Written On November 29, 2017
Rosedale is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. Many would say it is a vital part of Toronto’s development: a neighbourhood that helps to define our unique city and adds to its charm.
With minimal traffic and meandering streets, Rosedale is quiet and picturesque. Walking the streets of Rosedale can feel like walking the streets of Toronto’s past. Once a single parcel of land belonging to Sheriff William Jarvis and his wife Mary Jarvis in 1826, Rosedale was mostly wild. It was a beautiful estate full of woodlands, wildflowers, and hillsides. William Jarvis would often explore the land on horseback, creating winding trails throughout the woods. These are now the neighbourhood’s characteristic curving streets. Mary Jarvis decided to officially name the estate Rosedale after the abundance of wild roses growing across the grounds.
The land was subdivided twenty-eight years later in 1854 to create Toronto’s first garden suburb. As the neighbourhood grew in popularity, the land continued to be subdivided. As the years passed, Rosedale became rich with diverse architecture styles. Many of the original farmhouses, Georgian-style manors, and Victorian and Edwardian homes still stand today. It’s common to see original windows, masonry, fireplaces, and interiors throughout the neighbourhood.
Centrally located between Yonge Street and the Mud Creek Ravine, Rosedale is loved for its proximity to the shops, restaurants, and café’s of Yorkville and Summerhill. It’s also home to the esteemed Toronto girl’s school Branksome Hall, as well as Rosedale Public School.
The neighbourhood has been home to several famous houses over the years. The most unusual of which is the Integral House: a residence and performance space commissioned by James Stewart, a famous Canadian mathematician and violinist, in 1999. Designed by Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe of the Toronto design firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, the house was both named after and inspired by the mathematical integral symbol.In addition to the Integral House, Rosedale was also home to Ontario’s Fourth Government House built in 1915 for the Lieutenant Governor. The house originally sat in the middle of Chorley Park. After surviving nearly fifty years overlooking the Don Valley, the house was demolished by the city and the gardens repurposed into a public park.
The park also acts as an access point to Evergreen Brick Works and The Moore Park Ravine through the area now known as Mud Creek Ravine. Once a much larger river, Mud Creek has changed shape over the years. However crayfish, mallards, and turtles can still be found living in the creek alongside the walking and biking trails.
Chorley Park is not the only notable outdoor space in Rosedale. Rosedale Park, located on Scholfield Avenue, hosts many sports games and local events. Every spring the park is transformed into fairgrounds for Mayfair, a community-run event put together by the The Mooredale House and The Rosedale-Moore Park Association.
The Rosedale-Moore Park Association began in 1933 when the Moore Park, South Rosedale, and North Rosedale neighbourhoods pooled their resources to create an inclusive community based on shared interests. Those interests were primarily to provide social and extra-curricular activities for the children of Rosedale and Moore Mark. Mooredale House, the association’s community centre, hosts many different programs from sports to preschool.
With historic charisma, plenty of outdoor space, and community events it’s not surprising that Rosedale is one of Toronto’s most highly sought-after and engaging places to live.
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