News   Jun 14, 2024
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How visible are the boundaries between the former Metro municipalities today?

Was walking south on Victoria Park from Eglinton to St. Clair today. Obviously, I crossed the North York/East York boundary (and of course, Scarborough is on the other side of VP). One of things I’ve always noticed on this stretch is as soon as you get south of Parma Court, side street intersections with VP become way more frequent (most of East York, along with Old Toronto and York, uses the grid street system even in neighbourhoods, where Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough, that’s few and far in between). Also, most streets on the 3 inner boroughs have sidewalks on both sides, where in the 3 outer boroughs, that’s hit or miss (either just a sidewalk on one side or no sidewalk at all).

The big way the boundary here is noticeable is sidewalk design. There tends to be a grass median in between the road and sidewalk in the 3 outer boroughs, which isn’t as common in the 3 inner boroughs. Here, this photo is taken in North York, and you can see the median dying off before it hits the East York border (I believe that house on the right is in East York or at least on the border).

I’d say this isn’t just the North York/East York boundary, but the boundary of “Inner Toronto” and “Outer Toronto” which seems to respect the former municipal boundaries here, but not in all spots (I’d say southwest North York qualifies as “Inner Toronto”, as does extreme south Etobicoke and extreme southwest Scarborough).
In this case, it's also a difference in development *type* (that is, from Parma Ct northward, multiple and "social" housing dominates), as well as a reminder of how on perfectly rational municipal-planning grounds, certain types and phases of development were determined and delineated by municipal boundaries (as one can tell visiting places like Barrie where once the boundary ends, the subdivisions make way for farmer's fields). So in the NE East York environs, the spec gridiron went right to the boundary--and then stopped. Everything beyond was North York's responsibility. (Though sometimes, the delineation's blurrier than at other times--like, the Toronto/East York boundary N of the Danforth is more evident "infrastructurally" than in terms of development phases, and likewise the North York/East York boundary's not so clear in the Bermondsey industrial area.)

And while not as "sidewalky" as the the East York parts across the street (as can be seen in the photo), even the corresponding postwar subdivision of Scarborough in this stretch probably has more commonality w/East York than with this particular part of North York--just streets of humble bungalows, only less "spec gridiron"...
 
And while not as "sidewalky" as the the East York parts across the street (as can be seen in the photo), even the corresponding postwar subdivision of Scarborough in this stretch probably has more commonality w/East York than with this particular part of North York--just streets of humble bungalows, only less "spec gridiron".
Spending a good chunk of my childhood living in the Topham Park, Clairlea always felt like an eastern extension of TP. In my previous post, I was gonna say that I’d consider the inner Toronto/outer Toronto border to continue south of VP to St. Clair, but honestly, Clairlea is in the grey. As you mentioned, not as sidewalky as Topham, it also *somewhat* lacks the grid system and can be cul de sacy, but places that I consider inner Toronto (e.g. Woodbine Gardens in East York) are like that too. Grass medians between the sidewalk and road are also more common in Clairlea than Topham Park (Very noticeable on Vic Park). On the other hand, housing here seems to be akin to much of East York in terms of overal design and development phase, and front yard setbacks of the homes and apartments on St. Clair between Pharmacy and Providance Hospital are quite low. Of course, between Vic Park and Pharmacy, St. Clair, and Taylor Creek, I’d say that gives off “inner Toronto” vibes, but even there, the lack of sidewalks on a few streets is noticeable.
 
Spending a good chunk of my childhood living in the Topham Park, Clairlea always felt like an eastern extension of TP. In my previous post, I was gonna say that I’d consider the inner Toronto/outer Toronto border to continue south of VP to St. Clair, but honestly, Clairlea is in the grey. As you mentioned, not as sidewalky as Topham, it also *somewhat* lacks the grid system and can be cul de sacy, but places that I consider inner Toronto (e.g. Woodbine Gardens in East York) are like that too. Grass medians between the sidewalk and road are also more common in Clairlea than Topham Park (Very noticeable on Vic Park). On the other hand, housing here seems to be akin to much of East York in terms of overal design and development phase, and front yard setbacks of the homes and apartments on St. Clair between Pharmacy and Providance Hospital are quite low. Of course, between Vic Park and Pharmacy, St. Clair, and Taylor Creek, I’d say that gives off “inner Toronto” vibes, but even there, the lack of sidewalks on a few streets is noticeable.
Maybe the thing about Clairlea is that it picks up more from the "Victory Housing" part of Topham Park--both in dwelling style and in planning style. (And with good reason; said Victory Housing was the model for acres of postwar CMHC subdivision such as Clairlea.)

And then there's the curious "Warner Park" gridiron pocket just a bit further N at O'Connor/Vic Pk/Eglinton, which I presume is an earlier spec-platted conceit--though there, there's not only grass medians, but in places no sidewalks at all, reflecting how this was basically exurbia whenever it was laid out. (And what's the story *there*? Anything WWII Golden Mile-related, or earlier?)
 
Spending a good chunk of my childhood living in the Topham Park, Clairlea always felt like an eastern extension of TP. In my previous post, I was gonna say that I’d consider the inner Toronto/outer Toronto border to continue south of VP to St. Clair, but honestly, Clairlea is in the grey. As you mentioned, not as sidewalky as Topham, it also *somewhat* lacks the grid system and can be cul de sacy, but places that I consider inner Toronto (e.g. Woodbine Gardens in East York) are like that too. Grass medians between the sidewalk and road are also more common in Clairlea than Topham Park (Very noticeable on Vic Park). On the other hand, housing here seems to be akin to much of East York in terms of overal design and development phase, and front yard setbacks of the homes and apartments on St. Clair between Pharmacy and Providance Hospital are quite low. Of course, between Vic Park and Pharmacy, St. Clair, and Taylor Creek, I’d say that gives off “inner Toronto” vibes, but even there, the lack of sidewalks on a few streets is noticeable.

It's wild to me that Topham Park was in the same borough as Leaside. They feel like two completely different worlds, albeit Leaside never liked being lumped in with East York. As a born and raised East Yorker (closer to Greektown), anything past Taylor Creek felt like Scarborough.
 
It's wild to me that Topham Park was in the same borough as Leaside. They feel like two completely different worlds, albeit Leaside never liked being lumped in with East York. As a born and raised East Yorker (closer to Greektown), anything past Taylor Creek felt like Scarborough.
When I was younger, I thought anything north of the Don/DVP (via both Don Mills and Millwood) was in North York lol. Thorncliffe Park is probably the only part of East York that doesn’t feel like an “inner Toronto” neighbourhood, and much more akin to something you’d find in North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke. While VERY densely populated, its overall development is more spread out (also, I find with East York, condo/apartment towers are concentrated in certain areas, and Thorncliffe has REALLY tall buildings). As for the rest of Leaside, it has much more brand retail than “traditional“ East York, where depending where you live, along the Danforth in Old Toronto or Golden Mile in Scarborough is where the big retailers/high concentration of commercial land use is. With that being said, the layout and overall style of the residential parts of Leaside feel very “East York” imo. It’s almost like squeezing Warden/Eglinton and Donlands/O’Connor into 1 lol.

To the point about Leaside not wanting to be apart of East York, I remember last spring, I was reading Alan Redways EY book, and he soemthing along the lines that both Leaside and East York found that they were more similar than the thought, but idk as I wasn’t around when the Toronto 1998 amalgamation took place, never mind when Leaside and East York were separate.
 

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