Thinking about buying a home in Central Toronto? Here’s the rundown on living in the Banbury-Don Mills, Parkwoods-Donalda, St. Andrew-Windfields, and Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills neighbourhoods – some of the most exclusive and sought-after real estate in Canada.
Toronto Central, like Toronto itself, is a diverse amalgamation of people, neighbourhoods, ethnicities, and backgrounds. From Banbury-Don Mills with its rich population of new Canadians to the multi-million-dollar mansions of Toronto’s famous Bridle Path, it's a sought-after part of the city with plenty to offer residents.
You’ll find abundant green spaces along the Don River, neighborhood parks, and plenty of trees. Excellent shopping, great schools, beautiful homes, and easy access to highways and transit. It’s hardly a surprise that this area is popular. Property prices reflect that popularity: not only is Toronto Central one of the most expensive areas to buy a home in the GTA, it includes some of the wealthiest postal codes in the country.
Right at Home Realty’s Success in Toronto Central
Since our start in 2004, Right at Home has had the privilege to help hundreds of families in Toronto Central sell their homes and help some find their dream homes. Historically, we have transacted over 360 deals in this region which has brought in over $330 million dollars of transactions. With this performance and experience, there’s no better expert than a Right at Home Toronto Central agent.
With ravines and rivers, parks and playgrounds, and quiet leafy roads, Toronto Central has no shortage of green space. Toronto’s extensive ravine system (it’s the largest urban ravine system in the world!) runs through the area, giving residents easy access to paths and trails perfect for walking, running, hiking, walking dogs, watching birds, wildlife spotting, and even snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. When you’re surrounded by this much nature, it's hard to believe Toronto’s downtown core is just a few kilometers away.
Banbury Don Mills Toronto
Culture and recreation central
There's no shortage of stuff to keep you busy and entertained in Toronto Central – it has world-class sports facilities, fascinating art museums, and more. (We promise, you won’t be bored.)
Don Mills Tennis Club. Polish up your backhand at this family-friendly club. Featuring six-lit outdoor courts, a cozy clubhouse, and extensive kids and adult programs, it's great for everyone from tennis beginners to A-level pros.
Don Mills Tennis Club, Banbury-Don Mills Toronto
Donalda Club. With a championship golf course and curling rinks, tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, and incredible dining, this members-only facility is situated on 200 rolling acres in the heart of the city and has been a favorite with well-heeled locals since 1960.
Donalda Club, Parkwoods-Donalda Toronto
Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art. This cultural and architectural gem is the first museum in the western world dedicated to Islamic and Persian art and Muslim culture. It offers unique exhibits and events that focus on education, learning, and mutual understanding.
Aga Khan Museum, Don Mills Toronto
Toronto Botanical Garden. This pretty spot next to Edwards Gardens offers four gorgeous acres to explore. You can do self-guided tours, attend programs and community events, book the space for your own event (weddings are big here), or just wander the gardens any time of year.
Toronto Botanical Garden, Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills Toronto
Ontario Science Centre. A perennial family favourite, this unique educational and entertainment facility draws visitors from all over Canada.
Shopping, wining, and dining
Toronto Central also has no shortage of incredible options for eating and entertainment – and it’s an absolute goldmine when you’re looking for a little retail therapy.
The Shops at Don Mills. The jewel in the local shopping crown is the upscale CF Shops at Don Mills. Completed in 2009 and built according to the City's green development guidelines, this open-air shopping experience isn't like anything else you'll find in Toronto.
CF Shops at Don Mills, Banbury-Don Mills Toronto
Meant to feel more like an “urban village” than a typical mall, all the stores face internal streets and there's a main square with interpretive historical plaques and Douglas Copeland's quirky starburst clock tower that's a tribute to the area’s mid-century modern home designs.
Plenty of big brand names are represented here, from Anthropologie to LL Bean to Swarovski. And there's a great selection of food options, too, with Joey Don Mills, Nome Izakaya, Aroma Espresso Bar, Paramount Fine Foods, and more. The shopping centre often hosts community events, and there’s a skating oval in the winter that's a big draw for local families.
Fairview Mall. Another Cadillac Fairview property catering to well-heeled locals, Fairview is a more traditional indoor mall anchored by Hudson's Bay, featuring the usual brands from Apple to Zara. There’s a good selection of eateries, with several solid Japanese options and a couple of chain restaurants including Moxie's.
Bayview Village. Small, chic, and exclusive, this Boutique shopping experience focuses on high-end “haute” fashion and gourmet nosh.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre. You'll have to head west a little ways on the 401, but this mall (arguably the biggest and best in Toronto) makes the drive worthwhile. Anchored by Holts and Nordstrom, it’s home to premium brands Burberry, Cartier, Coach, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Piaget, Prada, and more. Yorkdale is where many global brands launch their Canadian operations, so if they don’t have it, you probably won't find it anywhere in the GTA.
Toronto Central is made up of four key neighborhoods
- Banbury-Don Mills
- St. Andrew-Windfields
- Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills
This vibrant neighborhood is characterized by variety. Located roughly within the borders of Eglinton, York Mills, the Don River and Wilket Creek, Banbury-Don Mills Toronto has rental apartments and luxury condos, 1960s bungalows, and high-end custom builds. And the people who live here are just as diverse as the housing stock.
Renters and first-time buyers are attracted to the relative affordability of the southernmost parts of the area. A large percentage of older residents have been in the neighborhood for years. And there are lots of first- and second-generation Canadians and multi-generational households: of the four neighborhoods described in this article, Banbury-Don Mills is one of the most ethnically and economically diverse.
A history of modern living
Developed in the 1960s as Canada’s first planned community, this innovative enclave became the blueprint for suburban development across the GTA. Homes were built on big lots, with Bauhaus-inspired modernist design. Iconic public buildings like Don Mills Collegiate and the Don Mills Library have a matching modernist aesthetic. Those original homes are still around, adding character and charm to their quiet streets, but many have had facelifts or been torn down and replaced with larger homes.
Mid-century home design in Banbury-Don Mills neighborhood
The Banbury-Don Mills neighborhood was built as four separate quadrants surrounding Don Mills Shopping Center (now the Shops at Don Mills). Each quadrant had lots of walking paths and neighborhood parks linked to local ravines. Winding roads and cul-de-sacs were specifically designed to slow traffic for a calm, family-friendly environment.
Families love Banbury-Don Mills
That 1960s neighborhood design may be half a century old, but it still offers excellent livability for families – the area is consistently a top choice for Toronto buyers. Another reason for its popularity is its relative affordability compared to neighboring areas. The average price in Banbury-Don Mills comes in pretty close to the Toronto average, unlike neighbouring areas like the Bridle Path and York Mills, home to some of Canada's priciest real estate.
“Banbury-Don Mills is an ideal place to live, work and play. From luxury condos to green spaces and all the shopping, dining, and medical amenities you could want, life here is both convenient and exciting.”
Getting around is easy
Whether you have a car or you use transit, Banbury-Don Mills has lots of convenient options. The Don Mills bus whisks commuters to the subway in minutes. And once the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is complete, residents will be able to get anywhere in the city even faster. Drivers have easy access to the DVP, 401 and 404.
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Bordered by Lawrence, the Don River, 401, and Victoria Park, Parkwoods-Donalda is an area with two distinct sections: the area south of York Mills Road has mostly detached and semi-detached homes from the 1960s to the present 1980s, condos, and infill custom build. The demographic here skews older, with a surprising number of homes still occupied by their original owners. Residents have access to large parks with hilly terrain and inviting walking trails.
Parkwoods-Donalda real estate
Sandwiched between York Mills Road and the 401, you’ll find a higher population of new Canadians, with a large demographic of those of Chinese, South Asian, Caribbean and African background. Housing is primarily apartment buildings and condos, with renters making up more than half of the households in this part of the neighborhood.
Parkwoods-Donalda is home to many young families who come for well-rated schools (both public and private) and wonderfully walkable neighborhoods. Grocery stores, restaurants, and other amenities are well-located throughout the area, with many accessible on foot.
“Located in the North York area of Toronto, Parkwoods-Donalda is characterized by numerous single-family homes, high-rise condos with lots of young families, and plenty of parkland to explore.”
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Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills
Upscale. Elite. Posh. Extravagant. Exclusive. These are all words used to describe Bridle Path houses. It's been home to some pretty big names over the years, from Prince to the current “King of the Six” – Drake. Widely known as Canada's most affluent neighborhood, this ultra-exclusive enclave is famous for the massive multi-million dollar mansions that give it its nickname: “Millionaire’s Row.”
The square footage of some Bridle Path homes runs into the tens of thousands. They have indoor pools, movie theatres, bowling alleys and basketball courts – all set on massive, multi-acre properties that can easily be described as compounds. Residents include some of the wealthiest names in Canada, and the area has an average household income of over a million.
Bridle Path homes Toronto
“The streets are wide and the trees are big and appropriately leafy. It's very residential. But what the area lacks in terms of retail, it makes up for with incredible green spaces, Sunnybrook Park and Edwards Gardens a short and very pleasant stroll away.”
York Mills Toronto
Toronto's neighborhood category system groups the Bridle Path with the Sunnybrook and York Mills neighborhoods. While they don’t quite hit the sky-high property values of the rarified Bridle Path, they certainly hold their own in terms of net worth and pricey homes.
The York Mills area is pretty exclusive in its own right, with a mix of older (1920s to 1960s) housing stock and newer infill executive-style housing increasingly appearing on the neighborhood's coveted large lots. You'll find Tudor styles, mid-century modern and ultra-contemporary, plus more recently built luxury condos around Yonge and York Mills.
The exclusivity of this area extends to its amenity and recreation options. This is where you’ll find the iconic Granite Club, which has incredible sports facilities, dining options and social events. Local families send their kids to the private Crescent School for Boys and Toronto French School, and York University's lovely French-language Glendon Campus is also nearby. Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills is also the location of Sunnybrook Stables – one of the only places in the city where you can learn to ride a horse.
Fun fact: one of the mansions in the Bridle Path was used in the movie Mean Girls – as Regina George's (played by Rachel McAdams) house.
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Once upon a time, the area bordered by Yonge, the 401, York Mills Road and the Don River was one big farm called Windfields. Owned by Canadian entrepreneur E.P. Taylor, it was a top thoroughbred racing stable – its claim to fame was Northern Dancer, the first Canadian horse to win the Kentucky Derby.
St. Andrew-Windfields Toronto
In the 1960s, Taylor donated 12 hectares of the farm to the city (now the lovely Windfields Park) and sold the rest off to developers. Today the St. Andrew-Windfields neighbourhood is an affluent, upper-middle-income enclave popular with young families who love the winding streets, big homes, quiet neighborhoods, incredible parks, and good schools. The original 1960s and 1970s St. Andrew-Windfields Toronto homes have slowly made way for large executive houses.
St. Andrew-Windfields real estate
“St. Andrew-Windfields is an affluent and much sought-after neighborhood in North York, Toronto. Luxury living options include modern detached homes and spacious condominiums, making the area an excellent option for families with kids looking for the traditional vibe of a family home.”
St. Andrew-Windfields homes for sale
The St. Andrew-Windfields neighbourhood is very well-served by transit, with York Mills subway close by and easy drivability with good proximity to the 401, 404 and DVP. It's close to shopping, dining, arts, and entertainment. The North York City Centre (aka Toronto’s second downtown) is just a few streets north: Mel Lastman Square has an amphitheater, skating, festivals and entertainment all year round, and Meridian Arts Centre next door houses an art gallery, recital hall, and theatre.
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Don Mills Tennis club: https://www.tennisontario.com/clubs/find-a-club/don-mills-tennis-club
Donalda Club: https://donaldaclub.ca/golf/
Aga Khan Museum: https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/news/reopening-announcement
Shops at Don Mills: http://www.quinndesign.ca/the-shops-at-don-mills
Bungalow Reference photo: https://torontolife.com/real-estate/toronto-house-for-rent-55-jocelyn-crescent/
Parkwood Donalda: https://www.zolo.ca/toronto-real-estate/22-fenelon-drive
Parkwoods-Donalda neighbourhood: https://www.neighbourhoodguide.com/toronto/north-york/parkwoods/
York Mills Toronto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/York_Mills#/media/File:York_Mills_map.PNG
Sunnybrook homes: https://www.zolo.ca/toronto-real-estate/194-valley-road
St. Andrew-Windfields Toronto: https://thearmstrongteam.ca/search-toronto-real-estate/st-andrew-windfields-york-mills
St. Andrew-Windfields real estate:
St. Andrew-Windfields real estate for sale: https://www.zolo.ca/toronto-real-estate/21-wimpole-drive