NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Toronto Southeast
by Gale Beeby
Corktown, Distillery District, West and Lower Don Lands, East Bayfront and Lower Yonge
Corktown, in particular, is seeing a huge neighbourhood renaissance with many of the older homes being renovated and upgraded. But most of the housing stock in this area is condominiums. The West Don Lands and East Bayfront is seeing a massive boon in condo developments, with everything on offer from affordable housing to multi-million dollar penthouses.
A ride on a Segway, a performance at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, a stroll through the Corkin Gallery, topped off by a coffee from Balzac’s and a little chocolate from Soma would be a perfect afternoon at the Distillery District.
Much of the southeast region of Toronto is still being built and a lot of its amenities are still to come, with the YMCA and the health and wellness facilities in the Canary District already open. Plans for the entire area are expansive; full details can be found on Waterfront Toronto’s website.
Parks & Rec
If a little sunbathing is in your future, head on over to Sugar Beach at the foot of Jarvis Street. It features a sandy beach, umbrellas, Muskoka chairs, a rocky amphitheatre, pedestrian areas and a splash pad. Sherbourne Common on Queens Quay East transformed a former industrial area into green space. Its signature feature is a 240-metre-long water channel featuring three art sculptures that rise almost nine metres, called “Light Showers,” by artist Jill Anholt.
Corktown Common borders the Don River, located east of Bayview Avenue, south of King Street East, and was built on remediated industrial lands. The park has playgrounds, a splash pad, athletic field, marsh, bike paths, a boardwalk and an off-leash dog area. It also boasts 7.9 acres of urban prairie.
Underpass Park, located under and around the Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide Streets overpasses, is the most extensive park ever built under a highway in Canada. It transformed a derelict space into a unique community park that boasts a playground, park benches, two basketball half-courts, an extensive skateboard park and flexible space that can be used for markets, festivals and community events.
There is so much retail popping up in the area you can shop until you drop, especially along Queen and King Streets and in the Distillery District, which has more than 80 shops offering a wide selections of boutiques and interesting craft and gift shops. Corktown, one of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods, has been pegged as the city’s next design district, and as you walk along Queen and King streets, you’ll find wonderful boutiques.
Streetcars ply Queen and King Streets and an LRT runs along Cherry/Sumach Streets, south from King Street through the West Don Lands to the CN rail corridor just north of the Gardiner Expressway. The LRT will be expanded south as the Lower Don Lands come under development. Bicycle paths and trails are also a large part of the redevelopment of the area.