Yorkville has a colourful history and glamorous identity. Originally developed by Joseph Bloor (after whom Bloor Street is named) and William Botsford Jarvis (after whom Jarvis Street is named), the area was built to be a residential respite from the dirty air in York. Over time, the population grew, and the name of the area was changed to the Village of Yorkville. The village became known for its Victorian styled homes, quiet residential streets and picturesque gardens until the 1960s.
During the 1960s, Yorkville became known as the hippie capital of Canada. Many great Canadians such as Margaret Atwood, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young spent time here developing their talent.
Over time, the city of Toronto began construction of the Bloor-Danforth subway and the value of land in the neighbourhood increased substantially. Office towers and department stores constructed in the area in the 1970s and onwards soon gave the strip of Bloor street between Yonge Street and Avenue Road the name “Mink Mile”. “Mink Mile” has an extremely luxurious reputation – it is one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive shopping districts.
But if you are looking for things to do in Yorkville beyond shopping, do not fret! The neighbourhood is chock-full of some of the best museums in the country. The Bata Shoe Museum gives a fascinating look at the history of footwear and is the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of shoes. For those interested in ceramics, the Gardiner Museum offers a unique perspective on the role of ceramics through various civilizations over the course of history. The largest and perhaps one of the most famous museums in Canada is the Royal Ontario Museum. The architecture of the building itself features the world-renowned Michael Lee Chin Crystal and inside there are over 13 million artefacts ranging from dinosaur remains to Chinese temple art.
In addition to museums, there is a plethora of exquisite galleries in Yorkville. Some that you cannot miss are the Canadian Fine Arts Gallery, Mayberry Fine Art (which specializes in paintings by the Group of Seven as well as leading contemporary artists), Loch Gallery(which features 19th and 20th century Canadian art), Miriam Shiell Fine Art (which houses 20th century modern and contemporary art) and Mira Godard Gallery (which displays contemporary Canadian and international art).
There are also some very interesting things to do in Yorkville during the winter months! Throughout the holiday season you can enjoy the Village of Yorkville Park as it will be illuminated throughout December. On February 9th and 10th, Yorkville will be hosting its 14th annual Icefest. There will be an incredible showcase of ice sculptures and live ice carving demonstrations. There will also be a “Maple Syrup Taffy Station”, “Ice Kiddie Cubes” and a fundraising effort for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Fun for all ages, this is an event you will not want to miss!
The Yorkville neighbourhood is thriving with life, culture, gourmet restaurants and luxury properties and hotels. There seems to be an infinite number of things to do in Yorkville. If you would like to learn more, please visit my page here and if you would like to make Yorkville your new home, please contact me here.