What to See & Do in North York?
This part of Toronto was farmland as recently as the 1960s, and is the newest and most multicultural part of Toronto. This part of Toronto has many beautiful rustic ravine parklands, some great urban parks (Edwards Gardens), great attractions like Black Creek Pioneer Village and the Don Valley, and has great shopping at places like Yorkdale, Bayview Village, and Yonge Street.
North York, now amalgamated as part of the larger City of Toronto, was until 1999 a separate city. MovingInCanada.com treats the area south of Steels down to Eglinton as “North York”, rather than strictly following old municipal boundaries (who can remember their meandering path anyway!).
By the Second World War, North York was home to the Downsview Air Base and the de Havilland Canada aircraft manufacturing plant, the the rest of the community was rural until the post-war immigration boom expanded Toronto’s urban area. Creation of light industrial & office zones close to the Pearson (then Malton) airport, in Willowdale and in Don Mills created large employment opportunities for people living in North York.
The construction of the 16 lane Highway 401 across the northern edge of metropolitan Toronto, right through North York’s mid-section made east-west travel fast. The northwards extension of the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line (as well as subsequent GO Train commuter lines from various points) brought the community quick access into Toronto’s downtown core.
Much of North York was still rural farmland in the 1950s, and became urbanized during the Post-War expansion of Toronto, which means much of its housing stock is relatively modern. North York has lots of suburban style neighbourhoods, as well as clusters of high rise apartments and condos along major roads, and particularly around scenic river views and ravines.
These communities are roughly divided into quarters, west of the Downsview Airport industrial corridor (along the path of the Black Creek parklands), southwest of the diagonally flowing West Don River (along Lawrence and Bathurst streets), between the West Don and the Don River (including the vibrant Yonge Street corridor), and east of the Don River.
Many of the community’s businesses are in the manufacturing, product distribution or corporate sectors. There are a number of national head offices located in North York, particularly along the Yonge Street corridor and in the Don Mills area, overlooking the Don River Valley in the east.