For over one hundred years Rosedale has held the distinction of being Toronto’s most fashionable address. Many of Toronto’s wealthiest and most prominent citizens reside in the Rosedale neighbourhood.
Rosedale is unique in that it is surrounded by beautiful ravines and parkland that make you feel as if you are far away from the city, while in reality Rosedale is just a few minutes from Toronto’s major business, entertainment, and shopping districts.
Rosedale began when Sherrif William Botsford Jarvis, and his wife Mary settled on a homestead here in the 1820’s. It was Mary Jarvis who came up with the Rosedale name, as a tribute to the profusion of wild roses that graced the hillsides of the Jarvis estate.
Mary’s frequent walks and horseback rides through Rosedale, blazed a trail for the meandering and winding streets that are today a Rosedale trademark. The Jarvis family sold the Rosedale homestead in 1864 which led to the subdivision and development of South Rosedale.
North Rosedale’s development began in 1909 when a bridge was built over the Park Drive ravine. Prior to its residential development North Rosedale had been the original home of St. Andrews College and the Rosedale Golf Club. It was also the site of the former lacrosse grounds, where the Canadian Football League’s first Grey Cup game was played.
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At present, the City of Toronto has 15 heritage conservation districts, including both South Rosedale and North Rosedale in Midtown. The path to designation as a heritage conservation district begins with a background study into the historical, architectural and character-defining features that make an area special. Following a general review — if the study area merits designation — comes approval by the Toronto Preservation Board. City Council then passes a by-law that establishes the heritage conservation district.
South Rosedale’s designation as a heritage conservation district was spearheaded by the South Rosedale Ratepayers’ Association (which was formed in 1931 and is the oldest such association in Toronto). The ratepayers’ association was naturally concerned that the neighbourhood’s Garden Suburb characteristics and grand old houses would be preserved. Thanks to the group’s efforts South Rosedale was granted heritage conservation district status in 2003.
In 1824, Sheriff William Botsford Jarvis purchased a 110-acre estate in what is now South Rosedale. Mary Jarvis was said to be impressed by the profusion of roses that dotted the hillsides around her estate, which led to the name Rosedale. Mary Jarvis’s daily horserides through Rosedale blazed the way for some of the present-day Rosedale streets.
North Rosedale followed the lead of South Rosedale, receiving its heritage conservation district designation in 2005. It also has a storied history, beginning in 1881 when the Glen Road bridge was constructed. Scottish Highland shareholders were quick to register a plan of subdivision named RosedalePark in 1884, which named many of the streets after principles in the development and prominent Onatrio citizens.
Saint AndrewsCollege, a prominent boys private school now located in Aurora, called North Rosedale home from 1905 to 1927. Rosedale Golf Club also originated in North Rosedale before moving to its present location in TeddingtonPark. The former Toronto Lacrosse Grounds — now known as RosedalePark — were the venue for the inaugral Grey Cup football game in 1909.
North Rosedale’s development was sporadic. The neighbourhood was largely built by the late 1920s and early 1930s. North Rosedale’s Frederick Law Olmstead-inspired Garden Suburb street pattern, ravine topography, grand old homes, and classical architecture made it an easy choice for heritage conservation district status.
To explore Rosedale on foot, consider a Heritage Toronto walking tour. For more details visit www.heritagetoronto.org.
This article is provided by www.torontoneighbourhoodnews.com