Multicultural Community in Toronto.
Flemingdon Park was built on farmland owned by Robert John Fleming. After his death in 1925, it was sold to become public land.
In 1958, following the trends of many other post-World War II cities, Toronto began to consider a large planned “apartment city” community for the 1950s population boom and influx of immigrants. Although there was immediate skepticism about the density of the development, the community was nevertheless built. Occupancy of the new apartments began in 1961, and the community was completed in the early 1970s. The community’s developer was Olympia and York.
The Flemingdon Park neighborhood is built on the former farm of R.J. Fleming after whom this neighborhood is named. “Don” makes reference to the Don River which forms the eastern boundary of Flemingdon Park. Flemingdon Park has first proposed to North York (now Toronto) City Councillors in 1958. It was touted as Canada’s first completely planned “apartment city”, and was based on similar developments already built in Europe and Scandinavia.
The initial response to Flemingdon Park was one of apprehension and concern. North York residents and politicians alike were concerned about the high density of the development. There were also questions about how city services would be provided and who would pay for them. Five North York councilors went so far as to fly to “apartment city” projects in England, Sweeden, and Copenhagen in order to view first hand this novel approach to neighborhood building. In 1959, after much debate, the Flemingdon Park development was approved by the city council. There were some obstacles along the way but Flemingdon Park was finally completed in the early 1970s.
Flemingdon Park is a multicultural community in North York. Flemingdon Park is separated from neighboring communities by river valleys on three sides, and a light industrial area, now mostly used as corporate offices, next to several railway lines on the north side. The community is named after its original owner, Robert John Fleming, the Mayor of Toronto in 1892–1893 and 1896–1897, and the nearby Don River.
Flemingdon Park is a multicultural neighborhood that has traditionally served as the first home for many new Canadians seeking affordable housing in the City of Toronto. A recent Flemingdon Park Public Library study places the total population of this neighborhood at approximately twenty thousand people with over eighty different languages being spoken within the community.
Flemingdon Park residents have their own community information center and health center, a non-profit legal services clinic, and a number of support programs for children, women, and families.
Flemingdon Park’s residential housing west of the Don Valley Parkway consists of a sea of high-rise rental apartment buildings and blocks of row house apartments. Most of these buildings offer marketplace rents however there are also subsidized housing units where the rent is geared-to-income. There are also seniors housing located in this part of the neighborhood. Flemingdon Park east of the Don Valley Expressway contains affordable condominium apartment buildings. Many of the units in these apartments command spectacular views of the Flemingdon Park Golf course and the Don River Valley.
The Flemingdon Park shopping center, located off Don Mills Road includes a large supermarket, bakery, deli, restaurants, flower shop, dry cleaner, drug store, hairstylist, medical center, a bingo parlor, and a community information center.
Drive along this stretch of Don Mills and you’ll find an area rife with giant developments like the 60-acre Wynford Green and ensuing battles against rising rents. Until all that comes into play, though, residents of the highly diverse community remain the face of Flemingdon Park.
PARKS, RECREATIONS & CULTURE
The Flemingdon neighborhood is well served by two excellent community centers. The Flemingdon Resource Centre at 29 St. Dennis Drive is a multi-faceted facility that includes an indoor pool, a gymnasium, a daycare center, and a busy public library.
The Flemingdon Community Centre at 150 Grenoble Drive features the only municipally funded indoor children’s playground in Canada. This “Playground Paradise” features a two-story play structure, a huge spiral slide, a track ride, cargo elevator, talk tube, crawl tubes, construction zone, and ball pool with 8,000 balls all set in a meadow-like atmosphere. There is also a party room in this center that can accommodate up to thirty-five people.
Across the street from the Flemingdon Community Centre is the Flemingdon Ice Arena which offers organized hockey league programs and pleasure skating.
Flemingdon Park is an area that might be best also known for being the locale of our beloved Ontario Science Centre: maker of childhood memories and host of school buses galore since 1969.
The Ontario Science Centre located at 770 Don Mills Road is an interactive museum of science and technology that features more than 800 exhibits. One of the Science Centre’s most popular attractions is the Shoppers Drug Mart OMNIMAX theatre which features a 24-meter domed screen with a powerful hi-fidelity sound system.
Adjacent to the arena and community center is Flemingdon Park a long linear park that spans almost the entire length of the neighborhood. This park has soccer fields, a baseball diamond, and a large basketball court. On the east side of the neighborhood is another large park known as Linkwood Lane Park. This park features a children’s playground, a soccer field, and a baseball diamond. North of Linkwood Lane Park is the Flemingdon Park golf course, pay as you play course set in the very scenic Don River Valley.
Ultimately, Flemingdon Park is a family area — a neighborhood where new Canadians come to foster roots in the city. Though it may have a reputation that precedes it, the parks and small shops which make up this area leave a greater impression, in the face of inevitable change.
Other than the domed roof of the Science Centre’s IMAX theatre, however, there are few other places in Flemingdon Park that, externally, seem to be on many Torontonian’s radars.
Today, Flemingdon Park is mostly an epicenter for construction, and as with all communities located anywhere near the upcoming Eglinton LRT, a big change is afoot.
Bordered by the DVP to the east and a branch of the Don River to the west, with Eglinton to the north and ending just south of Gateway Boulevard, Flemingdon Park is surprisingly lush. The area behind the Ontario Centre, E.T. Seton Park, is actually a nature hotspot.
Part of a chain of parks along the Don River, biking trails here lead south from Sunnybrook Park, and on any given summer day you’ll find people making use of the frisbee golf nets scattered around the area.
The best-kept secret however is Seton Park Archery Range, a free-to-use, unsupervised, BYOGear range that’s open all year round. Accessed through a series of hidden trails, it’s a bit confusing to find, with no convenient parking close by, but archery enthusiasts likely don’t mind.
Tempting as it may be, it’s forbidden to park in the close-by Ontario Science Centre employee parking lot located behind the centre.
If arriving by car, your best bet is using the Overlea Parking Lot a 10-minute walk away (I highly recommend following the instructions on the range’s web site).
After a quick nature jaunt (or a private archery lesson, maybe) you can take an eight-minute walk back to civilization, east across Don Mills to Flemingdon Park Shopping Centre.
The busiest spot here is undoubtedly Sunny Foodmart, the local grocery chain with ethnically-diverse products. You won’t find many other grocery stores with signs in Arabic directing you to aisles of Filipino snacks and Indian spices.
There’s also an outstanding butcher section for halal meats to supply the large South Asian and Muslim communities here and in neighboring Thorncliffe Park.
Serving the large community of Eastern Europeans in the same plaza is also Pioneer Deli, a grocery store that’s been around for years, albeit under different owners.
A bright, cheery space, Pioneer is chock full of bread, products, candies, and meats cut for Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Romanian (among other nationalities) cuisine.
There’s tons of fun snacks to peruse here, and for those not too familiar with Eastern European food it’s easy to get caught up with the huge number of international treats available, like Túró Rudi — popular Hungarian chocolate-coated curd snacks — in the fridge.
The sheltered outdoor pathways of Flemingdon Park Shopping Centre are also peppered with a number of restaurants for quick food fixes.
The longtime old-school restaurant Mulan Chinese Cuisine is still an essential spot for speedy and affordable takeout with Cantonese favorites like fried chicken wings or sweet and sour chicken.
Shaheen Tikka and Kabab House is a clean spot with halal Lahori-style breakfasts, while the 15-year old Guyanese-run Caribbean Palms offers jerk chicken specials and $5 fried chicken specials with fried rice, along with beers to satiate the regulars.
The two-storefront affair Kabul Restaurant and Bakery might look like separate entities but signage indicates they’re one and the same.
The bakery section right across from Sunny is a tiny space, with a small counter selling cookies for $8.99 a pound and shelves selling Mazafati dates, tea, rice, and sour cherry jams.
Its restaurant is far better looking, with an entrance accessible at the front of the plaza. Decked out with a wall of fake greenery and hanging vines, it’s a surprisingly charming space with a counter selling Afghani kebabs and shawarma.
They also specialize in bolani, which is a traditional flatbread stuffed with ingredients like leeks, potatoes, or spinach and served with a side of yogurt sauce for a quick bite.
Bus service on Eglinton Avenue connects passengers to the Eglinton station on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. The Don Mills bus and another bus that runs on Flemingdon Park’s interior streets both connect to the Broadview station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue provide quick passage to the Don Valley Parkway, a popular commuter highway that ushers motorists into and out of the city.
Flemingdon Park has 12 Public schools, 8 Catholic schools, in this neighborhood, your kids can get a great education.
Victoria Park Collegiate Institute
Address: 15 Wallingford Rd, North York, ON M3A 2T9, Canada | Telephone: (416) 395-3310 | Fax: (416) 395-4208 | Email: VictoriaParkCI@tdsb.on.ca
“Victoria Park Collegiate Institute is located in a quiet residential area, close to the intersection of Victoria Park Avenue and York Mills Road. Victoria Park is truly a community school; our supportive and dynamic staff provides students with a wide range of academic and co-curricular opportunities. The school offers a diverse range of programs in mathematics, science and technology, the arts, languages, the humanities, social sciences, and business education. Finally, our well-equipped information center allows students to learn with our teacher-librarians in a modern setting. Victoria Park gives teens an edge in achieving the necessary skills and knowledge for a well-rounded education.” As originally published by Victoria Park Collegiate Institute
Don Mills Collegiate Institute
Address: 15 The Donway E, North York, ON M3C 1N2, Canada | Telephone: (416) 395-3190 | Fax: (416) 395-3429 | Email: DonMills.CI@tdsb.on.ca
“Our school’s emphasis is on student success. This emphasis is enhanced by modern science laboratories, a library learning commons, and state-of-the-art computer labs. The use of these supports enables students to learn skills for the 21st century. Our goal is to help all our students achieve their personal best!” As originally published by Don Mills Collegiate Institute
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
Address: 135 Overlea Blvd, North York, ON M3C 1B3, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-2410 | Fax: (416) 396-2407 | Email: MarcGarneau@tdsb.on.ca
“Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute is one of the most diverse secondary schools in the TDSB. The secret to our student success stems from the many cultures that come together to create an amazing learning and social environment where students, staff, and our community learn from one another. MGCI offers many unique programs; horticulture, financial securities, SHSM, and our TOPS program, proclaimed by Maclean’s magazine as “best across the nation”. We also have over 90 student-led co-curricular activities and a wide range of competitive team sports. At MGCI, we ensure that every student that enters our building has, choice in programming and a safe learning environment where they fully apply their creative talents.” As originally published by Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
Address: 17 The Donway E, North York, ON M3C 1X6, Canada | Telephone: (416) 395-2320 | Fax: (416) 395-4491 | Email: DonMills.MS@tdsb.on.ca
“Don Mills Middle School is located in the Don Mills community of Toronto. Our school serves a mixed residential neighborhood and has enjoyed success in addressing the diverse needs of our community. The school shares the same campus as Don Mills Collegiate Institute. This offers many opportunities for cooperative programming and for a smoother transition for the middle-level students that choose to attend DMCI. Both schools offer the CyberARTS multi-disciplinary program, integrating artistic expression and multimedia technologies. Our motto, “Never Settle for Less than Your Best”, applies to both staff and students.” As originally published by Don Mills Middle School
Address: 100 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 1M3, Canada | Telephone: 416 393-0175
“Le Collège français sera un milieu de vie stimulant pour tes amis et toi. Toute une équipe est là, chaque jour, pour t’aider à découvrir de nouveaux horizons et à mieux comprendre le monde qui t’entoure.” As originally published by Collège français secondaire
Address: 55 Gateway Blvd, North York, ON M3C 1B4, Canada | Telephone: (416) 397-2970 | Fax: (416) 395-4493 | Email: Gateway@tdsb.on.ca
“Gateway Public School serves Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 students in the vibrant neighbourhood of Flemingdon Park. We are situated in a lush ravine setting, with a protected playground that offers a variety of play options for students. Our school population is close to 900 students. Gateway is a diverse community, a representation of the multicultural centre Toronto has become. We celebrate and are dedicated to promoting student success in an inclusive and respectful environment. We hold high expectations for the achievement and the conduct of our students based on the key components of mutual respect, responsibility, safety and commitment to the betterment of self and the broader community.” As originally published by Gateway Public School
Address: 2800 St Clair Ave E, Toronto, ON M4B, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-2440 | Fax: (416) 396-2344 | Email: GordonABrown@tdsb.on.ca
“G. A. Brown (GAB) is a dynamic and excellent school wherein students, teachers, parents and administration work together to help students reach high levels of achievement. Located in the St. Clair East Community near Topham Park, GAB is proud of its students and the rich and diverse programming we offer them. Our feeder schools include O’Connor PS, Presteign Heights PS, Selwyn PS and Victoria Park PS. The school was built in 1949 and has had a number of additions over the years, including a swimming pool. The cornerstones of our academic program are literacy and mathematics. Literacy is the common thread across the curriculum as students engage in many opportunities to read, write and communicate orally.” As originally published by Gordon A. Brown Middle School
Address: 130 Overlea Blvd, North York, ON M3C 1B2, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-2465 | Fax: (416) 396-2902 | Email: ValleyPark@tdsb.on.ca
“Valley Park Middle School is a large community school with a tradition of excellence where, in partnership with parents, we value and celebrate our multicultural diversity. At Valley Park, we believe that learning is a lifelong commitment. We believe that the academic, social, emotional, physical and attitudinal needs of our students are our prime concerns and that our programs address these needs. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments in public speaking and math/science competitions. We are also extremely proud of our award-winning choir. Our school continues to be a humanitarian leader via our participation in the Terry Fox Run, food drives, and other humanitarian ventures.” As originally published by Valley Park Middle School
Address: 1665 O’Connor Dr, North York, ON M4A 1W5, Canada | Telephone: (416) 397-2980 | Fax: (416) 397-2982 | Email: OConnor@tdsb.on.ca
“Our school serves approximately 220 students from 31 different language groups. Students participate in a variety of school-wide leadership activities including serving as Play Leaders, and as members of Student Council.” As originally published by O’Connor Public School
Address: 9 Grenoble Dr, North York, ON M3C 1C3, Canada | Telephone: (416) 397-2900 | Fax: (416) 395-4201 | Email: Grenoble@tdsb.on.ca
“Grenoble P.S. is a dynamic, community-based school that is committed to the principles of academic excellence, safety, equity, partnerships, and collaboration. Grenoble P.S. has won the prestigious National Quality Institute’s Award of Merit as a Canadian school demonstrating excellence. The staff serves approximately 900 students – J.K. to Grade 6 with Jr. Extended French – in the Flemingdon Park area. Approximately 93% of the students and/or their parents have immigrated to Canada. In excess of seventy-three different languages are represented at the school.” As originally published by Grenoble Public School
Catholic and Private 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: 250 Gainsborough Rd, Toronto, ON M4L 3C6, Canada
“L’école élémentaire catholique Georges-Étienne-Cartier accueille plus de 400 élèves du jardin à la 6e année. Elle est une école dynamique caractérisée par une panoplie d’activités culturelles, pédagogiques, pastorales et communautaires où le français rayonne. Dotée d’une mission et d’une vision avant-gardistes, l’école est une communauté apprenante qui a à cœur l’éducation et l’amélioration du rendement de tous les élèves. À cet effet, plusieurs initiatives sont mises en place pour assurer le succès et l’épanouissement de tous. Le personnel œuvre dans un esprit de collaboration afin de s’outiller d’une pédagogie branchée et engageante.” As originally published by ÉÉC Georges-Étienne-Cartier
Canadian Martyrs Catholic School
Address: 520 Plains Rd, Toronto, ON M4C, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5251 | Fax: 416-397-6192
“We service children from Full-Day Junior/Senior Kindergarten to Grade Eight by providing a well-rounded blend of academics as well as co-curricular activities. We participate in the sports competitions offered within the Board, in-house leagues when possible, W5H, hockey, etc. Our students do well academically; and are encouraged by the high standards of the school, the dedicated staff, and the small school friendly environment.” As originally published by Canadian Martyrs Catholic School
Address: 343 Jones Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1A7, Canada
“À l’école élémentaire catholique du Bon-Berger, nous nous soucions de créer un environnement où chaque élève se sent bien dans sa peau et peut donc apprendre à son plein potentiel. Nous nous assurons d’offrir aux élèves un milieu scolaire sécuritaire où la francophonie et les valeurs catholiques occupent une place importante. Nous encourageons les élèves à développer leur estime de soi, à être à l’écoute des autres, à faire preuve d’entraide et à s’engager pleinement dans toutes les facettes de leur éducation. C’est ainsi qu’ils deviennent autonomes et responsables dans leur apprentissage.” As originally published by ÉÉC du Bon-Berger
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
Precious Blood Catholic School
Address: 1035 Pharmacy Ave, Scarborough, ON M1R 2G8, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5258 | Fax: 416-397-6362
“We are a Catholic community founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ and we do our best to live Gospel values each and every day. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that our children feel safe and that they have an opportunity to grow and learn in an environment that promotes equity and inclusive education.” As originally published by Precious Blood Catholic School
St. Bonaventure Catholic School
Address: 1340 Leslie St, North York, ON M3C 2K9, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5263 | Fax: 416-393-5117
“St. Bonaventure Catholic School is named after one of the first great scholastic thinkers of Christianity. Bonaventure was born in Italy and lived from 1217 to 1274. St. Bonaventure Catholic School opened in January 1957 as an eight-classroom school. As the Don Mills community developed, and the school population increased, the need for more space became apparent. In 1962, an additional seven classrooms and a library were built. A second addition, containing a gymnasium, change rooms and a stage, was built in 1969. The school has, over the years, established strong ties with the church of the same name and with the community at large. Students presently enrolled in our school have parents who are former school graduates. There are families that have grandchildren attending St. Bonaventure Catholic School, and tradition and family ties are important aspects of life.” As originally published by St. Bonaventure Catholic School
St. John XXIII Catholic School
Address: 175 Grenoble Dr, North York, ON M3C 3E7, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5348 | Fax: 416-393-5164
“Blessed John XXIII Catholic School had its beginning in September 1972. The school and parish have always enjoyed a good working relationship. Weekend masses were offered to the community from the school gymnasium until 1977. That year saw the opening of the worship center which, in the spirit of ecumenism cherished by Pope John XXIII, serves both the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian believers of the Flemingdon Park community.” As originally published by St. John XXIII Catholic School
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