The Dufferin Grove district was first settled by the Denison Family, who emigrated to Canada from England in 1792. The Denisons were active participants in Toronto’s early military and political affairs. Their country villas were Toronto landmarks, that had titles such as “Dover Court”, “Rush Holme”, and “Heydon Villa”. In 1834, with the city encroaching at their doorstep, the Denisons decided to clear the dense forest covering their property, and began cultivating this land. The fertile soil in the area yielded abundant crops and brought the Denisons great wealth. However, by the 1880’s, the value of the Denison estates lay in housing development not agriculture. Thus rows of crops were gradually replaced by rows of houses and the current neighbourhood was developed.
The neighborhood is very green, with many trees and some of the largest gardens and yards in Toronto, and it has a very active nightlife, with many “hip” and urban restaurants scattered along Bloor and College. There are also many small independent specialty shops like bakeries, smoothie shops, and bike stores. The main streets of the neighborhood are Bloor, College, and Dufferin Streets. Dufferin, a four-lane arterial, is mostly residential with the exception of the Dufferin Mall on the west side south of Bloor. College Street is a four-lane arterial road, with a mix of commercial storefronts and residences.
Dufferin Grove is a popular family-oriented neighborhood located in downtown Toronto. This neighborhood has excellent amenities including a popular community park, a shopping center, excellent schools, and convenient access to public transit. Dufferin Grove Park has received lots of media attention in the past for its pivotal role in revitalizing the Dufferin Grove neighborhood and creating a strong sense of community among residents of this neighborhood. This park is basically a community center without any walls! It is so popular that local residents affectionately refer to it as their Big Backyard.
The neighborhood is predominantly two or three-storey detached or semi-detached homes at a medium density. The majority of Dufferin Grove houses were built between 1890 and 1930. Dufferin Grove’s semi-detached and detached houses are larger than those found in most downtown Toronto neighbourhoods. The architectural style of the homes in Dufferin Grove ranges from early and late Victorian to Edwardian and English Cottage style designs. Dufferin Grove is a popular family-oriented neighbourhood due to the size of the houses and the amenities, including a popular community park, a shopping centre, schools and access to public transit.
The Dufferin Mall is anchored by national department stores and includes over 100 retail outlets, plus medical and dental offices. The Mall also has a family place play area for toddlers and a youth learning centre that includes reading programs, arts and crafts, and storytelling. Street shopping for everyday household needs is plentiful on Dundas, College, and Bloor Streets.
Living in Dufferin Grove
For young couples and young-ish families, Dufferin Grove is a cool and arguably trendy neighborhood. It’s armed with an impressive cultural diversity, good schools, eclectic shops, independent bakeries and cafes, and awesome restaurants, the homes are well-kept and very attractive, but aren’t paired with high rents and the incomes of families here are pretty much average. Community gardens are big, as is organic produce and fabulous coffee. For commuters, Dufferin Grove is about 15 minutes from downtown when traffic isn’t too terrible and takers of transit have the option of using Dufferin and Ossington Stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway line, a few buses, and the streetcars to get into the city from home.
Living in Dufferin Grove is very popular for families buying a home, and those looking for a project-house to renovate. There are also two elementary public schools in the area – Ossington Old Orchard Public School and Dewson Street Junior Public School, making this a newly sought-after area for those starting a family yet want to be close to Toronto’s Downtown Core.
Who Lives Here
Hip, young families with or without kids. There’s a huge Portuguese population in Dufferin Grove, too, being that the southwest corner is attached to the neighborhood called Little Portugal.
Its perfect for Middle-income families with kids who will appreciate the independent and sometimes quirky small businesses in the area, who want a relatively easy commute to work downtown and are seeking good schools for the kids.
Dufferin Grove Park is one of the most unique in the city because of the services it offers to residents of the community. Of note, the community oven, the community garden, a campfire, and its music programs. There’s a farmer’s market during the summer that sells mostly organic produce, much of which is grown right in the neighborhood, located across from Dufferin Mall, the biggest shopping center in the community. The nightlife is concentrated along Bloor – check out Disgrace land or Drift Bar – and on Dundas, plus a few more along with College, especially the Caledonian.
Named after the neighborhood, Dufferin Grove Park is a 5.3 hectare park on Dufferin Street just south of Bloor Street West with large, beautiful mature forest canopy, whose colors are brilliant at this time of year. The park features a multipurpose sports field, basketball court, picnic area, wading pool, children’s playground and reflexology footpath. The park is also home to the very popular Organic Farmer’s Market that takes place every Thursday all year from 3pm to 7pm.
Where to Eat and Drink in Dufferin Grove?
There are many great reasons Time Out paid attention to Dufferin Grove, and we have to believe the food and drink scene is right at the top of that list. There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in Dufferin Grove – especially drink. So before you start your bar-hopping-Saturday-night, stop at one of these spots to satisfy your cravings and build a good base, because you’ll need it. Trust.
If you’re looking for a more traditional spot to dine, make your booking at Enoteca Sociale on Dundas West. With an incredible wine list and a gnocchi dish that will have you ordering seconds, you won’t be disappointed with your decision to dine here. Another great spot that’s on nearly every must-eat list is SoSo Food Club – this new Chinese snack bar focuses on cuisine from mainland China – order the lamb biang biang and the lobster in XO Sauce.
When your belly is full but your thirst is still strong, a bar-hop in Dufferin Grove is the perfect casual weekend night. Some must-stops include: Burdock – a Bloordale brewery, Three Speed – a bar with a great selection of suds as well as craft cocktails (and one of the best patios in the city), Track & Field – where an indoor bocci ball court and shuffleboards await. And finally, Laylow Brewery – this two-year-old spot just happens to be Toronto’s smallest brewery, making delicious super-small-batch beers that are a must-try on any bar hopping evening.
Parks, Recreation & Culture
Dufferin Grove Park is close to the hearts of many west enders. This beloved outdoor space is all about community, and that warm feeling extends into the colder months. The rink, which features two ice pads (one for hockey and one for leisure skating), is a very friendly place to be on a cold day.
Inside the cozy clubhouse, you’ll find skaters of all ages enjoying hot chocolate, soup, slices of organic bread, and other treats from the snack bar. There are toys and board games at hand for visitors with kids, and on-site staff is available to sharpen skates.
Bloor-Gladstone branch of the Toronto Public Library, in the north end of Dufferin Grove
Dufferin Grove Park is the most innovative community park in the city. It includes a community bake oven, a music circle, a campfire, a community flower and vegetable garden, live theatre, a summer music festival, arts and crafts classes, and a naturalization project. It also has traditional recreational facilities, including tennis courts, a basketball court, a wading pool, an artificial ice rink, and a playing field. The West-End YMCA at 931 College Street has a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and community programs. The Bloor/Gladstone Public Library also offers community-based programs.
Need to get some shopping done? Ever since Dufferin Mall underwent massive renovations, they’ve added considerably to the shopping options in the area and there are now more than 120 different retailers calling it home.
The Dufferin bus connects passengers to the Dufferin subway station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line, while the Dovercourt and Ossington buses connect passengers to the Ossington subway station, also on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. The College and Dundas streetcars connect passengers to stations on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. Motorists can be downtown in five to ten minutes and the Gardiner Expressway is approximately fifteen minutes away.
Dufferin Grove has 10 Public schools, 7 Catholic schools, and 1 Private in this neighborhood, your kids can get a great education.
Address: 65 Concord Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 2N9, Canada | Telephone: (416) 393-9120 | Fax: (416) 393-9123 | Email: Dewson@tdsb.on.ca
“Dewson is a dynamic, vibrant community school with a rich history of excellence in education since 1884. The original school (corner of Concord Avenue and Dewson Street) consisted of a basement and four rooms on two floors. The school opened December 1884 with 76 pupils. Today Dewson offers both English and French Immersion classes for Kindergarten to Grade 6. The school serves over 500 students with key enrichment opportunities in Social Justice programming and the Arts – dance, music and visual art.” As originally published by Dewson Street Junior Public School
Address: 330 Lansdowne Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 3Y1, Canada | Telephone: 416 532-6592
“L’école secondaire Toronto Ouest continue de bâtir un milieu d’apprentissage franchement exemplaire. Ce milieu diversifié, inclusif et sécuritaire offre à ses élèves des programmes d’excellence en sciences, mathématiques, langues, études sociales et arts. De nombreux clubs et activités socioculturelles et sportives viennent agrémenter le quotidien de nos élèves, leur permettant de joindre l’utile à l’agréable. Fondés sur des valeurs d’excellence, d’engagement et de dépassement de soi, l’enseignement et l’encadrement offerts à nos élèves leur permettent « de voir un avenir à la hauteur de leur vision où les choix de carrières sont guidés par leurs passions et qui offre la possibilité et les ressources nécessaires à leur réalisation.” As originally published by ÉS Toronto Ouest
Address: 65 Grace St, Toronto, ON M6J 2S4, Canada | Telephone: 416 397-2097
“Nous sommes heureux d’accueillir environ 360 élèves de la maternelle à la 6e année dans un milieu sécuritaire où il fait bon apprendre. À l’école élémentaire Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, nous préconisons le développement global de l’enfant en mettant l’accent sur la pensée critique, la curiosité intellectuelle et l’imagination. Nous désirons outiller les enfants pour qu’ils prennent leur place dans un monde en évolution afin de devenir des citoyens engagés.” As originally published by É Élém Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau
Address: 55 Pelham Ave, Toronto, ON M6N 1A5, Canada | Telephone: 416 651-4630
“La communauté de Charles-Sauriol est accompagnée par un personnel enseignant dynamique et dévoué ainsi que des parents très impliqués et prêts à soutenir le développement des enfants. Une étroite collaboration entre le milieu scolaire, la famille et la communauté est essentielle à la réussite de tous les élèves. Le personnel de l’école a à cœur le bien-être de tous les élèves. La différentiation pédagogique, les projets touchant divers intérêts, l’enfance en difficulté, le programme d’Actualisation linguistique du français (ALF) et le programme d’aide pour les nouveaux arrivants (PANA) sont le pivot de l’enseignement à l’école Charles-Sauriol.” As originally published by É Élém Charles-Sauriol
Address: 108 Gladstone Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 3L2, Canada | Telephone: (416) 393-9140 | Fax: (416) 393-9142 | Email: AlexanderMuir_Gladston@tdsb.on.ca
“Alexander Muir/Gladstone Ave (AMG), an inner-city school in the Dufferin/Dundas area, is comprised of two schools joined together in 1982. The school also houses an alternative school, integrated international languages, adult ESL day programs, a Parenting and Family Literacy Centre and a YMCA child care program. Alex Muir, a Scottish-Canadian poet and songwriter who composed the lyrics to the song, “The Maple Leaf Forever,” was the first principal of the school. At AMG, staff and students work collaboratively to create a positive learning environment where all students are respected and valued as individuals.” As originally published by Alexander Muir/Gladstone Ave Junior and Senior Public School
Address: 93 Margueretta St, Toronto, ON M6H 3S4, Canada | Telephone: (416) 393-9245 | Fax: (416) 393-9247 | Email: Brock@tdsb.on.ca
“Brock Public School located near College and Dufferin was founded in 1887. Our talented and dedicated staff work co-operatively to nurture excellence, responsibility, teamwork, and joy through learning . Staff provide a broad range of activities including music, visual arts, drama and sports. Students are encouraged to practice teamwork while having fun and keeping fit as they learn about themselves, about each other and the world in which they live. Brock is an arts focused, ECO certified school with walls that are covered with student art. Our Rooftop Garden engages students with the natural world in a hands-on ecological learning environment.” As originally published by Brock Public School
Address: 1141 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1N1, Canada | Telephone: (416) 393-1420 | Fax: (416) 393-1424 | Email: Bloor@tdsb.on.ca
“Bloor Collegiate Institute, established in 1925, has a long tradition of scholarship and post-secondary success for our many graduates. While small enough to be comfortable, Bloor C.I. offers a full range of courses. Grade 9 students choose from a unique selection of options including a course in skills for success in high school and courses in computer arts, business and music. We offer a variety of enrichment opportunities. Our partnership with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics brings cutting edge modern physics into our science classrooms. Opportunities for senior students include an in-school University of Toronto course (Sociology 101) and mathematics lectures at the University of Toronto.” As originally published by Bloor Collegiate Institute
Address: 112 Lippincott St, Toronto, ON M5S 2P1, Canada | Telephone: (416) 393-1320 | Fax: (416) 393-1319 | Email: KingEdward@tdsb.on.ca
“King Edward is a K- 8 school offering the regular English program in Grades 1-6 and a triple track program in Grades 7-8. The 3 tracks are Regular English, French Immersion & Gifted.” As originally published by King Edward Junior and Senior Public School
Address: 14 Ruskin Ave, Toronto, ON M6P 3P8, Canada | Telephone: (416) 393-1410 | Fax: (416) 393-1403 | Email: Perth@tdsb.on.ca
“Committed to excellence since 1889, Perth Avenue Public School is located in the Dupont/Symington area. Perth is a vibrant inner city community of many languages, cultures and religions. The school community serves approximately 250 students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 in Early French Immersion Programming as well as regular English programming. Perth Avenue Public School has developed partnerships with many community organizations such as the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club and the Davenport Ontario Early Years Centre as well as the Perth Learning Enrichment Foundation, an onsite child care centre for children ages 2 1/2 to 10 years old.” As originally published by Perth Avenue Junior Public School
Address: 38 Shirley St, Toronto, ON M6K 1S9, Canada | Telephone: (416) 393-9270 | Fax: (416) 393-9274 | Email: Shirley@tdsb.on.ca
“Shirley Street School is located near the southwest corner of Dundas Street and Brock Avenue. Our school is a warm, welcoming school with a small population of students and dedicated staff. We serve a highly diverse population. Over 40 percent of our students come from homes where English is not their first language. Shirley Street is an Integrated International Languages Extended Day school. Students choose to study Portuguese, Chinese, or Spanish.” As originally published by Shirley Street Junior Public School
CATHOLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOL
Address: 980 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M6H
“The German International School Toronto is a private, co-educational, German immersion school which provides students with a unique international perspective by combining the best of both the Canadian and German curricula. Non-denominational and co-educational, the German International School Toronto teaches German and English-speaking students side by side and offers its students a seamless transition into both the Canadian and the European school systems. Classes are offered from Kindergarten through Grade 8 and Grade 10 in the German stream, thereby creating a unique, multicultural experience within a warm and nurturing environment.” As originally published by Deutsche Schule Toronto
Address: 1196 College St, Toronto, ON M6H 1B8, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5208 | Fax: 416-397-6142
“St. Helen Catholic School serves approximately 500 students from Kindergarten/ Early Learning Program to Grade 8. St. Helen Catholic School was established in the Toronto area in 1852. It has been situated at 1196 College Street for the past 100 years. In 1994, a new building was erected in conjunction with the original 1914 building which was refurbished. The architecture and design of our new school have won awards from the Ontario Architectural Conservancy and the Ontario Historical Society. St. Helen School serves the area of Brockton Village within the Toronto Catholic District School Board. We welcome families and children of varying backgrounds to our school community. Parents and guardians are invited to our school events including our monthly Mass celebrations at St. Helen’s Church.” As originally published by St. Helen Catholic School
Address: 25 Linden St, Toronto, ON M4Y 1V5, Canada
“L’école élémentaire catholique du Sacré-Cœur a 125 ans d’histoire! C’est avec enthousiasme que travaille une équipe dynamique. L’école accueille plus de 150 élèves de la maternelle à la 6e année. La langue française et la catholicité sont des priorités chez nous. Aux niveaux académique et personnel, nous rassemblons nos efforts en vue de permettre aux élèves d’atteindre leur plein potentiel.” As originally published by ÉÉC du Sacré-Coeur-Toronto
Address: 130 Shanly St, Toronto, ON M6H 1L9, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5210 | Fax: 416-393-5793
“St. Anthony Catholic School is a warm, welcoming, and safe community facility that is steeped in respect, dignity, empathy, and compassion. Our staff members care deeply about each student and about their accomplishments and growth. St. Anthony is a learning community where all members encourage and exhibit a love of learning. We work very closely with the St. Anthony parish community.” As originally published by St. Anthony Catholic School
Address: 330 Lansdowne Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 3Y1, Canada
“L’école secondaire Saint-Frère-André est une école accueillant les élèves de la 7e à la 12e année. Notre but premier en tant qu’établissement d’éducation est avant tout l’apprentissage et le développement de votre enfant dans un milieu francophone catholique stimulant. En vue d’offrir un enseignement de qualité et un choix intéressant d’options à nos élèves, nous offrons toute une panoplie d’activités parascolaires, ainsi que des programmes d’enseignement. «Offrir à l’élève une éducation de qualité dans un milieu de vie catholique et francophone où le respect de la personne, le sens d’appartenance à la collectivité franco-ontarienne, la promotion de l’excellence et enfin l’équité sont des valeurs visibles et essentielles à son épanouissement ». C’est non seulement la mission du conseil scolaire mais aussi celle des enseignants.” As originally published by ÉSC Saint-Frère-André
Address: 319 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5347 | Fax: 416-397-6002
“As a Catholic community the Gospel teachings are at the heart of what we do every day. We strive to provide an environment focusing on self-worth, self-discipline and respect among all stakeholders in our community while helping your children achieve their potentials.” As originally published by Pope Francis Catholic School
Address: 66 Dufferin Park Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 1J6, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5528 | Fax:
“The St. Mary’s community is built on our Catholic Gospel values, which are the foundation of our school philosophy. It is for that reason – our commitment to being witnesses of our faith – that we nurture the spiritual and religious development of all members of our community. Our commitment to our religious journey is marked by several important community-building traditions, including daily prayers, regular school masses, and liturgies. In addition, we have an active Chaplaincy Team that provides support to our community as we nurture the development of the whole child.“
Address: 55 Pelham Ave, Toronto, ON M6N 1A5, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5291 | Fax: 416-397-6296
“By providing excellent opportunities for spiritual, physical, emotional, and academic growth, children have the tools to become independent and empowered individuals of the future. This school provides a safe, inclusive and healthy environment for learning that is faith-based. Thus, student success is measured by improved achievement in all areas of the curriculum as well as the child in his/her entirety.” As originally published by St. Josaphat Catholic School