Its pretty Victorian and Edwardian style houses on winding, tree-lined streets, upscale shops and fine restaurants, abundance of greenery, low crime rate, and close proximity to downtown business and entertainment districts make Summerhill one of the most appealing neighbourhoods in Toronto, while the turnover in its real estate stock is quite low. Summerhill residents enjoy a wide range of private and public schools for their children and the Rosehill Reservoir Park for their recreational actvities. The Summerhill subway station, is within walking distance to any home in the area, and the Yonge Street corridor is easily accessible by car.
Photo by Loozrboy
Summerhill stretches from David A. Balfour Park in the east to Avenue Road in the West. Farnham Avenue serves as the northern boundary, while the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks serve as the southern limit.
In the middle of the 19th century, Charles Thompson, the ‘transportation baron,’ owned a two-hundred-acre estate, stretching from present-day Yonge Street to Mt. Pleasant Road. On the crest of the hill, where the houses on Summerhill Gardens are located today, stood his stunning Regency cottage, the Summer Hill House. This is how the neighbourhod got its name. The Summer Hill Coach House is still standing today, at the rear of 36 Summerhill Gardens, with its outstanding slate roof, which is visible from the south end of the Rosehill Reservoir.
Thompson had also established the ‘Summer Hill Spring Park and Pleasure Grounds,’ an amusement park that featured rides, games, swimming, and a popular dance pavilion that was located inside the Summer Hill house. Summer Hill estate was subdivided in the 1860s by Thompson’s heirs. From the 1880s, Summerhill’s development revolved around the North Toronto Railway station, which later, in the 1920s, became the main station of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was established on Yonge Street near Summerhill and offered work to many of the neighbourhood’s first residents. As a result, when the station closed in 1931, Summerhill underwent a period of decline. The station now serves as the neighbourhood liquor store. Its grand clock tower is its distinctive feature.
North Toronto station by Loozrboy
- The old railway station, along with the still-operational Canadian Pacific railway bridge, is a landmark of the neighbourhood. As part of the provincial government’s MoveOntario 2020 program, plans are currently being made to return the building to its original use as a train station, serving the planned GO Transit Midtown line.
Homes, Architecture & Real Estate
Strolling in the neighbourhood, you will marvel at the beautiful, history-laden exteriors of its predominately brick-constructed, semi-detached and detached Edwardian and Victorian houses, built between 1880 and 1915. The properties usually have stunning interior design themes, but they often lack space for parking. Permit street parking is available from the city for a nominal annual fee. In Summerhill, there is also a large number of modern townhouses, and a handful of low-rise luxury condominium apartment buildings, built mostly in the 1980s and 1990s.
Who Is Your Neighbour?
According to statistics, your neighbours are most likely English, Irish, or Canadian of around 35 years old, married with two kids and owning their own home (94%). Their pet is a dog (31%) and their favourite leisure activity is aerobic exercise.
Parks & Green Spaces
- Rosehill Reservoir Park, on Pleasant Boulevard, is one of Toronto’s prettiest parks, with access from Summerhill Gardens. Take your dog or get on your bike and enjoy the surfaced path that wraps around the park. The north-east corner of this path leads to the David A. Balfour Park. If you have kids, take them to the lovely top tier of the park, where they will enjoy the large children’s playground and the wading pool. This part of the park is also decorated with a water fountain, a reflecting pool, and a waterfall.
- David Balfour Park is next to the Rosehill Reservoir Park is the David Balfour Park and named for anti-communist Toronto city councillor and member of the Board of Control, David A. Balfour. This park of diverse beauty runs from the southern tip of Mount Pleasant Cemetery to Mount Pleasant Road, just north of Roxborough Avenue. Hike away from city life through the wilderness of the Vale of Avoca Ravine or take the flat path on the east side if you don’t feel up to a challenging route.
Creek by Loozrboy
- Lionel Conacher Park. Situated off Birch Avenue is a memorial to Lionel Conacher, who was Canada’s preeminent athlete in the first half of the twentieth century. Conacher grew up in the Summerhill neighbourhood, played on two Toronto Maple Leaf Stanley Cup teams, and served in the Ontario Legislature as well as the House of Commons.
Recreation & Culture
- Cottingham Tennis Club.This club, at 107 Cottingham Street, dates back to the early 1920s, when the Canadian National Railways assumed ownership. Today, it operates from late April to late October and it has five outdoor clay (Har–Tru) courts and a clubhouse with kitchen and shower facilities. Adjacent to the courts, there is a large, landscaped area convenient for relaxation, lunches, and spectating.
The neighbourhood is served by the Deer Park Public Library at 40 St. Clair Ave. East.
Schools, Colleges & Universities
- Cottingham Jr., 85 Birch Ave., (416) 393-1895
- Deer Park Jr. & Sr., 23 Ferndale Ave.,(416) 393-1550
- North Toronto Collegiate Institute, 70 Roehampton Ave., (416) 393-9180
- Jarvis Collegiate Institute, 495 Jarvis St., (416) 393-0140
- Branksome Hall 10 Elm Ave., (416) 920-9741
- Bishop Strachan School, 298 Lonsdale Rd., (416) 4834325
- Upper Canada College, 200 Lonsdale Rd., (416) 488-1125
- The York School, 1320 Yonge St., (416) 926-1325
Arts & Entertainment
- Metalurge, A Metalarts Company, at 1225 Yonge Street
- D & E Lake, at 1199 Yonge Street
- Muse Gallery , at 1230 Yonge Street
- Exploration House, at 18 Birch Avenue
- Archives of the R.C. ARCHDIOCESE of Toronto
Attractions & Museums
- Casa Loma. Torontonians and tourists alike, take your families for a visit to Canada’s nearby Majestic Castle, Casa Loma! The former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt is complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens. Due to its unique architectural character in Toronto, Casa Loma has been a popular set location for movies and TV programs, including “X-Men,” “Strange Brew,” “Chicago,” “The Tuxedo,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” and “The Pacifier.” It was also temporarily transformed into Hogwarts for the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
Many fine shops and restaurants are centred around Yonge Street and Summerhill Avenue within walking distance. For groceries, check out the Summerhill Market, at 446 Summerhill Av, and for unique furniture visit Braem & Minnetti Incorporated French Antiques (at 1262 Yonge Street), Balmoral Gallery (at 1282 Yonge Street) and EDDO Furniture Store (at 1277 Yonge Street).
The Bloor-Yorkville and Yonge and St. Clair shopping districts are also easily accessed from the Summerhill neighbourhood. On Yonge Street, what was once the old North Toronto Railway Station is now the Summerhill LCBO’s flagship retail outlet, with a fine selection of wines and spirits.
The stretch of Yonge Street at Summerhill Avenue provides excellent dining options. These are two of the restaurants you can find in the neighbourhood:
- Subway: The Summerhill subway station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line is within walking distance of every home in this neighbourhood.
Photo by detsang
- By Car: Located along the Yonge Street corridor, Summerhill provides motorists with easy access to the downtown core and to major highways.
Medical Centres & Doctors
- Clinical Investigation Laboratories, 187 Street Clair Avenue W, (416) 922-9221
- Crown Master Dental Laboratory, 200 Av Street Clair O, (647) 436-8861
- Canadian Medical Laboratories, 1366 Yonge Street, (416) 920-1364
- Lab Care, 200 Street Clair Avenue W, (416) 920-8888
Station #311, 20 Balmoral Avenue
53 Division, 75 Eglinton Av. W., 416-808-5300, Fax: 416-808-5302
The neighbourhood is served by
- Bloorview Services, 20 Bloor Street E, (866) 607-6301
- Canada Post, 50 Charles Street E, (416) 413-4815
- The Wicket, 55 Bloor Street W, (416) 923-8532
Churches & Religious Organisations
- Brothers of the Christian Schools, 131 Av Farnham, (416) 929-7878
- Yae-Dalm Presbyterian Church, 129 Av Street Clair O, (416) 975-4856
- Archdiocese of Toronto, 1155 Yonge Street, (416) 934-0606
- Catholic Civil Rights League, 46 Av Street Clair E, (416) 466-8244
- The Balmoral Club. Nestled between Forest Hill and Rosedale, Amica at The Balmoral Club, at 155 Balmoral Avenue, is a distinguished rental retirement residence, conveniently close to a host of local amenities and services.
- Fellowhsip Towers. Created by members of the Baptist church, Fellowship Towers is a not-for-profit retirement community of over 220 seniors, just steps from the subway station on Yonge Street.
- Belmont House. Belmont House is a charitable, non-profit, Christian home for seniors offering long-term care, retirement living, and apartments. Situated in a green space in the heart of downtown Toronto, Belmont House provides a wide variety of programs and services for its residents and the community.
- Total Population: 11,362
- Total Households: 3,469
- Average household income: $126,786.00
- Average age: 33
- Top religion: Roman Catholic (40.32%)
- Top ethnicities: English (15.0%), Canadian (13.0%), Irish (10.0%)
- Top job types: White collar (31.1%), Grey collar (43.0)%, Blue collar (25.9)%