Wanless Park Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Wanless Park Properties and Neighbourhood Guide

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Wanless Park Neighbourhood Guide

Welcome to Wanless Park:

A tiny, verdant midtown neighbourhood with an immense park in the middle, this idyllic enclave draws families and seniors alike. Barely five blocks long and wide, Wanless Park is home to brick Georgian homes dating back as far as the 1930s, along with some smaller bungalows and tall new builds, giving it the warm, eclectic feeling of a mature neighbourhood. The five-acre Wanless Park at the centre serves as the community hub, and is perpetually filled with locals walking their dogs or taking their children to the park. People who move to this friendly, inviting community tend to stay here, and many who grew up here choose to stay.

Neighbours:

Wanless Park is a small neighbourhood tucked in between Snowden Avenue on the north and Lawrence Avenue on the south, and between Ronan Avenue on the west and Mildenhall Road on the east. This is a family community, with loads of kids and parents over 35, along with empty-nesters and plenty of seniors. The great majority of couples have children living in their gorgeous detached homes; the average annual after-tax income here is nearly $138,000, nearly double the city average.

What you'll fall in love with:

Wanless Park is the crown jewel of the neighbourhood, offering more than five acres of green space within easy walking distance from all the homes in the community. There are five tennis courts, a baseball diamond and a multi-purpose field, plus a wading pool and playground for the little ones. A park-side field house even provides public washroom facilities, making this an option for everything from festivals and family reunions to simple, all-day neighbourhood play.

Local Schools:

There are no schools within the borders of Wanless Park proper, but there are lots of excellent schools in nearby Bedford Park and Lawrence Park. For elementary schools, consider Bedford Park Public, John Wanless Public or John Ross Robertson Junior Public; for secondary schools consider Lawrence Park Collegiate and Loretto Abbey Catholic for secondary schools.

Prices:

Single-family detached homes cost an average of $1.09 M.

House Style:

Single-family detached homes, most built in the 1930s and 1940s.

A little bit of history:

Susan Kinsman came to Canada in 1845, when she was just 18 years old. A native of Cornwall, England, she married George Bell, a jeweler, and had two daughters. The first girl, Elizabeth, was born in 1853, and the second, Janet – who went by Jenny – was born in 1861. George passed away shortly after Jenny’s birth, and October 2, 1961 she re-married to John Wanless, a 31-year-old Scotsman from the tiny village of Longformacus, in Berwickshire. John took over the jewelry business that year, and they built it into one of the most prestigious in Canada. The couple lived above the store at 172 Yonge Street and attended Knox Presbyterian Church; they had five children together – John, Alexander, Margaret, Clara and Isabella. The store was rebuilt from the ground up in 1870 – four stories high, made of Credit Valley sandstone, with walnut and silver cases set atop solid cherry tables to display the jewelry. John became treasurer of the Canadian Retail Jewelers’ Association, and the wholesale side of the business expanded to draw American traders. While Mrs. Waverly was busy raising their family, she had many recipes published in The famous New Galt Cookbook, including one for simple cookies, another for Highland Scones, and a third for Barley Cakes. John Wanless served as a council member for the Township of York for three years starting in 1903, and became an alderman in 1912. In 1913 they donated a storefront at 573 Queen Street to the Presbyterian Church, and bankrolled the creation of the Evangel Hall Mission to minister to the people of The Ward. The son of a grammar school teacher, John joined the Board of Education in 1921 and 1922. Just before the Second World War, family friend W.S. Dinnick started developing land in what would become Wanless Park, and named Wanless Avenue and Wanless Crescent after his jeweler friend. In 1931, the city expropriated land at the centre of the old Waverly Farm, created a park and called it Wanless Park. Six years later, in 1937, the new John Wanless Public School was built in the heart of what is now Bedford Park, and was then an ambitious new suburb.

Life Style:

In addition to the beautiful park at the centre of the community, the neighbourhood backs on to the private Rosedale Golf Club, which not only means that great golf is a short drive away, but also that homes along the northern edge of this community have forested backyards. Wanless Park is also right around the corner from the Granite Club, a century-old, private, invitation-only country club with a $50,000 initiation fee and a magnificent array of social and athletic activities on offer. Instructors here include former Olympic Athletes and Canadian champions. The Wanless Park Community Tennis Club bills itself as “North Toronto’s home of family tennis,” and makes good on the promise. The organization operates out of the fieldhouse in Wanless Park and offers access to certified instructors and ball machines along with clinics for kids and adults, summer camps, a house league and tournaments that turn into social events. The club house was built in 1935, and the tennis club itself was established in 1952. The active Bedford-Wanless Ratepayers Association binds the community together, serving as a clearinghouse for debate over development issues and organizing community events. In late 2016, the organization successfully defeated an effort to build a multi-unit housing complex on a tiny parcel of land once occupied by the Bedford Park United Church, a victory that prompted a community celebration at a local pub. Since 2016, the association has organized the annual Wanless Park Spring Fair, which featured children’s games, a magician and prizes, along with a barbecue supplied by the neighbourhood butcher, The Friendly Butcher. There are no restaurants in this residential community, but Yonge Street just a few blocks away provides all the dining options you’ll ever need. Locals love the Parmigiano Trattoria, a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant that cooks with homegrown herbs. Try the highly-rated Joy Thai for your pad thai fix or STACK for “two-handed” burgers.

The commute:

Union Station is a mere 30 minutes away by car or transit, or tack on another 10 minutes and you can make your commute downtown on your bike. The trip to Yonge and Bloor will take you just 20 minute in a car or on the TTC, or just half an hour on two wheels.

Highlight:

Wanless Park, a gem at the centre of the community, always filled with locals, their kids and their furry friends.

Wanless Park on a map