For episode 4 of City of Neighbourhoods I decided to check out one of the must luxurious spots in Toronto, Yorkville! With 28-million-dollar condos and $60 cups of coffee, it may be a while until I can afford a place here (probably never going to happen but hey, a girl can dream!), so for now we’ll just enjoy exploring its delicious restaurants, cool boutiques, and rich history. There are so many cool tidbits of Toronto history about this area and if you visit Yorkville in September, there’s a good chance you’ll spot a celebrity who’s in town for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)! Happy exploring!
Distance From Campus Walking:
Yonge/Yorkville Avenue: 25 Minutes
Bloor/Yonge Station: Yellow or Green Line
Bay Station: Green Line
In the 1960s, Yorkville was the home of hippie culture in Toronto. With plenty of clubs and cafes, this is where a lot of artists got their start and famous musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and Neil Young all played at clubs in Yorkville.
After the construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway line, the neighbourhood became a commercial mecca, and this is what Joni Mitchell refers to in her song Big Yellow Taxi. Cultural hippie-Yorkville was no more and the spirit of the whole neighbourhood drastically changed. As she says, they “paved paradise, and put up a parking lot”. Listen below!
In May 1967, residents staged a “love-in” where thousands of peaceful protestors convened at Queen’s Park to get support in shutting down traffic on Yorkville Avenue and making it a solely pedestrian area. Unfortunately, that never happened and instead, there was a point where this neighbourhood had a 10 p.m. curfew for those under 18.
Toronto Reference Library: Just across Yorkville Avenue you can find one of the most incredible libraries in the city. First of all, it was just featured in the Weeknd’s music video for “Secrets”! You too can ride those red/gold elevators! Also, the design by Raymond Moriama is breath-taking. Seriously, if you don’t like to read just visit the library to experience the architecture. Not to mention you can see the super cool Arthur Conan Doyle collection I show you in the video!
CIBO: CIBO is a delicious Italian restaurant right on Yorkville Avenue. I’m a sucker for Italian food and every meal starts with complimentary rosemary-baked bread with olive oil/balsamic vinegar and it’s incredible. CIBO is definitely on the pricier end so maybe save this one for a special occasion!
Trattoria Nervosa: If you’re a pizza or pasta lover you need to try Nervosa! This adorable restaurant is a pale yellow colour right on the corner of Yorkville Avenue and Belair St. so you can’t miss it. Its patio is perfect for summer and many locals say it’s a great place to spot celebs when they’re in town!
Summer’s Ice Cream: Summer’s has been making their own home-made cream since 1985! They make a new batch every day so it hasn’t been sitting in a freezer for months. You can really taste the difference so if you’re an ice cream fan and want it done right, check out Summer’s on Yorkville Avenue!
If you’re a fan of french food or just want to feel like you’re in the heart of Paris for lunch you must try Jacque’s Bistro Du Parc. Known for their delicious omelettes and French Onion soup (of course), this intimate restaurant is hidden up a flight up stairs on Cumberland. It’s a family owned business that’s authentically French and it’s a perfect date spot!