It’s time to test your knowledge of Toronto’s residential neighbourhoods. Here’s the quiz. Answer true or false to each of the following nine statements:
1. The neighbourhood north of Bloor West Village is known as Bloor West Village North.
2. The new Forest Hill Lofts development on Roselawn Ave. near Dufferin St. is within the boundaries of the former Village of Forest Hill.
3. The area north of the lake between Woodbine Ave. and Victoria Park Ave. is properly known as The Beaches.
4. The area known as the Upper Beaches extends north to the Danforth.
5. There are no Toronto neighbourhoods named Elia, Emery, Parkwoods, Bendale or L’Amoreaux.
6. The new Cricket Club Homes development is in the Cricket Club area between Avenue Rd. and Yonge St., south of Wilson Ave.
7. It is not correct to pronounce Baby Point as "Bobby."
8. Grace St. is the west limit of both the Annex and the South Annex.
9. A community newspaper was correct last month in referring to a playground on Wells Hill Ave., south of St. Clair Ave. W. at Bathurst St., as being in lower Forest Hill Village.
Now let’s test your score.
If you answered "true" to any of these questions, you were wrong. All of them are false. Here’s why:
1. The community north of Bloor West Village is called Runnymede. There is no Bloor West Village North.
2. Forest Hill Lofts is in the Fairbank area of the old City of York.
3. The "politically correct" term for the Beaches is "The Beach."
4. Unofficially the area north of Kingston Rd., extending only to the railway line, is known as The Upper Beach. North of that, the area is called Danforth Village.
5. All five neighbourhood names really do exist. Elia, Emery and Parkwoods are all in the former North York. L’Amoreaux and Bendale are in Scarborough.
6. Cricket Club Homes is in Hogg’s Hollow.
7. Baby Point is properly pronounced "Bobby," which is the French pronunciation of the surname of the original French settler, James Baby.
8. The South Annex extends west to Grace St. The Annex itself stops at Bathurst St.
9. And finally, the Wells Hill playground is in the Casa Loma district.
My source for this fascinating information is the latest edition of Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods, by David Dunkelman. It’s published by Maple Tree Publishing and available from major bookstores and the Toronto Real Estate Board for $24.95.
It’s a must-buy for realtors, appraisers, historians, surveyors, and mortgage lenders, along with those of us who just love this wonderful city.
This new book describes in detail 158 distinct Toronto residential neighbourhoods, and includes maps, price ranges of local homes, sketches and descriptions of typical houses, along with information on shopping, transit, schools, libraries, theatres, recreation trails and libraries.
Real estate lawyers and surveyors are trained to be very precise in dealing with land descriptions, but I’ve noticed over the years that descriptions of Toronto neighbourhoods in real estate advertising and in newspaper articles have become somewhat fluid and imprecise. I call this "creeping boundary syndrome", where the description attached to any given property may borrow the name of an adjacent neighbourhood to improve its value or image.
I am hoping that Dunkelman’s book will put an end to this "neighbourhood envy" habit by publicizing and clarifying the precise names and boundaries of the areas where each of the 2 million Torontonians live, work and play.
As well, it should put an end to the habit of using place names that do not exist, such as Upper Bloor West Village. It may also help Torontonians use the proper names and pronunciations for our neighbourhoods like The Beach, and Baby ("Bobby") Point.
Heritage Toronto has given David Dunkelman’s book a Certificate of Commendation for the years of research that went into the creation of this labour of love.
Dunkelman, who is the grandson of the Tip Top Tailors’ founder of the same name, is a real estate broker who owns Maple Tree Realty in Toronto (http://www.mapletreerealty.com).
"While each Toronto neighbourhood has forged its own distinct identity," he says, "collectively they have helped make Toronto one of the very best cities in the world in which to live."
In a city of this size, it’s nice to have so many neighbourhoods to call home.