Forest Hill North Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Forest Hill North Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Forest Hill North Neighbourhood Guide

Welcome to Forest Hill North:

Forest Hill North is the down-to-earth cousin of its gilded namesake to the south. The two have similar DNA: They emerged from the same era in Toronto’s history, and the wide, leafy streets of Forest Hill North are home to prestigious, multi-million dollar mansions with manicured lawns and lush gardens, just like its southern neighbour. But Forest Hill North was a railway and industrial area, and it developed later, in the post-war era. The lots are still wonderfully deep and many homes here are still inspired by Georgian and Tudor architectural styles, but they are typically more modest and modern, and you’ll find lots of neo-eclectic new builds in the neighbourhood, too. Steps from the best private schools in country, Forest Park North offers fantastic green spaces, excellent transit options and good shopping – a good option for affluent families who want to be close to downtown.

What you’ll fall in love with:

The lush Kay Gardiner Beltline Park runs through this urban community, a gateway to countless recreational opportunities for active locals. The Beltline, which follows the path of the failed 1892 Toronto Beltline Railway, will take you nine kilometres through the peaceful Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Chorley Park, David A. Balfour Park and the spectacular Rosehill Reservoir. The path connects locals to the city’s loveliest green spaces and trails that can take you just about anywhere, including the Lower Don Trail, Park Drive Reservation Trail and Milkman’s Lane. A great neighbourhood perk for cyclists, runners and dog walkers alike.

Neighbours:

Forest Hill North is bordered by Briar Hill on the northern edge and Eglinton Avenue on the southern edge; the western border runs up Marlee Avenue, across the Kay Gardiner Beltline and up again at Allen Road, while the eastern border runs up Latimer Avenue across Roselawn Avenue and up again at Castlewood Road. There are people of all generations living in the community, with lots of kids and seniors. There are plenty of families here, but many couples without children as well. Most people live in the high-rises and condominiums along major arteries, but driving through the community you’ll enjoy canopied streetscapes with lovely gardens and manicured lawns. The average after-tax household income here is just over $98,000. 

Schools:

The local elementary school is the small and highly regarded West Preparatory Junior Public, which goes from kindergarten to Grade 6 and received an 8.5/10 in the Fraser Institute’s 2015-16 review of Canadian Schools. The area high school is Forest Hill Collegiate, also highly ranked, receiving an 8.2/10 from the Fraser Institute. The neighbourhood is also close to some of the very best private schools in the country, including the Upper Canada College for boys and the Bishop Strachan School for girls.

Prices:

Single-family detached homes in the neighbourhood average roughly $1.85 M, while condominiums range in price from $245,000 to $725,000, with an average of about $380,000.

House Style:

Single-family detached homes line the streets here, in Georgian, Tudor and Neo-eclectic styles.

Life Style:

In addition to the Beltline Trail, Forest Hill North is home to Memorial Park, which features two ball diamonds, an outdoor track and a multi-purpose athletic field. The Larry Grossman Forest Hill Memorial Arena sits alongside the park, and offers two ice rinks that host hockey and public skating in the community. There’s an old-school concession stand for hockey moms and dads, and the rink hosts skating parties for kids’ birthdays upon request. There are several tiny parkettes in the neighbourhood as well, including Castlefield Parkette and the Nicol MacNicol Parkette, which offer nice spots to rest when you’re out for a walk.
There are great restaurants along the southern edge of the neighbourhood, along Eglinton Avenue West. Jerusalem is a neighbourhood institution, and has been serving Middle Eastern food here since 1971; locals also love Frida for high-end Mexican cuisine. Bi Bim Bap is popular for traditional Korean meals served in stone bowls – be sure to try the cinnamon dessert tea. Thobor’s magnificient bakery is the real gem of the neighbourhood, though, run by a baker and chocolatier educated and trained in Paris. Their epic chocolate baguette was featured in the Toronto Star, and sells out fast. It’s a must-stop shop for folks in the know. The eastern corner of the community is captured by the 25-year-old Avenue Road-Eglinton Community Association, which monitors developments and hosts neighbourhood walks and summer sidewalk sales in the business district. The stretch of Eglinton Avenue just west of the community is home to the York-Eglinton Business Improvement Area, which represents over 200 business and bills itself as an international market featuring Carribbean, Latin and Italian flavours.

A little bit of history:

The history of Forest Hill north is tied to that of its cousin to the south. John Wickson’s first summer home was built on the boundary between the two halves, where Eglinton Avenue and Old Forest Hill Road now meet. As the area around Wickson’s home developed in the late 1880s, the area that is now Forest Hill North became the site of the Toronto Beltline Railway. The line failed after two years of operation, and the land around it fell into disuse.
This set the stage for one of the most interesting periods in the neighbourhood’s history, when the community became ground zero for one of Toronto’s first big battles over bike lanes. In the early 1970s, CN tried to sell part of the land. Some city officials – including local librarian and alderman Kay Gardner – wanted to turn the rail bed into a bike path, but they met with resistance from homeowners and the mayor, who worried about vandals and safety issues. The bike trail advocates won that battle, and the city eventually purchased all the beltline lands. By the early 1990s, the rail bed had been fully converted into a bike trail, and in 2000, the area of the trail that runs through Forest Hill North was designated the Kay Gardner Beltline Park.

The Commute:

The Eglinton West subway station is right in the south-west corner of the community, making the commute to downtown Toronto exceptionally fast. The TTC will get you to Union Station in under 30 minutes, or you can drive in about 25 minutes. Cycling will take about 45 minutes. Travelling to Yonge and Bloor is a little bit faster: 20 minutes by car, 35 minutes on transit and about 30 minutes. The neighbourhood sits right alongside Allen Road, which can whisk you up to the 401 in a few short minutes and get you on your way out of the city, lickety-split.

Highlight:

Beautiful homes, excellent schools and exceptional access to Toronto’s green spaces via the Beltline Trail make this a perfect home for active families. The Beltline Trail is a lush, nine-kilometer trail that starts in Forest Hill North and carries local runners and cyclists to some of the nicest urban parks in the city.

Forest Hill North on a map