East Danforth, also known as Danforth Village or “The Danny”, is a burgeoning neighbourhood in the east end of Toronto. While the abundance of open green spaces is a refreshing recreational reprieve for its residents, the rustic retro brick buildings from the Massey Estate and casual functional architecture from the interwar period is of heritage value.
The area, extending from the eastern boundary of Greektown by Greenwood Avenue to the periphery of Scarborough at Victoria Park Avenue, was once part of the municipal township of York County before being annexed and then amalgamated into what is presently known as the City of Toronto.
Strategic public investments in infrastructure like transit, housing and community services have led to Danforth Village’s urban renewal. Transitioned from its agro-industrial origins and suburban reputation, the area is now a multicultural patchwork with its own identity and charm. Danforth Village has a wealth of quaint single-family homes both detached and semis, in addition to its newly developed condos and apartments that border the quiet tree-lined streets all just steps away from incredible dining, shopping and leisure experiences.
Golf at Dentonia Park Golf Course with your neighbours or appreciate fresh produce and artisan goods while strolling through the lively farmers’ market in East Lynn Park alongside your family. Hike and cycle through the network of trails at Taylor Creek Park or enjoy the charming boutiques and socialize at the bustling outdoor cafes along the vibrant pedestrian path of the commercial street. This welcoming neighbourhood is ideal for families and young professionals interested in integrating big city living with small town appeal.
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From Coleman’s Corners to Little York, a look into the east end of the Danforth’s history provides a chronology of development and boom that has led from its era as an electric village to that of a friendly cultural mosaic of commercial and retail spaces. In the 1870s, the intersection of Danforth and Dawes was referred to as Coleman’s Corners when Charles Coleman, a hotel owner in the area, was first appointed to Postmaster and responsible for the receiving, sorting and sending of mail in the village. The Grand Trunk Railway was constructed in the mid-19th century, along with the establishment of a train station in East Toronto.
In fact, some of the original rail lines from this time are currently used by the GO Transit and VIA Rail Networks. The area was renamed “Little York”, of which you can still find traces. From the bay and gable Victorian houses of the Massey Goulding farm residences and the Gothic Revival architecture of the Charles Taylor Estate, to the modest brick homes for railways workers on Coleman Ave and the steam powered grist mill of Gooderham & Worts.
The former remote area of Danforth East soon became industrialized along the east bank of the Don Valley. While its rich clay deposits were exploited for brick-making, its unserviced land was settled by a thriving population of newly arrived immigrants who continue to put down roots here to this day.
Named after Asa Danforth, an American contractor, Danforth Village soon flourished after major transportation improvements were made. The completion of the Prince Edward Viaduct in 1918, the streetcar line along Broadview Ave from Queen St East to the corner of Danforth Ave and the opening of the Bloor – Danforth subway in 1966 connected the populous metropolitan (city) to the extended “streetcar suburbs” (village).
As a result, Danforth East is now home to Italian, Greek, Irish, Moroccan, Chinese, Afghani, Caribbean, Pakistani and Ethiopian cultures. This new microeconomy provides ample authentic retail, restaurant, and cafe options along the main Danforth thoroughfare, while also attracting pedestrian traffic and encouraging active engagement in the now vibrantly diverse community where residents can live, work and play.
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Taylor-Massey Creek Park
Named after two prominent Toronto families, the Taylors of the Don Valley Brick Works and the Masseys of the Canadian farm equipment manufacturing company, Massey-Ferguson, the creek provides sizable open green space in the form of paved and dirt recreational trails for City of Toronto residents.
Children’s Peace Theatre
Children’s Peace Theatre is located in the Goulding Estate, a heritage property on Dawes Road that was once the primary residence of Canada’s first major industrialist. It operates year-round to provide collaborative and artistic programs and projects to children and youth of all ages in an effort to raise awareness about peace methods.
The house, which was once located on the family’s 240 acres of farmland, is architecturally significant as it was designed by the notable Canadian architect Ferdinand Marani. The mansion is often referred to as the Garden of Eden because of “British-born, Toronto-made” Eden Smith’s influence on the cottage-like style.
A large park packed with fields for soccer, baseball, and even cricket as well as a clubhouse and walking trails, Dentonia Park is situated on what was once farmer’s fields. These days it serves as a place to experience the outdoors for the area’s residents and will be recognized by many as the location where the Bloor-Danforth Subway line descends underground after Victoria Park Station.
Enjoy Nature at Taylor Creek
Flowing through Scarborough and East York before entering the Don River, the creek offers a well maintained respite from the hustle and bustle of city living. The cascading river, assorted tall trees and savage wildlife emanates an enchanting feel of serenity. Regardless of the season, this accessible network of trails is a great place for residents passionate about the outdoors. Here you can walk with your family and/or pets, train for endurance sports like running, biking or cross country skiing, host a private and/or community barbecue and sit on one of the many benches to bask in the surrounding natural beauty of Danforth Village’s hidden oasis.
Go Green with East Lynn Park’s Farmers Market
Danforth East residents can take pleasure in the fresh selection of local produce and artisanal goods, as well as family-friendly entertainment every Thursday from 3 to 7pm at East Lynn Park, located on Danforth Avenue at Woodbine Avenue. The Danforth East Community Association (DECA) continues to offer opportunities for neighbours and local families to congregate with monthly festivals and children’s events like their strawberry social, movie nights, arts fair, corn broil, pumpkin parade and fall harvest festival.
Hit A Few Balls At Dentonia Park Golf Course
A hidden gem in the heart of the city and conveniently located at Victoria Park and Danforth Avenue, just steps away from the subway station, this well kept short-game circuit offers an 18 hole irons-only par three golf course on part of the original Massey Farm lands that is perfect for beginner and pro alike.
From the nostalgic smells of warm bread baking to the aromas and spices of the myriad ethnic shops which line the street, Danforth Village residents can enjoy the specialty food stores as well as “ma and pa” businesses on the neighbourhood’s main street. Although it’s no Greektown or Queen St. W., there’s a certain no-frills appeal to a commercial part of the city without the fuss.
Since Danforth Village began as a farming community with large swaths of land with a relatively low population density it should come as no surprise that today’s Danforth Village residents continue to enjoy a fair amount of breathing room.
Real estate in the East-end Danforth neighbourhood may not be luxurious, but there’s a range of property types to serve everyone from young families and couples to single real estate investors looking to get a leg up in the real estate market.
Fully-detached homes abound, many with generously sized lots. Even more prevalent are semi-detached homes connected to rear laneways for garage and parking access. Finally, the large apartment complexes around primary intersections like Main St. & Danforth Ave. make the area an attractive place to settle for immigrants of all kinds.
With terrific connection to the rest of the city via the Bloor-Danforth Subway line and the 512 Streetcar route leaving Main St. station, it’s no surprise that the area is quickly gaining popularity for prospective home buyers.
Thinking of buying or selling property in Danforth Village? Work with Frank Leo & Associates to get the city’s top real estate team on your side. You can get started by contacting us with questions or claiming your free, no-obligation home evaluation.
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