Downtown Toronto’s never-ending construction works and soaring property prices have for over a decade been pushing Torontonians to look for more affordable and cosier alternatives in the city’s West End. While Ossington and Roncesvalles have long passed their saturation points, it is time for the Junction to shine.
Named for its location among four rail lines built in the late 19th century, the Junction was until recently considered a drab neighbourhood. The area started to gradually emerge in the mid-noughties, and in the past five years it has been getting a well needed facelift with art galleries, vintage furniture stores, organic food markets and cafés sprouting up. Just a stone’s throw away from the sought-after Bloor West Village and High Park (both only a 10 to 15 minute walk), the Junction is a rational choice for those on the look-out for reasonably priced, spacious residential and commercial properties. Retailers such as Mjölk designs, Delight chocolaterie and Pandemonium books have opened here in the past five years.
The historic main streetscape, with its old-fashioned street lighting and signage, has been preserved as a perfect setting for the redbrick houses dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century – a good fit for the burgeoning numbers of families and young professionals moving to the area.
“We moved here almost two years ago,” says industrial designer Ryan Wilding. “We like it because it is like its own little planet, closed off from the busy surrounding Parkdale, Queen West and Bloor West neighbourhoods. It has everything we need and it is an area we can grow with.”
A meeting point of several railway lines, the Junction was a retail, logistics and business centre in the late 19th century, with plenty of schools, parks and homes built in the area by the early 1920s. Today the leafy streets of the Junction are still lined with well-preserved Victorian and Edwardian redbrick houses built between 1880 and 1910, giving the neighbourhood a snug, village feel. A lot of these dwellings have been converted into two- and three-bedroom homes over the past decade. There are a few good loft conversions in the area on main Dundas Street and the adjacent Clendenan Ave and Medland Street, as well as newer high-rise developments.
Peter Tan & Christine Ho Ping Kong
“We have lived in the Junction for many years and it is exciting to see the revitalisation. The Junction feels like a small neighbourhood with a strong artistic community, an amazing energy and an independent spirit.”
Most property buyers sign a contract with an estate agent for about three months but the agent’s fees, usually 5 per cent of the purchase price, are paid by the seller. Once terms (including a deposit of 5 per cent) have been agreed, the buyer is responsible for securing financing, insurance and a lawyer to handle the transfer. The buyer is also responsible for paying an Ontario and Toronto land transfer tax, which averages at 2.7 per cent for non-first-time buyers for a purchase above CA$400,000. First-time buyers are eligible for a rebate of CA$5,725. Foreigners can buy property in Canada but have to provide a down payment of at least 35 per cent and they have to mortgage the property through a Canadian bank.
2 bedroom flat, CA$380,000
3 bedroom flat, CA$490,000
+ 1 647 448 3287
Eat & Drink
The Sweet Potato
2995 Dundas Street West
+1 416 762 4848
This organic grocery store sells local produce, freshly baked goods, meat and dairy.
The Good Neighbour café
283 Annette Street
An artsy coffee shop serving the best lattes and almond croissants in the area.
3040 Dundas Street West
+1 416 760 9995
Jennifer Rashleigh, former pastry chef at Citron, and her husband Jeff Brown offer handmade chocolates, ice cream and cookies.
3042 Dundas Street West
+1 647 344 8663
Attached to Delight (above) and owned by the same husband-and-wife team, the Fromagerie carries over 70 Canadian cheeses.
2959 Dundas Street West
+1 416 551 9853
Set on the ground floor of an airy Victorian building, Mjölk sells an impressive range of furnishings, tableware and tools from Japan and Scandinavia.
2928 Dundas Street West
+1 416 901 7464
A must-stop for stationery obsessives or those on the look for painting and drawing accessories, all selected by owners Heather Phillips and Miki Rubin. The venue also hosts workshops and art exhibitions.
Pandemonium Books & Discs
2920 Dundas Street West
+1 416 769 5257
With its shelves packed with new books and vintage records, Pandemonium is a top destination for avid readers and vinyl collectors.
2087 Davenport Road
+1 416 652 3906
Established in 2004 by local residents Peter Tan and Christine Ho Ping Kong, Studio Junction has designed retail spaces, offices and houses in the neighbourhood.