Riverdale is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Toronto. It combines great location with great food and great community. To the north, it is bordered by Danforth Avenue and Greektown, known for its Taste of the Danforth festival each year that brings out 1000s of foodies to taste food and drink on the extended patios of restaurants and bars. To the South, Riverdale is bordered by Gerrard Street and another one of Toronto’s Chinatowns. Gerrard and Broadview is the centre of this strip that provides a great place to get some cheap take out as well as a variety of produce from the markets.
To the West, Riverdale is bordered by Riverdale Park and the Don Valley Parkway. One of the best views in the city is located here as well as one of the best tobogganing hills. The park is a great place to play hockey in the winter as it has one of the city’s many outdoor rinks. In the summer, the Riverdale pool is a great local hotspot to cool off. Tennis courts and baseball diamonds also cover this multi-purposed park. West of the park is Cabbagetown, another neighbourhood that we covered.
Riverdale is bordered by Jones Ave. to the East which is where Riverdale high school is located along Gerrard. Riverdale Collegiate Institute was renovated in 1995 and combined the old building with the new, adding a glass front, seen in the picture below.
One of the most historic and notable landmarks in the area is the Don Jail. Built in the 1860s, before confederation, the Don Jail housed some of the meanest and nastiest criminals. It was also the location of many hangings before Canada abolished its capital punishment laws. The last hangings took place in 1962. The Don’s old main entrance has been renovated to be the administrative building for the Hospital that was recently built next door. The entrance had not been used by the public since 1977. A previous addition to the Don Jail will now be the main entrance, located just East.
The area surrounding the Don Jail is a campus for the new Bridgepoint Health Hospital and facilities. A Park surrounded by several small buildings as well as the Hospital, pictured above. The hospital is a state-of-the-art facility that has been designed to meet the specialized care needs of people with complex chronic disease (multiple lifelong illnesses) and disability.
Included on the campus is the renovation of Emily’s House Children’s Hospice that is run by the Philip Aziz Centre (PAC). This facility is adding a 10 bed children’s palliative care facility and improving on its other facilities. All the buildings are using a mix of the old and the new to maintain the history of the area.
At the corner of Gerrard and Broadview is the “Zhong Hua Men” archway. Completed in 2009 the archway was built to commemorate Canada’s Chinese pioneers, labourers, railway workers and subsequent descendants and Immigrants of Chinese descent who contributed to all aspects of Canadian society. It represents their culture and heritage for future generations.
One of the world’s most famous streets is tucked away in this neighbourhood. In 1979 the TV show The Kids of Degrassi Street first aired. The show was about the lives of a group of children who lived on this street in Toronto. The show was a huge success and went on to create Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and Degrassi: The Next Generation. Many of the actors who played on the first show carried on to the following two. Some even went on to become characters on the most recent show, now as adults.
Withrow Park is another notable landmark. Tucked away in the centre of the residential cluster, this park screams family community. With facilities ranging from ice hockey rinks to soccer fields, this park is a great hangout for people of all ages and interests.