Riverdale, Toronto: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The corner of Logan and Wolfrey, looking southwest.
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto
View of downtown from Withrow Park.

Riverdale is a large neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is bounded by the Don River Valley to the west, Danforth Avenue and Greektown to the north, Jones Avenue, the CN/GO tracks, and Leslieville to the east, and Lake Shore Boulevard to the south. The popular teen drama shows The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and Degrassi: The Next Generation are named after the Riverdale street of the same name (although the only school on De Grassi Street is Eastdale Collegiate Institute at Gerrard Street East).



Known by many Torontonians as a thriving residential neighbourhood, from the strong arts community that caters to independent galleries on Queen St, to the large corporate film studios along the waterfront, there remains a strong working class element. Riverdale was formerly a town before it was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1884. Its tree-lined side-streets are complemented by the various styles of Victorian and Edwardian residential architecture, primarily built between the 1880s and the Great Depression. The neighbourhood has seen the rise and fall of prosperity over the past century. The grand homes built on some streets are a testimony to prosperous times. Despite this rich housing stock, the area was considered to be down-and-out in the 1970s.

The neighbourhood features three large recreational parks; Riverdale Park, adjacent to the Don River, Withrow Park, in the north east of Riverdale, and Jimmie Simpson Park, in the southeast.


  • Riverdale Collegiate Institute is the neighbourhood's local high-school.
  • Montcrest School, sometimes simply called Monty is located on Montcrest Boulevard. The school has no religious affiliation, and attempts to maintain a broad, neutral environment. The school is relatively small with just over 300 students, which leads to a much more personal environment. Historically, the school has had very close ties with Royal St. George's College, another private school in Toronto, and many graduate students attend high school there. The current headmaster, Steve Beatty, is a graduate of RSGC. Montcrest School was has classes from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, and has been in operation since 1961[1], previously operating under the name The January School, as it often accepted children born in January who would normally be held back a school year because of their age, although were admitted to the predecessor due to proficiencies. Montcrest is a non-denominational school, and has offered an enhanced education program for children with special education needs. Montcrest now has a special house system, honoring certain people for respect, responsibility, integrity, compassion, and courage. there is Fox house, named after terry fox, is green colored and is for integrity and respect. Livingston house is named after the first principal of montcrest, and is light blue. it shows compassion and respect. third is Masih, named after ichball masih, and it is red. it stands for courage and respect. last is mcclung, named after nelly mcclung for woman's rights. it is dark blue, and is for responsibility and respect. Montcrest continues to teach students in an friendly environment to this day.


Riverdale is also home to Bridgepoint Health (formerly Riverdale Hospital), and the Don Jail, both at the corner of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East.

The Riverdale Zoo was Toronto's zoological park before the opening of the Toronto Zoo in the early 1970s. Now called Riverdale Farm, it continues as an educational farm for school children and the general public. Oddly, Riverdale Farm is not actually in the Riverdale neighbourhood, but is located west of the Don River in Cabbagetown. The two neighbourhoods are closely linked even though they are separated by the Don River.

Neighbourhoods within Riverdale

Riverdale is often said to refer to the stretch of Toronto east of the Don Valley Parkway and west of Jones, between Danforth Avenue (north) and Gerrard Street (south). However, this area is usually referred to as North Riverdale, and Riverdale itself covers a much wider area and includes many smaller communities, usually centred around a 'high street' or commercial area.


South Riverdale

South Riverdale, as its name suggests, is the southern half of the Riverdale neighbourhood. Its approximate boundaries are: the Don Valley Parkway to the west, Jones Ave. to the east, Gerrard Street East to the north, and Lake Shore Boulevard to the south.

South Riverdale comprises many smaller neighbourhoods:


Riverside, formerly known as the Queen Broadview Village is a small neighbourhood located within the larger neighbourhood of South Riverdale. Definite boundaries have never been drawn for Riverside, but according to the Riverside Business Improvement Area Plan's definitions it can be assumed that the borders are the Don River to the west, Gerrard St. East to the north, Logan Avenue to the east and Eastern Ave. to the south.

Riverside is a mixed income and largely multicultural neighbourhood currently experiencing a trend of gentrification along Queen St. East and Broadview Ave. While it is a small neighbourhood it's home to several places of note such as the former Don Destructor, Toronto's only garbage incinerator, and Don Mount Court, a social housing project that is under redevelopment and will be rebuilt as part of a mixed social housing and market value community. The market value portion is being sold under the name Rivertowne. Unquestionably, the biggest landmark in the neighbourhood is the New Broadview House Hotel, a romanesque hotel constructed in 1893 that was the tallest structure in South Riverdale for several decades. Another major landmark for the neighbourhood is Toronto's East Chinatown (arguably a neighbourhood in itself) that encompasses the intersection of Broadview and Gerrard.

The area was once home to a large young population which is evident in the cluster of schools just east of Broadview Ave. Dundas Jr. Public School is the resident school for children in kindergarten through to fifth grade, after which they are transferred over to Queen Alexandra Sr. Public School which sees students through to eighth grade. It is also home First Nations School of Toronto, a cultural survival school that places heavy emphasis on aboriginal values and culture, and the current location of SEED Alternative Secondary School, Canada's first public alternative school.

East Chinatown

Toronto's second largest 'china town', also known as East Chinatown is found at Broadview & Gerrard.

Studio District

The southern part of South Riverdale, just north of the Port Lands, is what's called the Studio District. Industrial warehouses along Lakeshore avenue house production studios and many people working in film and television live in the old Victorians found along the area's side streets. Carlaw and Queen has become an arts hub, with many artists choosing to run their studios from the various work-live lofts.

Jones Pocket

The Pocket, referred to by the city as Blake-Jones is a pocket of tree-lined streets with residences built from the 1870s to 1930s. The neighbourhood extends along Jones Avenue commencing at the cemetery south of Strathcona and extending down to Hunter.[2] It is bordered by Danforth Avenue to the north, Pape Avenue to the west, Greenwood Avenue to the east and the CN Railway tracks just south of Riverdale/Boultbee Avenue to the south. The area which is east of Jones is also referred to as "The Pocket" by its residents.

Houses are more affordable in this neighbourhood than in many areas of the city, and most homes are semi-detached. There are also a lot of people living in public housing apartment and townhouse complexes.

While not a religious centre, by comparison, there is an above average number of people from the Muslim and Greek Orthodox communities living in the area. The largest visible minority group is Chinese.

There are three local elementary schools zoned to the area; Blake Street (which also houses East end Alternative), Earl Grey, and Pape Avenue. The high school that is zoned to the area is Riverdale Collegiate Institute. There is also an alternative high school, Eastern Commerce, in the Donlands/Danforth area.

The neighbourhood is served by the Pape, Donlands, and Greenwood subway stations and the 83 Jones bus route, and is also home to what is perhaps its best known landmark, the Greenwood Subway Yard.


Some Riverdale residents differentiate between "upper" and "lower" Riverdale. "Upper Riverdale" is characterized as the part of the neighbourhood north of Riverdale Ave., and "Lower Riverdale" is the area south of Riverdale Ave. Generally, real estate prices have been reflected in this divide. The closer the house is to Danforth Ave. the higher the sale price, however, recently "Lower Riverdale" has emerged as the area of highest value due to architectural design and historical value. In terms of the quality of the housing supply, homes built in "upper Riverdale" are more likely to be renovated, but "Lower Riverdale" contains more original and classic designs of the late 19th century. There are a number of remarkable century-old homes built on Simpson and Langley Avenues, the latter street named after Toronto's well-known early 20th century architect, and the former featuring the oldest Victorian houses in Riverdale.


Riverdale is in the political riding of Toronto-Danforth, and is currently represented in the Ontario provincial parliament by Peter Tabuns, deputy leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario, and federally by Jack Layton, leader of the federal New Democrats. Municipally, Riverdale is in Toronto Ward 30, represented by Toronto city councillor Paula Fletcher.

Federally the riding, known for many years as Broadview and then Broadview—Greenwood, has been represented by New Democrats from 1962 (the first federal election after the party was formed) until 1988, when Liberal Dennis Mills won the seat. Mills held the riding until 2004, when the New Democratic Party regained the seat in the 2004 Canadian federal election.

Provincially, the riding was known as Riverdale from the 1914 Ontario provincial election until the 1999 Ontario provincial election when the number of provincial ridings were reduced and given the same borders and names as federal ridings, in this case Broadview—Greenwood and, more recently, Toronto—Danforth. In all its guises it has elected a New Democrat in every election since 1963.

1964 By-Election

The 1964 Riverdale by-election set the model for NDP campaigns. Under the campaign management of Gerald Caplan, and Stephen Lewis, and Marjorie Pinney the NDP canvassed every household three times, identified all their supporters, and then they got out the vote. This strategy is also known as PIG, Persuade, Identify, Get out the vote. Lawyer James Renwick won with 7,287 votes compared to 5,774 votes for the Conservatives and 5,771 votes for the Liberals.

Members of Provincial Parliament for Riverdale

Notable roads

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Montcrest School History". Montcrest School. http://www.montcrest.on.ca/index.cfm?PID=15328&PIDLIST=15323,15328.  
  2. ^ The Globe and Mail, Friday, August 22, 2008, page G16
  3. ^ Friends and Family of Bashir Makhtal, Biography of Bashir Makhtal

Coordinates: 43°40′04″N 79°20′59″W / 43.66775°N 79.34961°W / 43.66775; -79.34961


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