Riverdale was a small rural community until the Grand Trunk Railway began steaming through in the 1850's. The railway brought industry and employment and it also attracted a pool of labourers who built the first homes in Riverdale, south of the railway tracks. Riverdale remained largely undeveloped until 1884 when it was annexed by the City of Toronto. At that time Riverdale was called Riverside.
South of Danforth Avenue, at 469 Broadview Avenue is believed to be Toronto’s oldest continuously inhabited home. Built in the 1790’s by United Empire Loyalist John Cox, the original structure, which is contained within the existing home, was a log cabin that faced south. Over the years, the cabin was doubled in size into a Regency cottage, and reconfigured to face west toward Riverdale Park.
Riverdale's development was accelerated in 1918 with the building of Toronto's largest bridge, the Prince Edward Viaduct. The Viaduct provided Riverdale with an important link to the City of Toronto, west of the Don River, and marked a coming of age for this popular Toronto neighbourhood.
The residential landscape within Riverdale is made up primarily of Victorian and Edwardian style homes, constructed in the 1800s as boarding houses. These residences have since been largely redeveloped into single family homes to house the every growing number of young families moving into the neighbourhood based on its central location, proximity to transit, abundance of parks and greenspace as well as the vibrant local shops and restaurants which have developed in this incredible community.