Easily one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in Toronto, the Fashion District continuously re-envisions itself while retaining its rich cultural history. Bounded by Bathurst to the west and Peter Street to the east, it reaches all the way up from Front to its mainstay, the Queen Street row of current and former textile shops that first defined the area.
The Fashion District has plenty of fabric shops, proving its origins as a garment district, but nowadays it has much more varied offerings. Mom-and-pop diners and coffee shops co-exist with juice bars and trendy gourmet burger joints. Vintage shops sit right next to big brand retailers and small local designers. It remains very much a part of the big city, but with a proud neighbourhood vibe.
The Fashion District is a wonderful mix of trending boutiques and heritage shops, making it affordable but dynamic. Once a wholesale and manufacturing district, it remains Toronto’s best source for fabrics. The Fashion District has a special place in the heart of the music community as well, with renowned venues for live performances. Young families are also part of the continued growth of the area as young professionals put down roots.
The Fashion District is teeming with youth. It is a wonderful microcosm of Toronto itself, with every ethnicity being represented in this formerly Jewish business area. Once home to Toronto’s emerging punk and goth scenes, the vibe now is more inclusive than defiant. Young artists and professionals live and work within walking distance of home, and young families can access daycare in the area. Dog-lovers fill the parks away from the main streets.
A city-run daycare has good reviews by local residents, although more daycare is always needed. St. Mary’s Catholic School is nearby for elementary-aged children, and is connected to the nearby St. Mary’s Church on Bathurst. Loblaws has opened a huge high-end store with underground parking. The Queen West Community Health Centre offers everything from medical and dental to counseling, post-natal guidance and services geared to the homeless.
The Fashion District sports streetcars on Queen Street, King Street and Spadina Avenue Street, but it is primarily a walking community. Even the downtown core is within walking distance, as evidenced by the sight of the CN Tower in the not-so-far distance. Parking on side streets is limited, but newer condos come with garages, and Spadina provides easy driving access out of town via Lakeshore or the Gardiner Expressway.
Most residents will say that they love having everything they need in their neighbourhood. The smallish parks are great for dog owners and small children, but residents must seek middle schools and high schools in other areas. There are some dingy shops near some very elegant establishments, but they coexist in harmony. The construction, like much of downtown Toronto, seems never-ending.
There is a great mix of housing in the Fashion District, both for rent and to buy. Apartments and houses are not as inexpensive as they once were, as the city core expands into this former manufacturing sector, but are still good value for the proximity to downtown. Townhomes allow more space for young families. Top-of-the line condo penthouses can still fetch prices, however, comparable with the most costly neighbourhoods in the city.
A hand-picked selection of new home and condos for sale in The Fashion District. For those who love the thrill of anticipation of getting into a brand new home or condo.
The city’s most famous destination for coats, Lorne’s maintains the area’s original reputation for good quality garments at a reasonable price. Those in-the-know don’t wait for sales, trusting the price and quality at Lorne’s.more info
Burger Priest is the holiest of holies in the burger craze that has swept Toronto, whose epicentre is Queen and Spadina. Handmade, home-ground burgers are the slow-food version of fast food.more info
Known across the city for its healing waters, Body Blitz is unique among spas. The warm Dead Sea salt pool, hot Epsom salt pool and aromatherapy steam room are countered by a cold plunge pool.more info
The Factory Theatre has been known for over forty years as the home of Canadian theatre, being the first to commit to developing Canadian-only productions. Partnerships with local schools make it a cultural hub.more info
Susur Lee is the culinary king of King Street, and arguably Toronto’s most internationally recognized chef. The menu is an Asian inspired series of small dishes meant for sharing.more info
The Cameron This venerable house of music only holds a maximum of sixty people, but hosts the best emerging artists in Toronto. It launched the careers of Blue Rodeo, Ron Sexsmith, Holly Cole and Molly Johnson, among others.