Wychwood Park

Wychwood Park 1
Wychwood Park Mansion

This small private enclave that forms the very heart of the broader Wychwood area is comfortably nestled on the hills of the magnificent Davenport Ridge. The beautiful park area with Taddle Creek Pond was once planned to be the perfect oasis of inspiration for local artists living in this gated community. This area is one of few Toronto neighbourhoods that still preserves its original feeling of exclusivity and is literally impenetrable to curious tourists.

Truly one of a kind in Toronto, this unique area has less than 100 private homes, well-hidden between the many trees. The activities in the area are overseen by the community’s very own executive council, in charge of decisions about the whole of Wychwood Park. Access to the little-known green area with a small number of residents is possible only through its two entrances. The southern gate prevents traffic from flowing in and the northern entrance just off Tyrrel Avenue provides a regular vehicular entrance and exit. A pedestrian entrance can be found between 77 and 81 Alcina Avenue.

Wychwood Park was designated as an Ontario Heritage Conservation district in 1985. Who could resist living in one of the houses that are listed on the Toronto Historical Board’s Inventory of Heritage Properties? The historic significance of Wychwood Park as Toronto’s earliest planned community lies also in the beautiful architecture of its homes, which reflects the English Arts and Crafts Movement , featuring simple compositions and traditional English house forms blended with naturally landscaped surroundings. Eden Smith was himself an enthusiast of this movement.

The exclusivity and 100-per-cent residential homes in the community have developed from some standards and building restrictions imposed on the area. These laws prohibited any commercial activities in the community and the building of any row townhouses. Residents pay a special park tax in return for owning their properties in this exclusive location and enjoying the serenity of this neighbourhood together with the privacy they get when living in this gated community.

Some of the significant residences:

  • “Wychwood” , the original house of one of the co-founders of Wychwood Park’s, Marmaduke Matthews, can be found at 6 Wychwood Park
  • “Braemore” , the original house of one of the second co-founders of Wychwood Park, Alexander Jardine, can be found at 22 Wychwood Park
  • The Tudor style house of the acclaimed artist, George Agnew Reid at Uplands Cottage at 81 Wychwood Park
  • The home of the architect Eden Smith at 5 Wychwood Park (Smith designed most of the buildings in the area, such as 5 and 8 Wychwood Park)
  • The house at 16 Wychwood Park was the initial spark for the park trustees to fight for its designation as Heritage Conservation District after this house was threatened with demolition for redevelopment purposes

Location

Wychwood Park Neighbourhood Map

The unique community of Wychwood Park sits atop the Davenport Ridge and is defined by Davenport Road to the south, Alcina Avenue to the north, and a strip of land between Bathurst and Wychwood Avenue. The first houses of the founders, Matthews and Jardine, date back to the late 1800s, while the rest of the large houses were built between 1906 and 1935. Between the two World Wars, Wychwood Park trustees allowed a number of small lots to be built in the western part, looking slightly different than the original mansions. The youngest, modern-style buildings were constructed in the early 1950s.

History

The history of Wychwood Park is closely tied to Marmaduke Matthews , a landscape painter who arrived in Toronto back in 1860. In 1873, he bought ten acres of land north of Davenport Road and built his home at 6 Wychwood Park, right at the top of the hill. Dreaming of establishing an artist colony, Matthews named this promising neighbourhood Wychwood Park after the Wychwood Forest in Oxfordshire, close to his childhood home in England. The very second house in the area (built in 1877) has the address of 22 and belonged to the artist, his good friend, Alexander Jardine, who bought the adjacent twelve acres west of Matthews’s property.

In 1888, they registered a subdivision plan with the city, explaining that they had planned to develop the artist colony in the area of Wychwood Park. Before it was dammed for a pond, Taddle Creek was flowed through the pretty park situated in the middle of the forest. The construction of other houses in Wychwood Park started in 1906. In 1917, architect Eden Smith built his own house there, later working on many designs for houses in the neighbourhood.

Marmaduke Mattews passed away in 1913. His expired trust deed was reinstated in 1917, and since then, an elected board of trustees has been in charge of maintaining the roads, street lights, and tennis courts and running the community.

Local attractions

Wychwood Barns

Wychwood Barns are the former Wychwood TTC repair barns in Toronto’s St. Clair Avenue and Christie Street neighbourhood. Today, the Wychwood Barns function as a favourite multi-use park and provide living spaces for many artists, a farmers market, a greenhouse, beach volleyball, and offer office spaces for many local community groups. The Barns are surrounded by a 127,000-square-foot city park.

Casa Loma

Built in a Gothic Revival Style in 1911 by Canada’s financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt and seized by the City of Toronto in 1933 as reciprocation for his unpaid taxes, Casa Loma now serves as a famous historical museum and is among the city’s most visited tourist attractions. This prominent landmark, which also served as a filming location for many well-known Hollywood blockbusters, can be found at 1 Austin Terrace.

Spadina House by Wikimedia Commons
Spadina House by Wikimedia Commons

Spadina House

Spadina was once home to three generations of the Austin family and is now completely restored, bringing the historic house to the 21st century and serving as a historic museum operated by the City of Toronto. If you have already been inside or just want to enjoy a summer’s day out, you can explore the beautiful Victorian-Edwardian garden belonging to the estate. Spadina House is located east from Wychwood at 285 Spadina Road.

Bata Shoe Museum

Explore the style and function of footwear, from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamorous platforms. This four-story shoebox shaped museum located on 327 Bloor Street offers a collection of more than 10,000 shoes bound with 4,500 years of history and a collection of 20th-century celebrity shoes.

Green areas at your reach

Formerly a gated community and envisioned as a colony for Toronto’s artists of the 19th century, today it belongs among one of the most charming places in all of Toronto. Located in the east part of Wychwood, it has the ideal location for everyone who enjoys long beautiful strolls under 300-year-old trees.

If you like running and exercise in the open, you will definitely add this park to your favourites. Located east from Wychwood, Sir Winston Church Park offers 3 kilometres of soft running track, bike paths, and lots of green field space for any other sport activities.

Hillcrest Park is the right choice for you if you need a dog-friendly green area in the city. This off-leash dog park where your dog can roam and socialize freely right in the centre of Wychwood also has a newly refurbished kids playground, tennis courts, and a drinking fountain for you and your four-legged companion.

One of Toronto’s busiest parks, encompassing an area of 36-acres located west of Wychwood, offers tennis courts, soccer fields, a baseball diamond, and an outdoor ice rink.

More nearby parks:

  • Humewood Park, 32 Humewood Drive
  • Cedarvale Park, 443 Arlington Avenue
  • Christie Pits Park, 750 Bloor Street

Sports and Recreation

Joseph J. Piccininni Community Recreation Centre

Located west from Wychwood on St. Clair Avenue right next to Earlscourt Park, 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.

The Tollkeepers Cottage

One of the oldest buildings of its kind in Canada, the cottage has been dated to 1835 and served as a tollgate from at least 1850, now completely restored and functioning as a museum about tolls, roads, and nineteenth century life. This wonderful piece of history can be found at the corner of Bathurst Street and Davenport Road.

Eritrean Canadian Community Centre

A non-profit charitable organization established in 1985 located at 579 St. Clair Avenue trying to provide immigrant and refugee settlement services and create an environment for building capacity in the Eritrean community of Toronto. Included in its program are various employment help activities and volunteer opportunities for everyone who likes to contribute to the community.

More nearby recreation facilities:

Arts&Entertainment

Theatre Direct

Labelled as the “Exceptional Theatre for Young People,” the Theatre Direct is one of Canada’s leading professional theatres dedicated to a young audience with 35 years of experience. The Theatre Direct operates two performance venues in the Artscape Wychwood Barns on Wychwood Avenue and Christie Street.

Bloor Cinema

If youre fond of alternative cinema, this is the perfect spot for you. Situated just south from Wychwood on 506 Bloor Street in an old but rather charming building, the Bloor Cinema offers a nice mix of independent movies, hard-to-find movies, local premieres, mainstream movies, and classics, so everyone can find what they like.

Canvas Gallery

With a constantly changing inventory of about 1,200 original works by more than 120 established and emerging Canadian artists, the Canvas Gallery is regarded as a vibrant visual arts venue and is known as the alternative to the traditional galleries, it is located on 950 Dupont Street.

Apostolis Art Gallery

This art gallery located on 285 Rushton Road features a fine collection for all art lovers. Find some time to drop in and slow down a bit while enjoying the works of some influential artists.

New Adventures in Sound Art

A non-profit organization located at 601 Christie Street in the premises of the Artscape Wychwood Barns, this organization produces and features performances and installations about electroacoustic and experimental sound art.

More galleries:

Shopping

DLR Clothing & Accessories , 52 Vaughan Road, (416) 652-5512
Fiori Floral , 633 St. Clair Avenue, (416) 658-0715
One Girl Who (Women’s clothing and accessories), 647 St. Clair Avenue West, (647) 344-2150
Parpar (Gifts and Women’s Clothing), 649 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 657-3333
Playful Minds (Childrens Toys), 657 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-4028
Buy and Sell (Flea market), 816 St. Clair Avenue

EcoExistence (eco-friendly lifestyle products), 766 St. Clair Ave. West, (416) 652-0808
Nortown Foods (meat & fish), 892 Eglinton Avenue West, (416) 789-2921
Carmen’s Designs (Bridalwear), 1274 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 656-1022
Robyn Clarke & Co (Interior design), 673 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 653-9983
Kosoy & Bouchard, 651 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-4480
Woof & Shloof, 666 St Clair Avenue West, (416) 619-9212
Gino’s Fashion, 1294 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8710
La Parigina Shoes (Italian), 1258 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 651-6500
Valleverde, 1267 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-9067
Adelle’s Boutique, 1296 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8049
Signorina E Signora Inc., 1291 St.Clair Avenue West, (416) 849-0691
Diva Boutique, 1194, 1196 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-7667
Tessuti Venezia (Fine Italian Silks), 1305 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8331
Consiglio’s Kitchenware & Gift, 1217 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 653-6622
Tanya’s Furniture Gallery, 1327 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 652-0763
Ital Records, 1339 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 654-8272
Portuguese Bookstore Inc., 1331 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 538-0330

Restaurants and Eateries

The Crest, 794 St. Clair Avenue West, (647) 351-1940
Sea Witch Fish and Chips, 636 St. Clair Avenue West, (647)349 4824
Baker and Scone, 693 St. Clair Avenue West, (416)657-2663
Nama Sushi , 750 St. Clair Avenue, (416) 652-0711
El Plebeyo Restaurant , (Mexican), 1453 Bathurst Street, (416) 532-5627
Savera Indian Cuisine , (Indian) 815 St. Clair Avenue, (416) 657-2500
Albertos Pizza , 1384 Bathurst Street, (416)654-5555
Alcoa Bakery , 1147 Davenport Road, (416) 656-5552
Taste Of Thai , 62 Vaughan Road, (416) 652-0200
Ginger Blossom (Chinese), 256 Christie Street, (416) 537-3388
Vinnys Panini , 787 Dupont Street, (416)531-9454
Salto Antipasto Lounge (Italian), 1138 Davenport Road, 416-653-3077
Kome Sushi , 813 St Clair Avenue, (416) 651-4217
Pain Perdu Patisserie, 736 St. Clair Avenue W (416) 656-7246
Catch, 744 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 658-0568
Leah’s (Home Baking), 621 St. Clair West, (416) 785-4711 ‎
Cocoa Latte, 671 St. Clair Avenue West, (416) 792-8696
Dutch Dreams , 78 Vaughan Road, (416) 656-6959
Tim Hortons , 1110 Bathurst Street
Noir Coffee and Tea , 701 St Clair Avenue, (416) 651-8302
Café Istanbul , 1440 Bathurst Street, (416) 656-2985
Ferro Bar&Café , 769 St Clair Avenue, (416) 654-9119
Ellingtons Music&Café , 805 St Clair Avenue, (416) 652-9111
L Café , 931 St Clair Avenue, (416) 654-4262

After dark

Zemra Bar Lounge , 778 St. Clair Avenue, (416) 651-3123
The Gem , 1159 Davenport Road, (416) 654-1182
Daves , 730 St. Clair Avenue, (416) 657-3283
Epic , 1355 St. Clair Avenue, 647-982-8025
The Rushton , 740 St. Clair Avenue, (416) 658-7874
FUZION 99 , 810 St. Clair Avenue, (647) 977-6248
Vida Lounge , 1345 St. Clair Avenue, (647) 274-0375

Education:

Schools:

Vaughan Co-Op Nursery School , 729 St. Clair Avenue
Winona Drive Senior Public School , 115 Winona Drive
McMurrich Junior Public School , 115 Winona Drive
Japanese School of Toronto Shokokai , 115 Winona Drive
Canada Music Academy , 1147 Davenport Road
St. Bruno Catholic School , 402 Melita Crescent
Hudson College , 21 Ascot Avenue

Nearby Libraries:

Davenport Library , 1246 Shaw Street
Wychwood Library , 1431 Bathurst Street
Dufferin/St. Clair Library , 1625 Dufferin Street

Transportation

By Car – approximately 10 minutes to the centre of Toronto and its main business and entertainment districts, via Christie Street and 15 minutes to the nearest highway.

By Bus – Main bus services operate on St. Clair Avenue, Davenport Road, Dupont Street, Bathurst Street, Oakwood Avenue, and Christe Street.

By Streetcar – There are many stops along St. Clair Avenue where you can find the 512, which operates between St. Clair Station on the Yonge-University-Spadina line and the area of St. Clair Avenue West and Keele Street.

By Subway – The nearest subway station can be found on St. Clair Avenue and is easily accessible by the 512 streetcar.

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