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Yorkville
Settlement
Coat of Arms[1]
Official name: Village of Yorkville (Dissolved)
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto
Neighbourhood The Annex
Elevation 107 m (351 ft)
Coordinates 43°40′13″N 79°23′28″W / 43.67028°N 79.39111°W / 43.67028; -79.39111
Founded 1830 (1830)
 - Incorporated 1853 (as village)
 - Annexed 1883 (by City of Toronto)
Timezone Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) Eastern Time Zone (UTC-4)
Area code 416, 647
Historically Yorkville was the area north of Bloor and east of Avenue, today a number of other areas are also considered part of the district
Old row housing (Roden Place) in Yorkville, 1938
Bloor Street
Bloor Street

Yorkville is a district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, well known for its shopping. It is a former village, annexed by the City of Toronto. It is roughly bounded by Bloor Street to the south, Davenport Road to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west, and is considered part of the 'The Annex' neighbourhood officially. It is recognized as one of Canada's most exclusive shopping streets. Upscale Bloor Street, the main shopping avenue, vies nationally with Vancouver's Robson Street. In 2006, both were the 22nd most expensive streets in the world, with rents of $208 per square foot. In 2007, Bloor and Robson slipped to 25th in the world with an average of $198 per square foot.[2]

Yorkville now commands rents of $300 per square foot, making it the 3rd most expensive retail space in North America.[3] Bloor St. was recently named the 7th most expensive shopping street in the world by Fortune Magazine, claiming tenants can pull in $1,500 to $4,500 per square foot in sales.[4]

Contents

History

Founded in 1830 by entrepreneur Joseph Bloor (after whom Bloor Street, one of Toronto's main thoroughfares, is named) and William Botsford Jarvis of Rosedale, Toronto, the Village of Yorkville began as a residential suburb. Its Victorian-style homes, quiet residential streets, and picturesque gardens survived into the 20th century, when it was annexed by the City of Toronto.

In the 1960s, Yorkville flourished as Toronto's bohemian cultural centre. It was the breeding ground for some of Canada's most noted musical talents, including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, as well as then-underground literary figures such as Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn MacEwen and Dennis Lee. Yorkville was also known as the Canadian capital of the hippie movement. In 1968, nearby Rochdale College at the University of Toronto was opened on Bloor Street as an experiment in counterculture education. Those influenced by their time in 1960s-70s Yorkville include cyberpunk writer William Gibson.

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Transition into high-end shopping district

After the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway the value of land nearby increased as higher densities were allowed by the City's official plan. Along Bloor Street, office towers, the Bay department store and the Holt Renfrew department store displaced the local retail. As real estate values increased in the 1980s and the 1990s, the residential homes north of Bloor along Yorkville were converted into high-end retail, including many art galleries, fashion boutiques and antique stores, and popular bars, cafes and eateries along Cumberland Street and Yorkville Avenue. Many buildings were demolished and condominium developments built. To further the retail and commercial attractiveness of the area is the fact that the busiest TTC subway station in the city is located at Yonge and Bloor. It is the intersection of the two largest and busiest subway lines, the Bloor line and the Yonge line. The station approximately serves 368,000 people per day. The counter-culture moved to the Queen Street West neighbourhood which had much lower rents and real estate values.

Today, some of the city's most exclusive retail stores line its streets, including Burberry, Lux Spa, Prada, Gucci, MAC Cosmetics, Hugo Boss, Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Holt Renfrew, Tiffany & Co., Escada, Ermenegildo Zegna, [[Cartier SA]|Cartier], Harry Rosen, Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Vera Wang, Lacoste, Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Williams-Sonoma, Bang and Olufsen, Betsey Johnson, Max Mara, Montblanc, Bulgari, Birks, Coach, Guerlain, Swarovski, and other upscale designer boutiques. The Holt Renfrew store on Bloor is the luxury retailer's flagship and largest store with 4 floors and various boutiques. Many flagships of other companies are located here as well, such as Harry Rosen, Town Shoes, Lacoste, Gucci, Coach, and Chanel (in which the Canadian flagship became one of the largest in the world.)[5] Hermès, Prada, Lacoste, and Gucci have also made recent renovations. HMV also re-opened with a new look and concept.

DKNY and Crate and Barrel sought Bloor St. locations, but, DKNY could not find one and Crate and Barrel refused to take an available second-floor space. Cartier is rumoured to reopen in a larger location. Browns Shoes opened on Bloor, with merchandise that is much more expensive than at their other boutiques. Wolfgang Puck is opening one of his first Canadian restaurants above the Colonnade.

In recent years, mid-market retailers have also begun to locate along Bloor. In 2005, Winners and La Senza opened stores, later followed by French Connection, Puma, Aldo, Aritzia, Club Monaco, Banana Republic, American Apparel, Roots Canada Ltd, Guess, Nike, Zara, Roots, Lululemon, Sephora, Gap and H&M. Discount retailer, Labels 4 Less, recently opened their own store, to the disappointment of many of its neighbours. Nonetheless, Yorkville has been recognized as one of the most luxurious shopping streets in North America, being compared to New York's Fifth Avenue, Chicago's Magnificent Mile, and Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive.[6]. Demand is still high on Bloor St., according to real estate firm, Cushman and Wakefield. 5 years ago, retail space rents were $110 per square foot. Although, last year's Cushman and Wakefield report indicate rents of $198 per square foot, their Q407 Toronto Retail Report[7] mentions current deals reaching $300 per square foot, making Bloor St. the third most expensive retail street in North America. This has led to higher rents on Cumberland St. and Yorkville Ave., with several new developments asking $125 per square foot. Expensive Indian fashion boutique INDIVA, which moved to a smaller boutique on Yorkville Ave., claims that the monthly rent at their previous location was $85,000.[8] Many independent retailers struggle to meet these demands, and many in past years have closed or relocated to other streets. However, it is estimated that some retailers pull in more than $2000 per square foot in sales.[9]

Yorkville is known for upscale shopping, restaurants, and the first five star hotel in Canada, becoming an excellent place for celebrity-spotting, especially in the Hazelton Lanes shopping complex. Most recently, however, the celebrities once seen during the Toronto International Film Festival have migrated elsewhere and are now most often seen in the entertainment district bars and after-hour clubs near the CITY-TV building. Yorkville still remains the top celebrity hangout in Toronto, and celebrities are seen throughout the year.

Luxury hotels in Yorkville include the Four Seasons, the Park Hyatt, the Hazelton Hotel, the Windsor Arms Hotel, the Residence on Bay and the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel.

There are also many offices and professional services. Notable companies/organizations include the Retail Council of Canada, Canada Post, IBM Canada, Alliance Atlantis, Famous Players, Paramount Pictures, Showcase Television, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Unilever and various consulate generals.

Famed restaurants Sassafraz, Prego Della Piazza and Vaticano are located in Yorkville. It underwent a full restoration and reopened in September 2007. The MTV Canada headquarters are located in Yorkville as well. Canada's largest museum and the fifth largest in North America, the Royal Ontario Museum is located at the intersection of Bloor and Avenue Rd. The area north of Bloor St. on Cumberland and Yorkville contain petite streets with cafes, restaurants and specialty boutiques. It resembles more of a European style district.

Yorkville is also home to some of Toronto's most expensive condominium most starting at over one million dollars and going well beyond, including: The Prince Arthur, Renaissance Plaza, 10 Bellair, One St. Thomas, Windsor Arms Hotel, The Hazelton Hotel & Residences, Hazelton Lanes. Several new projects are underway in the area including the flagship Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residencesas well as a landmark development at the corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets known as 1 Bloor which, at 80 storeys in height, will be the tallest residential building in Canada.

Bloor Street Transformation Project

Beginning in 2008, the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area will update the street-scape from Church Street to Avenue Road. The objective is to create an enhanced pedestrian experience with widened sidewalks, mature trees, flower gardens, modern lighting and public art. Details of the project can be found at Bloor Street Transformation.

Gardens

Trees in Yorkville Park.

Yorkville Park is a series of unique gardens located on the south side of Cumberland stretching west from Bellair. It was designed by Oleson Worland Architects in association with Martha Schwartz / Ken Smith / David Meyer Landscape Architects to celebrate the surrounding neighbourhood and reflect the diversity of the Canadian landscape.

At one end, a paved square of land is dotted with Scot's pines growing out of circular benches. Further west, is a set of metal archways among a row of crabapple trees. Next, there's a marshy wetland. A silver-coloured metal structure houses a waterfall bordering one side of a courtyard filled with benches and chairs, while a 650-tonne hunk of billion-year-old granite, cut out of the Canadian Shield and transported to the park in pieces, forms the other border.

The park has received the American Survey of Landscape Architects Award.

Events

Bloor-Yorkville has also become the home of some of Toronto's most exciting and dynamic events.

Shopping Centres

Hotels

Restaurants

  • ONE
  • Prego Della Piazza Restaurant
  • Sassafraz
  • Pangaea
  • The Lobby
  • Bistro 990

Art Galleries

  • Gallery One
  • Drabinsky Gallery
  • Beckett Fine Art
  • Maslak McLeod
  • Scollard Street Gallery
  • Old Master Gallery
  • Feheley Fine Arts
  • Gallery Gevik
  • Hollander York Gallery
  • Kinsman Robinson Gallery
  • Miriam Shiell Fine Art
  • Loch Gallery
  • Mira Godard Gallery

See also

References

External links


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