Welcome to King St West (Entertainment District):
Explosive residential growth in this downtown neighbourhood means entertainment buffs can live right where they play, in the heart of this lively, flamboyant district. Theatre, film, concerts, symphonies, night clubs and major league sports – whatever your pleasure, it’s all so close you can walk home in your Manolos. Some say this is Toronto’s version of New York’s SoHo, with industrial lofts harkening back to the days when this was the city’s garment district, plus exclusive residential towers, swank boutiques and sumptuous restaurants. It’s a fantastic choice for urbanites who want to be close to the action.
The district extends from Bathurst Street on the west to University Avenue on the east, and from Adelaide Street on the northern edge down to Front Street along the southern edge. Like many downtown communities, the population in King Street West is young, and there are few seniors and children in the neighbourhood. Most folks live in condominiums, but there are single-family homes and row houses available is small pockets. After-tax family income is right on par with the city average, at about $70,000 per year.
What you'll fall in love with:
The Toronto International Film festival is one of the biggest, most prestigious events of its kind in the world, and it’s headquartered right in the centre of your neighbourhood. Celebrity watchers will fall into a swoon when Hollywood descends on the city for festival season in September, but the Bell Lightbox hosts events and screenings year-round, too. Hard core film buffs might even consider buying in the 46-story condominium complex that stands atop the theatre.
There are no schools in the Entertainment District. The closest elementary school is Ogden Junior Public, which is just a few blocks north of the nighbourhood and received a 5.2/10 in the Fraser Institute’s 2015/16 review of Canadian schools. The closest high school is Heydon Park Secondary.
If you work downtown, you can walk to the office: Union Station is on the south-east corner of the community and most of Toronto’s soaring skyscrapers are right in the neighbourhood. The trip up to Yonge and Bloor will take under 15 minutes by car, bike or transit; the walk is longer, coming in at about 40 minutes or so.
The entertainment district is a magnet for affluent Torontonians who love the arts. It’s impossible to list everything the neighbourhood offers – nightclubs alone number well over 30. It’s safe to say, though, that folks who live in King Street West benefit from an unparalleled selection of entertainment options.
Canada’s lively theatre district is in the centre of the King Street West community, and is home to nearly a dozen landmark theatres including the stately beaux-arts Royal Alexandra, the oldest continuously operating theatre in North America, and the Princess of Wales, which hosts long-running musicals like Les Miserables and Hairspray. Smaller theatres includes the Tarragon (contemporary playwriting), Buddies in Bad Times (“queer theatrical expression”), and The Second City (improvisational comedy). The famous Factory Theatre exclusively features Canadian plays.
Roy Thomson Hall his home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and hosts guests ranging from the Boston Symphony to Susan Aglukark. The internationally famous Massey Hall is just steps away on Yonge Street, hosting concerts and lectures from stars and luminaries the world over.
The first nightclubs arrived in the district in the early 1980s, with the opening of the now-defunct Twilight Zone. By the early 1990s a handful of clubs had opened in the neighbourhood’s vacated industrial warehouses, leading to the nickname “clubland.” Residential development started in the early 2000s, and pushed out some of the clubs, but the area around King Street West is still home to most of the clubs in the city. Locals love The Fifth Social Club, Maison Mercer and the Everleigh Club – there even a ping-pong night club, called SPiN.
You’ll find a stunning variety of restaurants catering to every taste. Little India bills itself as an “outpost” for south Asian cuisine, or try Pai for incredibly popular northern Thai fare. Flock serves homestyle rotisserie chicken, Tutti Matti offers Tuscan cuisine and Byblos is home to some of the best upscale Mediterranean food in the city. Whatever you’re craving, you’ll find it here.
This urban jungle is home to the tiny Clarence Square Park, Victoria Memorial Park and David Pecaut Square. Toronto’s flagship Mountain Equipment Coop store is in the neighbourhood – a mecca for Canada’s outdoorsy crowd. If you’re looking for some bigger green spaces, the lakeshore’s Martin Goodman Trail and Toronto Island are just a short hike south.
A little bit of history:
King Street West started out as a military reserve. Victoria Memorial Square was once a military cemetery, the final resting place of more than 400 new Canadians, include many who died in the war of 1812. The railroad arrived in the 1850s, and the neighbourhood became a hub of industry, attracting many textile and clothing manufacturers. Over time, the area became knowns as the Garment District. Much of Toronto’s nascent Jewish community lived here, and many sought work in these factories.
Industry started to move out of the area in the 1970s, leaving historic warehouses empty. The CN Tower was built in 1976, drawing tourists to the area, and the nightclubs followed soon after. Residential development started in the early 2000s and today, most of the vacated post-and-beam industrial buildings have been repurposed as offices for creative industries, artist’s galleries, and residential lofts. Parts of the area have since been designated as a Heritage Conservation District.
King St West (Entertainment District) on a map
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