The University Neighborhood in Toronto lies within the downtown core and the University of Toronto complex. According to city guidelines, the area referenced as University includes most of the Saint George campus along with Harbord Village, also alternately referred to as South Annex.
The boundaries are Bloor Street on the north and College Street on the south end. The neighbourhood extends up to Bathurst Street on the west and University Avenue and Queen’s Park on the east.
University homes on the western section defined by Spadina and Bathurst are narrow, two to three storey structures on small home sites with distinct Victorian influences. Most of Harbord Village has earned designation as a Heritage Conservation District requiring that any restoration and alteration of street-side facades, rooflines and details should meet specific heritage guidelines. Some of these Victorians are distinguished with historic plaques.
Overall, housing inventory includes semi-detached and detached houses. Townhouses and low-rise apartments are favored by university students while alumni and young professionals jostle for the limited inventory of detached homes. A highly involved residents’ association enforces heritage guidelines and promotes community pride.
Residents can access the facilities of the University of Toronto Athletic Center which has a pool, tennis and badminton facilities, indoor track, weight machines and gymnasium. The Jewish Centre on Spadina provides similar facilities.
Queens Park is an urban greenspace and is also the site of the Toronto Legislative building. Aside from University of Toronto, there are four public schools and a Jewish Day School serving area students.
The retail area near Bloor Street reflects the young vibe of its clientele. Shops include pubs, cafes, bistros, music shops and bookstores. Mirvish Village shops are less hip and more staid with galleries, antique shops and craft stores. The shops and restaurants on Harbord Street lean toward sophistication and unique experience with galleries and specialty boutiques in the mix.
University will continue to be a desirable address because of its excellent location in a cosmopolitan and a reputation as a neighbourhood of well-preserved heritage homes.