Queen St West (Fashion District) Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Queen St West (Fashion District) Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Queen St West (Fashion District) Neighbourhood Guide

Welcome to Queen St West (Fashion District):

Toronto’s renowned arts district has a fresh, haute bohemian atmosphere these days, with boutique condominiums squeezing in between gritty bars, hip restaurants and independent art galleries the area has long been known for. Vogue magazine has dubbed West Queen West one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world, and locals love the homegrown indie streetscape with its graffiti, pulsing nightclubs, grungy music venues and refurbished old gems like The Gladstone and the flophouse-turned-art-bar, The Drake Hotel.


The neighbourhood stretches from Queen Street West in the north to King Street West in the south, and from Dufferin Street on the western edge over to Bathurst Street on the eastern edge. Locals tend to be young, with a huge population of under-30s, but there are lots of kids, adults and seniors in the neighbourhood, too. Most people live in condominiums and lofts, but there are row houses and single-family homes on offer at higher price points. Average after-tax income in the area is about $68,000.

What you'll fall in love with:

The energy in West Queen West is unlike any other neighbourhood in the city. Artists converge here to live the creative life, make art together and bootstrap community exhibitions, and the high concentration of free spirits makes the air vibrate with possibility. Art is everywhere you look and locals love to wander through the stores, galleries, bars and restaurants, soaking it all up.

What you Won't find:

Peace and quiet are hard to come by on West Queen West, as young, artsy locals (and tourists) enjoy a vibrant, round-the-clock lifestyle. Bars and restaurants are open till the wee hours and then they pour their joyful clientele into the streets in the middle of the night, with all the attendant rabble rousing. For a more serene lifestyle, you’ll want to head outside the downtown core: try Dufferin Grove or Junction Triangle.

House Style:

Boutique condominiums, row houses and some detached single-family homes on side streets.


An average home price in this district is around $1.1 million.

The commute:

West Queen West is right downtown, and locals who commute to the core can get there in about 20 minutes, either by bike or on the TTC. Walking takes about 45 minutes. Heading up to Yonge and Bloor will take about the same length of time by bike, but 10 minutes longer on public transit. A car will save you about five minutes on either trip.

Local Schools:

There are three elementary schools in West Queen West: Niagara Street Junior Public, St. Mary Catholic and Holy Family Catholic. The local high school is Parkdale Collegiate, which ranked 4.1/10 in the Fraser Institute’s 2015-16 review of Canadian schools.

Life Style:

Urban artists and the people who love them congregate along this two-kilometre strip to take part in some of the most ambitious and progressive creative work in the country. Increasingly affluent, they shop at indy retailers like Coal Miner’s Daughter (Canadian fashion), eat at local restaurants like The Good Son (by Top Chef Canada alumnus Vittorio Colacitti) and listen to rock, punk, glam, metal or 70s funk at the 25-year-old Bovine Sex Club (no sign, but you’ll know it by the scrap metal art installation bolted to the outside).

West Queen West is home to countless galleries and design houses tucked into historic buildings. These include the artist-run Propeller gallery, the Stephen Bulger Gallery for contemporary and historical photographers, and the half-studio, half-gallery Graven Feather. Plenty of locals take advantage of the new Artscape Youngplace, which bills itself as a laboratory and creativity workshop offering exhibition and work spaces to local artists. Add in furniture and vintage stores and shops selling craft and sewing supplies and you can find fresh inspiration at every step. If the shops and galleries fail to satisfy, locals take a walk through the magnificent graffiti alley, where artists legally ply their trade with spray paint and markers on a warren of brick canvases.

Queen West has no shortage of things to do and people to see, year round. Music lovers enjoy access to some of the best musicians at a host of unique venues down the strip, and art lovers find no end of exhibitions to attend, including the Queen West Art Crawl, a three-day festival celebrating the arts on Queen Street West.

A little bit of history:

West Queen West dates back to the late 1800s, when a working-class neighbourhood grew up around the Canadian Pacific Railway hub. The Gladstone Hotel was built in 1889 followed by The Drake Hotel in 1890, and the two landmarks have watched as the neighbourhood has reincarnated itself again and again. From the mid-19th Century to the mid-20th Century, the neighbourhood was home to immigrant enclaves including, at various times, Irish, Jewish, Chinese, Polish, Ukrainian and Portuguese communities. The area deteriorated in the 1970s, however, and the two hotels became flophouses, with brief incarnations as punk bars and rave dens. Gentrification took hold in the early 2000s, as multi-million dollar renovations at both The Drake and The Gladstone tipped off an influx of condominiums and upscale stores and eateries that have drawn affluent Torontonians to the area.

There are three elementary schools in West Queen West: Niagara Street Junior Public, St. Mary Catholic and Holy Family Catholic. The local high school is Parkdale Collegiate, which ranked 4.1/10 in the Fraser Institute’s 2015-16 review of Canadian schools.

Queen St West (Fashion District) on a map