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Willowdale
Toronto, Ontario

Homes Stats

Homes For Sale: 60
Homes For Lease: 38
Average List Price: $741,595

Area Description

Willowdale is an established, affluent community in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located in the district of North York. It was originally made up from three postal villages, namely Newtonbrook, Willowdale and Lansing.

Willowdale was originally a postal village (orig. Willow Dale) which covered the area from Finch Ave. at the north to Elmwood Ave at the south and Bathurst St. at the west to Bayview Ave. at the east. The postal Village of Lansing was from Elmwood Ave. at the north to approx. Hwy. 401 at the south and Bathurst St. at the west to Bayview Ave. at the east. (East of Bayview Ave. would have been the postal village of Oriole.) The north-south centreline of Lansing & Willowdale was Yonge St. The postal Village of Lansing remained in existence until the Post Office at Lansing corner (northwest corner of Yonge St. & Sheppard Ave.) was closed. When a new Post office was built in Willowdale, the whole area of the former postal villages of Lansing & Willowdale then became Willowdale, but still only a postal village, all within the Township of North York at that time. (Newtonbrook, originally Newton Brook, was also a postal village, located on Yonge St., north from Finch Ave. to Steeles Ave.) where a number of small business and commercial buildings still remain. The boundaries of the current neighbourhood extend as far east as Victoria Park Avenue, west to Bathurst Street, south to the 401 freeway, and north to Steeles Avenue. The neighbourhood abuts Bayview Village to the east and is considered to overlap Newtonbrook to the north. North York Centre is centred at the intersection of Yonge Street and Empress Avenue and is commonly thought to be a part of Willowdale, though its high-rise residential and commercial development in recent years sets it apart from much of the rest of Willowdale.

The Willowdale neighbourhood consists of single-family homes, condominium townhouses and high-rise condominium towers. High density development is restricted along Yonge Street. The single-family homes range in age from the original 1910 to 1950s construction (one- and two-storey pre-war houses and modest one-and-a-half-storey postwar houses). After the 1990s, very large replacement two-storey luxury homes were constructed by tearing down the original houses. It is in this neighbourhood that the term "monster homes" was first applied by Torontonians.

Willowdale was first settled by Jacob Cummer, who immigrated to Canada from the United States in 1797. Cummer was a mill owner on the nearby Don River, a proprietor of a tinsmith shop on Yonge Street and a self-trained doctor and veterinarian. Cummer was held in such high esteem by his neighbours that this area was originally known as Kummer's Settlement.

David Gibson, a distinguished land surveyor, was another leader in this community. Like most of his neighbours, Gibson participated in the ill-fated Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. He was thus charged with high treason and escaped to the United States, where he found employment as the First Assistant Engineer on the building of the Erie Canal.

Gibson returned to his Yonge Street farm in 1851, after being pardoned for his role in the Rebellion. He then helped to establish the "'Willow Dale"' post office, named after the many willow trees that once graced this district. Members of the Gibson family were still living in Gibson House in the 1920s when the residential subdivision of Willowdale began to take place.

The Gibson House, circa 1851, is still standing in its original location at 5172 Yonge Street and is now a historic museum.
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