Welcome to Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles Village is known for its European ambience and small-town feel, located just west of Downtown and steps from High Park, Toronto waterfront bicycle and walking trails, public transit and renowned boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
In terms of the area’s history, much of the land west of Roncesvalles was once part of Sunnyside Farm, owned by John Howard, Toronto’s first surveyor and one of Canada’s greatest architects. In 1873 and 1890 Howard donated a large plot of land including his beloved Colborne Lodge to the City of Toronto. These gifts formed most of what is today High Park, the largest park in the City and an amazing amenity for local residents.
The land east of Roncesvalles was owned in large part by Colonel Walter O’Hara who lived on a large estate he named West Lodge. He named Roncesvalles after the gorge where he fought during the Battle of the Pyrenees in 1813 and many neighbourhood streets have an O’Hara connection such as Marion, named after his wife, and Constance, named after his daughter.
Residential construction began in the early 1900s as Toronto experienced large-scale growth and a massive building boom. For the first half of the 20th century, Roncesvalles residents were mostly of British origin, and post WWII a large number of Polish immigrants settled in the area, setting up churches, banks and businesses which remain important local institutions today.
Roncesvalles Village is a diverse and vibrant community where trendy boutiques, cafés and bookstores live alongside established Polish delicatessens. Urban professionals mix and mingle with artists, artisans, musicians and entrepreneurs. On a walk down ‘Roncy’ you’ll see new parents pushing strollers, as seniors enjoy a quick walk to High Park. Artists and musicians bring vitality and creativity to the neighbourhood, sustaining historic cultural venues such as the Revue Cinema, as well as the well-established art scene. On any given night, you can listen to award-winning musicians perform at the live music venues. Many of the restaurants and cafés showcase local painters on their walls, and you will find book readings, writer’s circles and more at numerous places on Roncesvalles.
The community is both tight-knit and active with three residents’ associations including the Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents Association, the High Park Residents Association, and the Sunnyside Community Association and Roncesvalles Renewed, the Roncesvalles Village BIA. These active community organizations have played a large part in making Roncesvalles one of Toronto’s most dynamic and welcoming places to live.
Roncesvalles is also well serviced by public transit with the Roncesvalles division being the oldest in the TTC, built by the Toronto Railway Company in 1895. Today, Roncesvalles serves as the final leg of the 504 King Street streetcar line, one of the busiest in the city. No fewer than five streetcar routes serve this community which can be accessed from the 508 Lakeshore West, the 501 Queen Street, the 505 Dundas West, the 506 College Street as well as the 504 King. The northern tip of Roncesvalles is just a few minutes’ walk south of the Dundas West subway station and affords an easy commute into and out of the Downtown Core.
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