Bloor West Village is a popular neighbourhood and a great shopping district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Located along Bloor Street, it encompasses all businesses along Bloor Street between Jane Street and Ellis Park Road, consisting of more than 400 shops, restaurants and services. Bloor West Village comprises of a mix of stores, including specialty clothing stores, book stores, restaurants and cafes. The businesses of Bloor West Village organized in 1970 into the first mandatory business improvement district, an idea that has spread to numerous other commercial streets in Toronto and to cities around the world.
Bloor West Village is located between two neighbourhoods. To the north is Runnymede, a former streetcar suburb and to the south is Swansea, a former village dating to the 19th century. Bloor West Village is also considered the name of the immediate vicinity of Bloor Street.
The major streets are Bloor Street, Jane Street and Annette Street. Bloor Street, the main thoroughfare, is a four-lane arterial road, lined with mainly commercial and retail, predominately two-storey buildings with a retail first floor and residential on the upper floors. Most businesses are local stores and restaurants and there are some chains of fast-food restaurants. The businesses are organized into the Bloor-West Village Business Improvement Association. The Runnymede Library is also located on Bloor. Jane Street, which is a four-lane arterial road running north from Bloor, changes along its length within the neighbourhood, being predominantly commercial and retail around Bloor Street and Annette. Annette, in the northern part of the neighbourhood, is a four-lane arterial road, which runs east-west and is predominantly residential with some schools and the Annette Library located along the street.
Houses in Bloor West Village are generally (often American craftsman style) two story brick houses, however renovations are becoming popular and many of the traditional homes are being torn down to create larger, more modern homes. The tree-lined streets in this area, which was annexed by the city of Toronto in 1909 make Bloor West Village a popular residential neighbourhood. Much of its development was originally due to the creation of a streetcar line along Bloor Street, which the TTC later replaced by the Bloor-Danforth subway line, built in the 1960s.
The neighourhood’s first residents were largely Irish and Anglo-Saxon, followed eventually by immigrants of Eastern European origin. The ethnicity of the area, as recorded in the 2001 Census of Canada is still largely English, Irish and Scottish. The largest Eastern European groups are Ukrainian and Polish; the Ukrainian language was the most commonly spoken non-English language by residents of this community. The 2006 Census of Canada estimated the number of residents within Bloor West Village neighbourhood as 9,565.
The area is served by the Bloor-Danforth subway line, with stations at Jane Street and Runnymede Road. Buses runs north from Jane Station and north and south from Runnymede Stations. Annette Street is served by a bus line from Jane Station. A night bus replaces the subway line during the early morning hours along Bloor Street.
Bloor West Village has two Toronto Public Library locations, Runnymede and Annette, and there is a nearby location in Swansea.
The BIA hosts:
- Annual Ukrainian Festival in September (music, foods and crafts).
- July Festival, which is a local fair of amusements and entertainment.
- Halloween Festival on Armadale Avenue, Beresford Avenue and Glendonwynne Road (family-friendly activities).
- Participates in the Toronto city-wide “Cavalcade of Lights” (December)
Bloor West Village has a handful of public, semi-public, and Catholic elementary and high schools. High school students from this area can attend Runnymede Collegiate Institute on Jane Street or Bishop Marroco/Merton, Western Technical Commercial School, Ursula Franklin Academy or Humberside Collegiate Institute high schools located to the east.
- King George Junior Public School is a public elementary school located on Rexford Road. It first opened in 1911, the year of King George V’s coronation, it replaced Elizabeth Street School, built in 1882. The present building opened in 1964. King George houses the co-operative Humbercrest Nursery School for children between the ages of 2.5 to 4 and a Learning Enrichment Before and After School Program for children 6 to 12 years of age.
- Runnymede Collegiate Institute is a public high school on Jane Street.
- Runnymede Public School is a public elementary school on Runnymede Road. It has grades JK-8 and has around 1100 students enrolled. The school was founded in 1913 as a one-room schoolhouse.
St Pius X Catholic School
St. Pius is an elementary school located on Jane Street, just north of Bloor Street.
James Culnan Catholic School
Culnan is an elementary school located on Willard Avenue and offers Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8education, with an extended French program starting in Grade 5. The current enrollment is 421 students and the principal is Lillian Ugrin.
The school, named for trustee James Culnan, was opened in 1970 with the official opening and blessing 6 June 1971. Although the main entrance is on Willard Avenue, houses on both it and Windermere Avenue were expropriated to allow for the building of the school. In 1995 the school celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special mass at St. James Church. James Culnan was a trustee for 37 years, until his death in 1964, and was knighted by Pope Pius XII in 1957 in honour of his work with the Metropolitan Separate School Board, today the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
The school has a mandatory blue and white dress code. The school’s religion program teachesCatholic faith and is integrated closely to St James Parish.
A great furor accompanied the arrival of a Chapters bookstore in the late 1990s. Aside from discontent about the effect of a large bookstore undermining older local businesses, many residents were upset that the local historic movie theatre was going to be gutted to make room for the new store. However, the arrival of Chapters allowed restoration of the historical Runnymede Theatre. At the time Chapters was the only company willing to make the $5 million investment necessary to restore the building.
Bloor West Village Real Estate
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