Corso Italia

Corso Italia

Corso Italia, situated north and south of St. Clair Avenue West, from Rogers Road at the north end to Davenport Road to the south and between Dufferin Street to the east and Caledonia Road to the west.

Architecturally, this area features post war, well-built traditional homes, more and more of which have recently been modernized and updated. It was declared as having one of Toronto’s fastest rising property values by Toronto Life in 2015 and has become a sought after location to both buy and rent in Toronto. An old fashioned neighbourhood where everyday shopping, schools and parks are all in walking distance. Shopkeepers remember both your name and your favourites too - helping Corso Italia still feel like a village within a big city. This very livable, midtown neighbourhood also provides quick access to the St. Clair West subway and the rest of Toronto via the right-of-way streetcar line.

Corso Italia earned its namesake from decades of being a Toronto neighbourhood inhabited by many descendants of Italian immigrants. For years, the amenities, shops, cafes and markets were predominately owned and operated by Italians. Over time, many other cultures have come to call Corso Italia home, including Mexican, Latin American, Brazilian, Portuguese and West Indian.

One can shop high end upscale stores such as Christian Boutique featuring the likes of Anna Sui and Roberto Cavalli or funky boutiques such as Meo Imports where offerings from Portugal run from baby shoes to boots to bags to belts and all of them are made with cork! It’s no wonder the area is now home to a new Starbucks right at the corner of Dufferin and St. Clair Gardens.

There are still many long time favourites to choose from including ‘Tre Mari’ with 51 years of serving fresh breads, beautiful cakes and numerous delectables including their own pasta sauce, bottled for your enjoyment at home!

La Paloma’ established in 1967 has over 75 handmade gelato flavours and is consistently voted as Toronto’s top gelato shop on BlogTO by its readers.

The Big Ragu’ restaurant on Lansdowne, is a longstanding option for traditional Italian in a family friendly location as are Frank’s Pizza wins many consumer awards such as Now Magazine and BlogTo for Best Pizza Delivery and Best Calzones. ‘Agio’ is one of many others, but features a South Korean chef who speaks Italian! Latin American options abound, including, the Brazilian resto’s Rio 40 & Sabor. If Sushi is your thing, Sushi California and Tokyo Sushi!

Food shops also run the multicultural gamut, including Centro Trattoria & Formaggio offering imported Italian foods Clair for over 30 years. Tavora features Portuguese favourites and fresh fish while specialty shops such as ChocoSol not only offers dairy, gluten, soy and nut free, organic, forest garden, shade-grown cacao, sourced directly from horizontal trade relationships with indigenous communities in Southern Mexico, but also hands on chocolate workshops!

The Giovanni Caboto rink, pool and Tennis courts are adjacent to the Joseph Piccininni Community Centre offers huge variety of affordable city proffered courses for all ages, even ballroom dancing. Earlscourt Park is 12.6 hectares big with off-leash areas, a playground and wading pool, soccer fields, a full track and more.

Location

 
Corso Italia natalia
Corso Italia map
 

History

Davenport Road by Wikimedia Commons
Davenport Road by Wikimedia Commons

Though the area’s history goes back much further, we begin in the early 1900’s when new immigrants were settling along St. Clair West. The area west of Dufferin became known as Earlscourt while east of Dufferin was known as Oakwood. Toronto’s population was made up of immigrants, 37% of them were British. However, the next largest groups included Italians, many of whom gathered in this area. As many larger properties were being severed in the region into smaller lots, the areas offered more affordability than central Toronto to build your own home. An example was the “Nairn Estate” being built by the Dovercourt Land, Building and Savings company.

In 1910 Earlscourt was annexed to Toronto. Access to the major railway lines enabled Toronto to better compete with Montreal for business and closed the gap to the recently annexed Junction. Locals gained improved water supply, electricity, emergency services, better streetcar services, sewers and the like. Oakwood High School opened in 1911, yet the area was still largely a fantastic greenspace full of fields and streams. In August 1913 the 5 km stretch of St. Clair West streetcar line from Yonge to Caledonia opened, as the streets were widened with a very broad central boulevard, much ballyhooed at the time. It would be dismantled again in 1928-1935. Decades later, another ‘new’ right-of-way for streetcars would be built!

In January 1917 the Lansdowne line opened between what is now Dupont to St. Clair. All of this, and a fair bit of industry, local stores, new schools and better property services added incentive for more development. Accordingly, land values went up steeply! In 1913, average value of an Earlscourt dwelling was only $206.00 but as many new homes, now being made of brick were built, by 1914, the average value was up to $1,444.00. Now that’s a hot market!

The First World War cost Earlscourt a great deal of their community as over half their men went to fight overseas. This was the highest enlistment anywhere in Canada! Many would never return. Notwithstanding, they rallied and by the late 1920’s the area was booming with new movie theatres, more transit than ever, and a plethora of businesses opened up on St. Clair west to the extent that there were only 6 lots left between Oakwood and Lansdowne. Schools were so packed that they drained the pool too at Carlton to put desks in! At the enormous Hughes school over 1000 students went to classes in shifts. Then during the Depression, growth ground almost.

Things changed again in the 1940’s but unfortunately, the local Italian community saw their businesses shunned and some were even sent to internment camps after Italy declared war against the Allies. This was thankfully a briefer moment and thousands of Italians experienced long term success and happiness in the neighbourhood.

In the 1951 Census, Brits were 70% of the 40,000 residents and Italians only at 7.5%. But as 90,000 immigrants from Italy arrived through the 1950’s, they mostly settled around Dufferin and Davenport up through St. Clair. By the 1961 census, they numbered 20,000 comprising 42% of the population, surpassing the British at 15,500. This was twice as many Italians that lived closer to College Street’s Little Italy. For more information this wonderful book is available from the Toronto Public Library, "St. Clair West In Pictures"

Green Areas at Your Reach

Earlscourt Park is 12.6 hectares big with off-leash areas, a playground and wading pool, soccer fields, a full track and more.  It also features an 8000 square foot community garden run by The Stop Community Food Centre’.   They grow organic vegetables and have a native plant garden, all tended to by volunteers while the produce is distributed through the Stop’s community food programs.

Recreation & Sports

For recreational activities, there’s a variety of things to do without having to go far from home.

  • Joseph J. Piccininni Community Recreation Centre

    Located west of Dufferin this centre is equipped with a modern 25-metre swimming pool offering various swimming programs and lessons, as well as aqua fitness, leisure swimming, and much more for everyone from preschoolers to older adults. Their B facility Health Club has all-new cardio, muscular strength, and free weight equipment. This recreation centre includes a large gymnasium, soccer fields, a baseball diamond, four tennis courts, an artificial skating rink, and a seniors’ lounge.

Bloom Kids Space is a place for kids to socialize and have fun.
We offer two drop-in areas to play and we also have various programs for babies and kids as well as workshops for parents.
Welcome everyone!

The studio specializes in Yoga, Pilates and Mindfulness Meditation following the traditions of mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention in the present moment, with intent and non-judgementally and is the thread that connects all aspect of a Yoga, Pilates, or Meditation practice. It is an approach we hope our members can also cultivate in all areas of their lives.

  • Moksha Yoga  934 St. Clair Avenue West, (647) 343-8811
  • Ontario School of Ballet & Related Arts, 1133 St Clair Avenue West (416) 656-9568
    One of Canada’s leading dance training institutions, the school was established in 1979 by Sarah Lockett and offers dance classes in jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, and more. All classes are taught by expert accredited dance educators.

The purpose of "South Corso" is to spearhead the development of a community social space, including a functional play space that challenges children, youth, adults and seniors to be more physically active and involved in their community. We work to enhance our community by working with the city, local business and the school boards in the area between St. Clair & Davenport and Dufferin & Lansdowne.

Arts & Entertainment

Amber Group Art, 966 St. Clair Avenue West, (647) 892-6472

Evoke Photography, 1265 St. Clair Avenue West (647) 505-7037   

Ontario School of Ballet & Related Arts, 1133 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-9568
One of Canada’s leading dance training institutions, the school was established in 1979 and offers dance classes in jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop and more. 

Shopping

Men’s Fashion

Genesis, 1188 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-1386
Gino’s Fashion, 1294 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8710
La Scala (Italian), 1190 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-1606
Oggi Jeans, 1237 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 653-3440
Ok’d Moda Giovane, 1233 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8444
Tuxedo Gallery, 1199 St. Clair Avenue West, (416)654-2112

Women’s Fashion

Adelle’s Boutique, 1296 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8049
Bella Boutique, 1197 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-2761
Blu Ivory Bridal, 1282 St Clair Ave W, (416) 656-8000
Carmen’s Designs, 1272/1274 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-1022
Christian Boutique, 1236 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-2931 
Daniel Boutique, 1269 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-9408
Diana James Dresses, 1252 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 732-7857
Diva Boutique, 1194/1196 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-7667
Eyes on Me Bridal, 1283 St. Clair Avenue West, (647) 345-3937
Gente Boutique, 1232 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 657-1461
Gino’s Fashion, 1294 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8710
La Duchessa Boutique, 1285A St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 657-1108
Lena Fashion, 1253A St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 653-2935
Outlet by Jasmine, 1189 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-7070
S&S Fashions, 1183 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 657-8188
Signorina E Signora Inc., 1291 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 849-0691
Sole Mio, 1242 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-4429
Una Boutique, 1235 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 657-8211

Children’s Clothing

Carmen’s Designs, 1272/1274 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-1022
Gino’s Fashion, 1294 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8710
Luisella Children’s Wear, 1263A St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-0541
Natasha Babies Boutique, 1181 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-2232
St. Clair Children's Wear, 1247 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-2726

Footwear

Dino’s Shoes, 1285 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 654-8949
Fabia Shoes, 1261 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 653-4905
Fabiani Shoes, 1248 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 658-5988
Lightfoot Shoes, 1252 St. Clair Avenue West (647) 428-7234
Renzo & Nick Shoes, 1665 St. Clair Avenue West (426)-656-2663
Sana Footwear, 1183 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 651-7200
Zenith Shoes, 1250 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 654-8099

Drugstores

Biopharmacy, 1177 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-2942
Guardian Drugs, 1176A St, Clair Avenue West (416) 652-1200
St. Clair Pharmacy, 1203 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 656.6044
Clair Gardens Pharmacy, 1263 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 652-2604

Specialty Stores

Amar Flowers, 1268A St Clair Avenue West, (416) 645-0180 
ChocoSol Traders 
1131 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 923-6675
Consiglio’s Kitchenware & Gift
, 1217 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 653-6622 
Electronic Square
, 1285 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 901-1555
Galleria Shopping Centre
, 1245 Dupont Street 
Game Centre
, 1195 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 410-1000
Grace Textiles
, 1279 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8837 
Ital Records
, 1339 St Clair Ave W, (416) 654-8272 
Lifestyle Wireless – Rogers
, 1348 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-2000 
Meo Imports
, 1251 St. Clair Avenue West, 855-901-3445
Portugese Bookstore Inc.
, 1331 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 538-0330 
Paul’s Jewellers
, 1298 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8148
Pepe’s Fine Jewellery
, 1308 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-3988
Rainbow Caterpillar Bookstore
, 165 Lauder Avenue, (647)975-8800
Rogers/ABO Business Machines
, 1268 St Clair Ave W, (416) 652-2288
Rui Gomes Meats, 1300 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656- 3590
San Remo Florist
, 1151/1153 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-1822
St Clair Home Hardware
, 4 St. Clair Gardens, (416) 657-1733 
Tanya’s Furniture Gallery
, 1327 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-0763
Tavora
, 1625 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-1592
Verdi Florist
, 1380 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-6767 

Professional Services

Anatomica Massage Therapy, 1217 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 820-7099
Alex Photo,
1692 Dufferin Street, (416)- 658- 6142
DiSapia Opticians,
1253 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-6333
Dufferin Medical & Walk-In,
2045 Dufferin St., (416) 656-6500
Mackenzie Medical Rehabilitation,
1191 St. Clair Ave. W. 416-658-1200
Med Rehab Group,
1670 Dufferin St., (416-656-6800)
SB Optical,
1242 St. Clair Avenue West (647) 748-4577
Seda Skin,
1185 St Clair Ave W., (416)658-7332
Walk In Clinic,
1707 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-1944
Walk In Family Practice,
1221 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-0205

Business & Accounting Services

BJB Letterio, Law, 1295 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 652-0780
Lismont Bookeeping
, 1255 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 238-4558
LP Tax & Accounting Inc.
, 1287 St. Clair Avenue West, S.200, (416) 656-9650
Michael &Associates
, 1129 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 665-7299 (Legal)
Romeo DiCresce, Acct.
, 1165A St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 653-0202
Rogers/ABO Business Machines
, 1268 St Clair Ave W, (416) 652-2288

Restaurants and Eateries

The Big Ragu 338 Lansdowne Avenue, (416) 654-7248
Emma's Country Kitchen , 1108 St. Clair Avenue West. (416) 652-3662
Fox & Fiddle, 1085 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 657-3691
La Bruschetta Restaurant (Italian), 1317 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-8622
Marcello’s Pizzeria 1163 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-6159
Regal Heights Bistro, 1077 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-2109
Rio 40 Restaurant, 1256 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-6363
Sabor Brazil, 1702 St. Clair Avenue West (647) 340-3046
Salto Restaurant, 1138 Davenport Road, (416) 653-3077
Sushi California, 1238 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 658-1238
Tokyo Sushi, 1201 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 657-1201 
Vivid Pizzeria, 1067 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-1487

After Dark

Cafe/Bar 12 Forty-Eight, 1248 St Clair Ave W, (647) 351-8335
Chappa Corner Cafe, 1340 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-3784
Chateau Sports Bar & Grill, 1157 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-3784
Donato Sports Bar, 1310 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-8903
Invictus Bar & Restaurant, 1331 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-5511
La Romana Sports Bar, 1286 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-6292
Metro Toronto Bar & Grill, 1249 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-5204
Sway Bar, 1335 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 653-8777
Teasers Lounge, 1245 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-7544
Tricolore Bar Cafe, 1240 St Clair Ave West, (416) 654-4228

Cafes & Bakeries

The Big Slice,1154 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-7777
La Paloma Gelateria, 1357 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-2340
Pho Rang Dong, 1193 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 849-4775
The Royal Caribbean Cafe, 1127 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-9554 Sofra Nazar, 1166 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E 1B4, (416) 653-6536 Royal Caribbean Cafe, 1127 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-9554
Tru Valu West Indian/Canadian, 1155 St. Clair Avenue West
Tea Boutique & Café, 1211 St. Clair Avenue West (647) 341-6744
Via Espresso, 1262 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 651-2333 Nathaniel Bakery, 1308 St. Clair Avenue West (416) 652-0622
Tre Mari Bakery, 1311 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8960

 

Education

Schools:

Loretto College (Catholic School), 151 Rosemount Avenue, (416) 393-5511
Regal Road Junior, 95 Regal Road, (416) 393-1390
Winona Drive Senior, 101 Winona Drive, (416) 393-1680
Oakwood Collegiate Institute, 991 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 393-1780
St. Mary of the Angels (Catholic School), 1477 Dufferin Street, (416) 393-5228

Libraries:

The Dufferin/St. Clair Public Library, 1625 Dufferin Street, (416) 393-7712

The Dufferin Library contains the largest collection of Italian books in the city’s public library system. It also offers services, mainly for children and preschoolers.

Davenport Library, 1246 Shaw Street, at Davenport (416) 393-7732

Transportation

By Car: Easy access to downtown in 12-15 minutes via Oakwood/Ossington, east on Davenport and 15 minutes to major highways north via Dufferin to 401.
By Bus/Streetcar: Corso Italia is well served by public transit in the form of streetcars and buses. Bus service is within walking distance of every home with busses running frequently on Dufferin St., Oakwood Ave., Rogers Rd. and Davenport Ave.
As well, most homes are within a 10 minute walk or less from the St. Clair Avenue West streetcar & right of way access offering a 10 minute ride to St. Clair West subway.

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