Moss Park Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Moss Park Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Moss Park Neighbourhood Guide

Welcome to Moss Park:

Moss Park is a study in contrasts. Swank new factory lofts that harken back to the neighbourhood’s glorious industrial past stand here alongside towering, featureless mid-century public housing projects. Sparkling new facilities like the MLSE Launchpad sports complex sit down the road from weary brick homeless shelters that struggle to keep up with demand. While neighbouring communities benefit from billion-dollar revitalization projects and rapid gentrification, Moss Park continues to fight drugs and crime. Nascent efforts to refurbish the park and local community centre have met with early resistance from locals who wonder where the poor will go if the rich start moving in. For now, this convenient downtown community remains home to Torontonians from all walks of life, from those who have no home to those who are in the market for stunning, million-dollar Victorian fixer-uppers just a stone’s throw from Bay Street. A good option for intrepid, optimistic buyers who want to live in a diverse, colourful urban community.


Moss Park is a tiny downtown neighbourhood that reaches from Church Street in the west to Parliament Street in the east, and from Dundas Street in the north down to Adelaide Street on the south (with a little jog down Jarvis Street and across King Street East). There are Torontonians of all generations living in Moss Park, though the number of children is lower than average. The vast majority of local live in condominiums and apartments, with a smaller number (just eight per cent) living in row houses. The average annual household income is $53,308, and 30 per cent of those who live here are designated low-income (compared to a 19 per cent rate city-wide).

What you'll fall in love with:

Locals love Moss Park’s central location. This diverse community is just steps from Toronto’s humming business and entertainment districts, with easy access to the bustling St. Lawrence Market and the thriving Distillery District to the south, plus Riverdale Park and Cabbagetown to the north. While the neighbourhood has little to offer in the way of restaurants and shopping, it is a hop, skip and a jump to some of the best Toronto has to offer.


Moss Park offers a quick commute to Toronto’s business and entertainment districts and an easy ride to vibrant shopping areas like St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District.

Local Schools:

The Ecole elementaire Gabrielle-Roy is located in Moss Park; here, children are educated entirely in French. The closest English school is Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public, which is just north of Moss Park in neighbouring Cabbagetown. Lord Dufferin received a 3.7/10 in the Fraser Institute’s 2015/16 review of Canadian schools. There are no high schools in Moss Park; the closest local option is Inglenook Community School in Corktown.

The commute:

One of the very best things about Moss Park is that it’s right in the downtown core. Drive or bike to Union Station in under 10 minutes, or take the TTC and get there in 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can walk to work in just 20 minutes. The trip up to Yonge and Bloor is equally easy: 10 minutes by car or bike, 20 minutes on transit and 30 minutes on foot.


The average price of a single-family detached home is $1.4 million, while condominium prices range from $312,000 to $875,000, averaging at about $472,000.

House Style:

Condominiums and row houses dating from the turn of the century, with occasional row houses and rare detached homes on offer.

Life Style:

The community is built around one of the largest green spaces in downtown Toronto, the sprawling eight-acre Moss Park. The canopied park is home to a basketball court, two tennis courts, a baseball diamond (with lights) and a playground for children, complete with a wading pool.

Locals make good use of the John Innes Community Recreation Centre, which is located on the northern edge of the park. The centre is free to use and features an indoor pool, weight room, gymnasium and dance studio, along with a craft room and a lounge. Classes include dance, crafting and visual arts along with cooking and leadership for kids. Local sports programs include basketball, gymnastics, swimming and soccer.

The Moss Park Arena on the corner of Sherbourne Street and Queen Street hosts co-ed hockey leagues year-round and youth hockey schools during March break and over Christmas, plus a hockey camp during the summer. The Women’s Hockey Club of Toronto, the Central Toronto Skating Club and the Moss Park Hockey League all operate out of the arena as well. The brand new MLSE Launchpad, run by the charitable foundation of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, offers multiport courts, a rock wall, teaching kitchen and classrooms for at-risk youth.

There are several homeless shelters in Moss Park and the surrounding area, along with many outreach and charitable organizations. These services bring poor and struggling Torontonians into the community, including some with addiction and mental health concerns. Panhandlers often work here. Drug-related crime rates are higher in Moss Park than in most other areas of the city.

The 519, a local LGBTQ charitable organization, is advocating a $100 million revitalization of the John Innes Community Recreation Centre. The proposed new centre would include two ice pads, a rooftop park and a pool. The community is also served by the Garden District Residents’ Association, which has used its website to catalogue extensive developer interest in the neighbourhood. One of these developments, by WAM Development Group, could reportedly see 1,600 new units built in three towers at the corner of Queen and Richmond Streets.

A little bit of history:

The story of Moss Park begins with a man who was blessed with unrivalled wealth and cursed with unimaginable tragedy and loss. William Allen immigrated to Canada in 1787, when he was barely 18 years old. He started as a lowly clerk and became one of Canada’s most powerful and wealthy businessmen – some say he was the wealthiest man in Upper Canada in his day. Along the way he served as postmaster, justice of the peace, judge, businessman, politician and banker. He married Leah Gamble in 1809, and they had 11 children together.

In 1828, Allan built an epic Greek Revival mansion on his park lot, a sprawling building with four tall columns in front. He called the estate Moss Park, after his home in Scotland, Moss Farm. The first tragedy struck four years later, when his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, died. In the following years, ten of his 11 children died from consumption – nine of them before their 20th birthday. In 1848 his wife died, and in 1950 his last daughters died. Only one son survived him. That son, George William Allen, went on to become Mayor of Toronto and a Canadian senator.

After Allen died in 1853, his son quickly subdivided the land and ushered in an era of urban development, donating the land that would become Allen Gardens. Few of the homes from this era still stand, as the area was levelled in 1962 to make space for the construction of the housing projects that now dominate the neighbourhood. Those homes that do remain, such as the row houses along Seaton Street, command the highest prices in the neighbourhood.

Moss Park on a map