Parkdale’s history began in the late 1800s when it was an elite residential suburb that rivaled Rosedale as Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhood. It became Toronto’s ‘playground by the lake’ in 1922, when the Sunnyside Amusement Park & Bathing Pavilion opened on Parkdale’s beaches. It remained this way until the building of the Gardiner Expressway in the mid-1950s.
Today, Parkdale is seeing increasing signs of gentrification. It is one of the most diverse areas of the city, with many young families buying the well-preserved Victorian homes and bay-and-gables mansions, on its tree-lined streets. The houses in the north end of Parkdale, above Queen Street, are more modest than those in south Parkdale, but no less charming. The neighbourhood has four community centers, a library and is within walking distance of many of Toronto’s waterfront parks.
Parkdale’s eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, cafés, boutiques and galleries, makes its Queen Street shopping district appear to be in a state of perpetual activity! This area, which includes the historic Gladstone Hotel, also boasts some of the best architecture west of the Annex.
Four streetcar lines connect Parkdale’s residents to Toronto’s downtown core or the subway line. For motorists, there is direct access to both the Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Blvd. at the south end of Parkdale, for trips to either downtown Toronto or the airport.