Once upon a time, Parkdale was one of the most upscale neighbourhoods of Toronto. The wealth of South Parkdale's residents and the quality of its housing stock challenged that of even Rosedale. It was a lakeside village, with the massive, Coney Island-esque waterfront playground known as the Sunnyside Amusement Park at its doors. Combined with the more middle-class oriented North Parkdale (above Queen), the entire neighbourhood offered popular appeal to a broad range of Toronto residents.
Unfortunately, Parkdale's prominence took a major downturn in the 1950s with the closure of Sunnyside Amusement Park, and the construction of the Gardiner Expressway. With access to Lake Ontario severed by the Gardiner, many of Parkdale's affluent citizenry departed the community. Property values began to decline, and further plummeted with the construction of various low-rent apartment buildings and social housing. The remaining South Parkdale mansions fell largely into disrepair, as they increasingly became divided into rooming houses and bachelor apartments through the 1970s.
Though Parkdale lacks the mega renewal projects taking place in other inner Toronto neighbourhoods, there are many indications that the community is slowly reinvigorating itself. Property values are on the rise, as the trendy shops and galleries of Queen Street West continue to pop up further and further west, now reaching well into Parkdale. The Palais Royale Ballroom on Lakeshore Boulevard (one of two surviving buildings from the Sunnyside Amusement Park) has had its grandeur restored, with recent renovations turning it into a swank lakeside event facility. Former hotels such as The Drake and The Gladstone have been transformed into cool urban night spots. The new lofts and townhomes of King West and Liberty Village are also at Parkdale's doorstep and with that, a new generation of homeowners with fresh eyes will continue to drive improvements to Parkdale's commercial stretch. At the other end of Parkdale is Roncesvalles Village, a neighbourhood very much on the rise in popularity, with its sphere of influence touching the western periphery of Parkdale.
Homes in South Parkdale, below Queen, are truly remarkable. There are several grand, detached Victorian mansions, many of them three storeys high with five or more bedrooms. Those with their original details still intact make a prefect canvas for the artistically inclined. North of Queen, the homes are on a smaller scale and are intermixed with semis, but nonetheless offer appeal on many levels.
Interested in homes in Parkdale? I welcome you to:
Parkdale spans from Dufferin Street to Roncesvalles Avenue. It is bounded by the Lake Shore to the south, and the rail line to the north, all the way up to Bloor Street. Homes in Parkdale can be found in Toronto Real Estate District W01.