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Regal Heights Toronto Real Estate

 

Overview
The Regal Heights neighborhood is situated on the westernmost part of the Davenport Escarpment between Dufferin and Oakwood.  The centre of Regal Heights is the headwaters of Garrison Creek, with the nearby St. Clair Catholic Church and Oakwood Collegiate at either end.  The neighborhood's main street, St. Clair Avenue West, is lined with unique shops and restaurants.  Regal Heights is also home to the renowned Ontario School of Ballet and the innovative Zia Mosaics fine art gallery.  Winding, hilly well-shaded streets and large homes with turn-of-the-century architecture and steep outdoor stairs have attracted many film production companies to the picturesque Regal Heights locations.

History
Tributaries of Garrison Creek, which supplied water to Fort York in the 1700's, helped shape the local landscape.  Springmount, Alberta and Mount Royal Avenues were built on top of or close to the actual creek bed.  Garrison Creek was diverted to an underground sewer pipe in the early 1900's to protect public health.

In 1824, an Irishman by the name of Bartholomew Bull bought land in a pocket east of Dufferin Street and south of St. Clair Avenue West to build a log cabin and create farmland.  In 1830, he constructed the first brick house at Davenport Road and Springmount Avenue, calling it Springmount, and volunteered to use of his log cabin not only as the first school in the neighborhood, but also as a site where traveling Mehodist clergy could preach.  This cabin became the first church in Regal Heights, and ensconded the Bull family as the first patrons of the Regal Heights neighorhood.

In the 1850's the old path at the base of the hill was widened and called Davenport Road, after the village of Davenport, which was established near Davenport Road and Symington Avenue, (west of today's Regal Heights neighborhood).  Although originally improved by the colonial government, for many years during the 19th century the road was privately owned and people using it had to pay tolls.  Despite the tolls, in poor weather the road would become a lake of mud.  Locals were said to observe that horses exhausted from pulling wagons along muddy Davenport Road would drop to the ground at the thought of having to pull a load up the hill!  The 1820's cottage of the toll kepper at Bathurst Street and Davenport Road, in the Wychwood Park neighborhood, still survives today.

By the 1910, the Bull family sold the farm at Dufferin and St. Clair to developers so that the land could be apportioned into city lots.  Roads were surveyd and schools built, with widespread construction of homes occuring in the 1920's.

Between 1900 and 1914, British immigrants who would buy property and build temporary shelters for their families before constructing more stable homes developed the land northwest of Regal Heights.  This area was know as the shacklands, immortalized by author Judi Coburn's The Shacklands, about the life of a girl growing up in the neighborhood.

Inside Regal Heights
Regal Heights is well served by the 'Corso Italia' shopping district along St. Clair Avenue West.  Corso Italia has a lively Italian atmosphere peppered with some of the city's best Italian Restaurants and Cafes.  Corso Italia is also know for its fashion and accessory boutiques.

Hillcrest Park at Davenport Road and Christie Street, features four floodlit tennis courts, a children's playground and a wading pool.  This park also has a spectacular view of the Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario.  Recreation lovers have plenty of opportunities at the Earlscourt Park and recreation Centre, located at St. Clair Avenue West and Caledonia Park Road.  The centre includes a large gymnasium, an outdoor pool, soccer fields, tennis courts and an ice-skating rink.  It's one of Toronto's largest multi-use recreational facilities.

Residents also enjoy close proximity to the Dufferin/St. Clair branch of the Toronto Public Library, which contains the largest collection of Italian books in the city's public library system, as well as programming for children and preschoolers.  Public transit is easily accessed in Regal Heights, as the St. Clair streeetcar is within walking distance of every home and additional bus service is available on Oakwood Avenue, Dupont Street and Bathurst Street.  Motorists are close to downtown Toronto and the Allen Expressway, which links commuters to Toronto's major highways.

Homes
The styles of homes in Regal Heights and Corso Italia, even though of the close proxmity are quite distinct between the two neighborhoods.  Regal Heights detached and semi-detached three story houses were largely built between 1912 and 1923, while some of the larger homes have been converted into multi-plex dwellings.  The homes are loaded with traditional charm, including oak trim, beamed ceilings, stained and leaded glass windows, hardwood floors, and fireplaces.  Extravant brick finishes and oversized, arched doorways make the neighborhood unique.  The Regal Heights Resident's Association, active in the neighborhood for thirty-four years, consistently encourages community involvement in a variety of yearly activities and meetings while reiterating to its residents that their neighborhood is a unique community within Toronto.

The Future of the Neighborhood
The local Business Improvement Area is encouraging Regal Heights residents to shop locally, as the area has entered a busy construction period.  With the creation of the dedicated streetcar lanes along St. Clair Avenue between Duffering and Oakwood, businesses are experiencing the slowing effects of more congested traffic, so the BIA launched a compaign called "Make Tracks to Regal Heights and Win!" asking residents to walk and discover the stores and restaurants along St. Clair rather than get in their cars to go elsewhere.  The campaign is to help the environment by leaving their cars behind, residents can help boost the local economy, while fostering a safe and vibrant community.

Recently the Regal Road School won the William Greer Architectural award in the Conservation and Craftsmanship category, for its Portico, which had ben commissioned by the Residents' Association and the Toronto District School Board.  This award category honours projects that have restored or adapted buildings that have been existence for forty years or more. The Jury considers how well the project meets current needs while maintaining the integrity of the original design as well craftsmanship, appropriateness and materials.

Click here for a list of homes available in this area
Homes in this link will change on a timely manner, come and visit again.

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**Source - Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods. Maple Tree Publishing**

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