”
Why did you move here?
“I like the area because of the water and the trails. It’s nice, especially for people with active lifestyles.”
What are your favourite places in New Toronto?
“My favourite restaurant is Sushi-4-U. It’s nice, quaint and has great prices. I also like the Delicia bakery. Their coffee is amazing!”
How is the neighbourhood changing?
“Condos are going up, which is great for the area, but stores keep shutting down.”
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