Neighbourhood Name: Riverdale
Riverdale is a large neighbourhood in Toronto, located directly east of the Don River Valley, south of The Danforth (Greektown) and north of Lake Ontario. Riverdale is known by many Torontonians as a thriving residential neighbourhood represented by a strong arts community that cater to independent galleries on Queen St and to the large corporate film studios along the waterfront. There remains a strong working class element to the neigbourhood as well. The tree-lined side-streets are complemented by the various styles of Victorian and Georgian residential architecture, primarily built between the 1880s and the Depression.
The neighbourhood is characterized by two large recreational parks, Riverdale Park adjacent to the Don River and Withrow Park to the north east of Riverdale, as well as smaller parks. Riverdale is also home to Bridgepoint Health (formerly Riverdale Hospital), and the Don Jail, both at the corner of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East.
The Riverdale Zoo was Toronto’s zoological park before the opening of the Toronto Zoo in the early 1970s. Now called Riverdale Farm, it continues as an educational farm for school children and the general public. Ironically Riverdale Farm is not actually in the Riverdale neighbourhood but is located west of the Don River in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood. The two neigbourhoods are closely linked even though separated by the Don River.
One great shopping locations in Riverdale is along Danforth Avenue, east of Broadview. The Danforth is the heart of Toronto’s Greek community and features many great Greek restaurants and a diverse array of stores. Riverdale also has a Chinatown shopping district centred around Gerrard and Broadview. This stretch of stores is known for its bakeries, grocery stands, and restaurants.
Riverdale residents are also close to Queen Broadview Village which includes some interesting antique and collectible stores. There’s also Gerrard Square Mall located at the corner of Pape Avenue and Gerrard Street that offers over 70 stores.
Riverdale has a fantastic choice of parks and parkettes situated throughout the neighbourhood. The three largest parks are Riverdale Park East, Withrow Park and Jimmie Simpson Park. Each of these parks feature tennis courts, a wading pool, a hockey rink, and a baseball diamond.
Riverdale Park also has an outdoor pool and a running track. The Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre has an indoor swimming pool, a games room and a gymnasium. The Pape Recreational Centre has a gymnasium, an indoor pool, a weight room and meeting rooms.
Riverdale has four public libraries that offer a myriad of programs for children, adults and seniors.
Riverdale is also a great location from which to get around the city. There’s regular bus service or streetcar service on Broadview, Carlaw, Jones and Greenwood Avenues, as well as Queen and Gerrard Streets. The Bloor-Danforth subway has five stations serving Riverdale, including Broadview, Chester, Pape, Donlands, and Greenwood. The Don Valley Expressway, Lake Shore Boulevard, and the Gardiner Expressway are all also quickly accessed from this neighbourhood.