Its undulating topography, winding roads, quaint green pockets, large brick and stone homes, outstanding public and private schools, and proximity to downtown all make Forest Hill one of the most charming, prestigious and highly sought-after neighbourhoods in Toronto. Forest Hill is considered one of Toronto’s most affluent neighbourhoods, along with Lawrence Park, Rosedale, and The Bridle Path. It is also a unique neighbourhood that remains traditional while keeping up with the latest trends.
Photo by Alex Indigo
Its original boundaries are Bathurst Street to the west, Upper Canada College to the east, Eglinton Avenue to the north, and Lonsdale Road and a portion of Montclair Avenue to the south.
When originally settled in the 1860s, the neighbourhood was known as Spadina Heights, a name inspired from a First Nations word, “Ishapadenah,” which means a hill or sudden rise in land. Later, the neighbourhood was named after the summer home John Wickson built at the junction of Eglinton Avenue and Old Forest Hill Road. Forest Hill was originally incorporated as a village in 1923 and annexed by the City of Toronto in 1967.
Photo by Toronto History
Anglo-Saxon Protestants were the predominant demographic Prior to World War II, but soon a Semitic community began to move from the Bathurst-Spadina area to Forest Hill. Synagogues and Jewish schools were built during the 1940s and ’50s, proliferated steadily, and today Forest Hill has a Jewish atmosphere with stores and amenities catering to this special community.
In the late 1960s, the neighbourhood was threatened by the proposed Spadina Expressway (officially called the W.R. Allen Road) that was to bisect the heart of Forest Hill and The Annex, resulting in the expropriation of dozens of historic homes. The project had already begun when strong opposition was voiced by local residents, who successfully channeled public opinion against the expressway. Some time later, the province withdrew its support for the Spadina Expressway, defeated by the powerful citizens’ force.
- The Forest Hill Town Seal depicts a deer, and is etched in the window crown over the entrance to the Forest Hill Fire Station.
- Forest Hill’s old building codes and by-laws (in the 1920s and ’30s) required that all Forest Hill houses be designed by an architect, and that a tree be planted at the front of each property.
- As part of the annexation deal, residents retained the right to have their garbage picked up from their doorsteps rather than the curb. By 1993, this “butler service” was costing taxpayers $420,000 a year, and once this fact became known, the special garbage pick-up was discontinued due to the public outcry that followed.
- Currently, the City of Toronto’s Social Development & Administration division splits Forest Hill into two neighbourhoods: Forest Hill North and Forest Hill South. The entire area known as Forest Hill Village is also subdivided into two more categories: The Upper Village (officially part of Forest Hill North and running roughly from Briar Hill Avenue to Heath Street), and the Lower Village (officially the major part of Forest Hill South along Spadina Road between Bathurst Street or the Cedarvale Ravine further east and Avenue Road).
Homes, Architecture & Real Estate
Forest Hill is on prime real estate, which is reflected by housing prices. From French Colonial homes with terra cotta tiles to English country manors with Tudor boarding and sweeping lawns, the majority of the houses are eclectic. They were built mostly in the 1940s and ’50s, mainly in Tudor and Georgian styles, and loaded with beatiful details like stunning gated entrances, sculpture gardens, and portes cochères. Neo-classical and modern homes emerge in the area, while many homes are being renovated. Luxury condominium buildings also dot the neighbourhood, offering a more affordable alternative.
Who Is Your Neighbour?
Old money and the nouveau riche populate this area. Famous neighbours include Melinda Rogers of Rogers Communications, Grammy Award-winner Nelly Furtado, and gold baron Peter Munk, founder of Barrick Gold Corporation. According to the 2001 census, 90% of Forest Hill population was white and one-quarter was Jewish. Visible minorities are steadily moving into this neighbourhood.
Whoa Nelly by Francisco Vargas
Parks & Green Spaces
Belt Line Path is an excellent bicycling and running route for fitness enthusiasts. It is fourteen and a half kilometres long and follows the route of the former Belt Line railway, which was Toronto’s first commuter train, passing through Forest Hill, Moore Park, Swansea, and Rosedale. In 1999-2000, the trail was named the Kay Gardner Beltline Park after a local councillor who became involved in a campaign to save the former railway path from development. The trail now forms part of a trail network called Discovery Walks.. Do not miss the 2000 City of Toronto plaque beside Chaplin Crescent, across from Memorial Park.
Photo by loozrboy
Recreation & Culture
- Track Fitness, 417 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 481-7872, (416) 544-8677
- Camp New Moon Ltd, 47 Ridge Hill Drive, (416) 787-4461
- Forest Hill Memorial Arena, 340 Chaplin Cres, (416) 488-1800
- Forest Hill Figure Skating Club, 340 Chaplin Cres, (416) 481-7325
- Bathurst JCC, 4588 Bathurst St. (North of Sheppard), (416) 638-1881
- Vision by Strolf, 875 Av Eglinton O, (416) 782-9911
- Dragon Girl Body Toning Centre, 525 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 322-9688
Forest Hill’s Public Library, 700 Eglinton Ave. West, (416) 393-7706
Schools, Colleges & Universities
- Upper Canada College, 200 Lonsdale Road (all boys school)
- Bishop Strachan School, 298 Lonsdale Road (all girls school)
- Forest Hill Montessori School, 2 Wembley Road
- St. Michael’s College School, 1515 Bathurst Street
- Forest Hill Collegiate, 730 Eglinton Avenue West
- North Preparatory Public School, 1100 Spadina Rd
- West Preparatory Public School, 70 Ridge Hill Drive
- Forest Hill Jr and Sr Public School, 78 Dunloe Road
- Shoore Centre For Learning, 801 Eglinton Avenue West
- Alternative Primary School, 1100 Spadina Rd
Arts & Entertainment
- Petroff Gallery, 1016 Eglinton Ave W, (416) 782-1696
- Canada Square and Silvercity Yonge & Eglinton, 2300 Yonge St., Toronto, (416) 544-1236
Shoreline Study 1 by Janusz Wrobel
Attractions & Museums
- Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, 230 St. Clair Avenue West
Erected in 1914 as a Methodist congregation and named for department store founder Timothy Eaton, it has been known for its preaching ministry and its music. It has also maintained radio, and later internet, broadcasts of its services. Famed RCAF Ace Billy Bishop was married in the church.
- Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road
This Anglican Church of Canada parish, designed by Eden Smith in 1912, is one of only a handful of Anglican churches in Toronto to regularly celebrate Morning Prayer as the principal Sunday service. The two-story addition on the west side, built in 1955 as an Education Centre, now houses offices, meeting rooms, and a childcare centre. Trivia for book lovers: the church is featured in the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.
The Lower Village, well developed as a residential and commercial area, is known for its shopping district and the variety of intriguing specialty shops at Spadina and Lonsdale, which has the appeal of cozy village shopping. The Upper Village, with its industrial and railway roots, bustles with restaurants along Eglinton Avenue West, where you can also find home décor shops and pricey specialty boutiques.
If you feel up for a day in the mall grocery shopping, just pick your destination…
- Yorkdale Shopping Centre, at 3401 Dufferin Street
- ff, at Allen Road and Lawrence Avenue
- Metro, at Bathurst and Lawrence
- Loblaws, at St. Clair and Bathurst
If you are looking to enhance your closet or searching for other services…
-Tilli-Rose Founstns & Lingerie, 964 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 486-1333
-What’s Sexy, 872 Av Eglinton W, (416) 566-6569
- Women’s Clothing & Accessories
-Segal, 894 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 783-9787
-Fred’s Here, 558 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 488-0040
-Vila Ventura, 394 A Spadina Rd. (at Montclair Ave.), (416) 482-8880
-Kitsch Boutique, 325 Lonsdale Rd. (at Spadina Rd.), (416) 481-6712
- Shoe Stores
-Bio-Ped Foot Care Centre, 660 Av Eglinton O, (416) 440-4189
-Naot Footwear, 960 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 782-4596
-Prairie Dog, 960 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 782-4596
-Bioped Footcare Centre, 660 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 440-4189
-Family Food Fair Convenience, 572 Eglinton Ave W, (416) 481-9649
-Young Fruit Centre, 854 Eglinton Ave W, (416) 421-4230
- Forest Hill Spa, 435 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 484-4216
- Art Interiors, 446 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 488-3157
- Tara Fingold Interiors, 429 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 780-0096
- Leaside Shoe Service (Shoe Repair), 856 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 421-5368
- Bellissimo Men’s Clothier, 882 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 782-4780
- Packham Cleaners (Dry Cleaning & Laundry), 1108 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 782-1011
- Posesorski Gary Barr & Solctr, 5 Wembley Road, (416) 780-9655
- The Upholstery Shoppe, (Furniture Reupholstery), 1050 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 789-0221
On Spadina Road & Lonsdale Road…
- Hope Street Cafe, 324 Lonsdale Rd. (at Spadina Rd.), (416) 481-4834
- Edo-Ko, 431 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 482-8973
- Sotto In The Village, 425 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 322-8818
- Village Restaurant, 420 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 487-1420
- David’s By Day/Buzz By Night, 413 Spadina Rd. (at Lonsdale Rd.), (416) 482-7871
- Sushi Lovers, 327 Lonsdale Rd. (at Spadina Rd.), (416) 482-8807
On Eglinton Avenue…
- Bistro Grande, 1000 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 782-3302
- Marron Bistro Moderne, 948 Eglinton Ave W, (416) 784-0128
- Sabatino’s Ristorante, 1144 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 783-5829
- George’s Ristorante, 1028 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 781-4656
- Bi Bim Bap, 950 Eglinton Ave W, (416) 787-7423
- EDO, 484 Eglinton Ave. W. (at Tarlton Rd.), (416) 322-3033
- By Subway: Davisville or Eglinton subway stations are conveniently located within walking distance. St. Clair West Station and St. Clair Station are around 1.5 km from the neighbourhood centre.
- By Bus: Numerous bus routes meandering through the neighbourhood connect passengers to the subway.
- By Car: Motorists find the Allen Expressway easy to access from Eglinton Avenue West.
Medical Centres & Doctors
- Alpha Omega Dental Laboratories, 988 Eglinton Av W, (416) 785-7905
- Forest Hill Institute of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 1188 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 785-7864
- Hirsch David Dr Orthodntst, 740 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 789-1231
- Forest Hill Foot Clinic, 1214 Eglinton Avenue W, (416) 784-1164
53 Division, 75 Eglinton Av. W., (416) 808-5300
Station #135, 641 Eglinton Avenue West
Canada Post, 509 Street Clair Avenue W,(416)535-9122
Churches & Religious Organisations
- Temmy Latner Foreshill Jewish Centre, 446 Spadina Road
- Grace Church on the Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road
- Beth Lida Forest Hill Synagogue, 22 Gilgorm Road
- Eaton Timothy Memorial Church, 230 St. Clair Avenue West
- First Unitarian Congregation, 175 St. Clair Avenue West
- Beth Tzedec Congregation, 1700 Bathurst Street
- Our Lady of the Assumption, 2565 Bathurst Street
- Village Shul, 1072 Eglinton Avenue West
- Forest Hill United Church, 2 Wembley Road
- Yae-Dalm Presbyterian Church, 129 Av Street Clair W
- Heavenly Light Church, 826 Eglinton Ave E
- Total Population: 21,761
- Total Households: 9,414
- Average household income: $168,087.00
- Average age: 41
- Top religion: Jewish (45.29%)
- Top ethnicities: Jewish (17.0%), English (10.0%), Canadian (9.0%)
- Top job types: White collar (59.3%), Grey collar (32.2)%, Blue collar (8.4)%