St. Lawrence neighbourhood is a lovely, historic area located in downtown Toronto. Its boundaries are Queen Street East to the north, Parliament Street to the east, Yonge Street to the west, and the Gardiner Expressway to the south. St. Lawrence Market’s vibrant community, excellent accessibility, and proximity to other Downtown Toronto’s neighbourhoods such as Financial District, Distillery District and Leslieville, and residential and entertainment amenities are some reasons which have put this neighbourhood on high demand.
To me, as a Toronto Real Estate Agent, St. Lawrence is a delightful place to live and work in, especially for young adults and couples. It has it all, from the old brick buildings and lofts, to high end residential condos, to restaurants and bars. St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood, is where modernism meets classic Toronto.
How to Get to St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
To get to this lovely and lively neighbourhood in Toronto’s downtown, you can follow the below:
504 streetcar operates along King Street and buses run up and down on Parliament and Sherbourne streets. If you want to reach St. Lawrence by subway you can get on and ride from any station in Toronto to Union Station. Also, if you are driving a car from St Lawrence market, within few minutes, you can commute to the other parts of the city via the Gardiner Expressway, the Don Valley Parkway, and Lake Shore Boulevard.
History of St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
In the early 1800s, the tallest building in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood had only three stories, Lake Ontario waves lapped against Front Street, most of the area was fields and forest and the population of the newly established Town of York was less than 10,000. Since then, the Old Town area has witnessed many events such as devastating fires, and even armed rebellions.
South St. Lawrence Market was built in 1845 as the first official City Hall in Toronto. After many modifications, in 1902 it turned to the shape we see today. North Market (aka. Farmer’s Market) was erected in 1820 and during one and a half century many changes took place there. The building which we see today was constructed in 1968.
In 1793, when the Town of York was established, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe planned a road to link the town to the north, primarily for military supply purposes. This road later was named after Simcoe’s friend, Sir George Yonge, as Yonge Street.
By the time, as Toronto became an important municipality and hence a commerce and politics hub, many developments such as First Parliament Buildings (1799), Bank of Upper Canada (1827), Toronto’s First Post Office (1833), St. Lawrence Hall (1850), St. James Cathedral (1853), Lorraine Kimsa Theatre (1888) and Gooderham “Flatiron” Building (1892) took place in the area.
Restaurants and Bars in St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
There are more than a dozen really good restaurants and bars in the area. Barsa Taberna at 26 Market St is a very popular Spanish eatery. HOTHOUSE on Church St is another great place to eat. Its open-air patio is a perfect place to have a delicious meal.
Cluck Clucks Chicken & Waffles at 222 The Esplanade is the best to have chicken and waffles. Their prices are also very affordable. Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ at 81 Church St is the place to go for lunch. Admired by many customers, the price, staff, and the quality of the meals are decent.
If you are looking for genuine Italian food, Terroni at 57 Adelaide St is the best choice. Their fried calamari, deli platter, and pizzas are really delicious. If you are extremely hungry and can devour a big meat palate, I offer The Carbon Bar at 99 Queen St East. They have got a very cool interior space and vibe.
You will have a memorable dining plus an Arabic belly dance show in The Sultan’s Tent and Cafe Moroc.
C’est What at 67 Front St East, Woods Restaurant & Bar at 45 Colborne St, CC Lounge, and Whisky Bar at 45 Front St East and Beerbistro at 18 King St East are some of the best bars in the area.
Shopping in St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
Indeed, St. Lawrence Market itself on Front St East is the first destination to buy foodstuff. More than 200 vendors bring their best food products there. Besides food, you can visit The Market Gallery on the upper level and also buy gift works there. For designer furniture and other retail business, you can head toward King St. East. You will find Roche Bobois, Montauk Sofa, Calligaris, Bergo Designs, Poliform, and Design Within Reach to name a few.
Sightseeing and Amusement in St. Lawrence
Meridian Hall (formerly Sony Centre for the Performing Arts) at Yonge Street, Front St. intersection is a major venue in the area for concerts, shows, and cultural events. It has an eye-catching interior décor and a friendly atmosphere. The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts at 27 Front St East is a nice theatre to take a comfortable seat and get immersed in a pleasurable show for a couple of hours. For movie fans, Imagine Cinemas at 80 Front St East is a super comfortable cinema theatre to get amused.
Built in 1850, St. Lawrence Hall at the corner of King Street East and Jarvis Street, is a must-see vintage building. Offering the elegance of Victorian architecture, you can perceive the old heritage of Toronto in a shot. Nowadays, it is used for public meetings, lectures and Toronto’s social events.
The Gooderham Flatiron Building where Front St meets Willington St is an iconic building that depicts a Romanesque and Gothic Revival style. Also, St. James Cathedral on King Street East is a notable building to visit. Its construction dates back to 1853 and in 1873 it turned to its final shape.
Green Space in St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
In comparison to other neighbourhoods in Toronto, St. Lawrence has no ample greenspace and vast foliage but this is not really a big problem. By a short trip to either side (the east, the west, or the north) you have access to many parks and greenspaces, and to the southward, you will hit the shoreline and beaches. David Crombie Park along The Esplanade is the official park inside the area. Also, Toronto Sculpture Garden, Saint James Park, Moss Park, and Berczy Park are four lovely, mini-parks in the area.
Recreation Facilities in St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
Crombie Park has some outdoor recreation and sports facilities including a basketball court, wading pool, off-leash dog area, and playground equipment. St. Lawrence Community Recreation Centre is located just beside The Esplanade. This center has basic recreation and sports facilities: gym, swimming pool, and squash courts. You can also play the piano and games there.
Schools & Libraries in St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
Established in 1992, Market Lane Junior and Senior Public School is located at 85 Lower Jarvis Street. This school includes a recreation center and coordinates with St. Lawrence Community Centre to ensure implementing the city and board agreements. St. Michael Catholic School at 50 George Street, Jarvis Collegiate Institute at 495 Jarvis Street, and Inglenook Community School at 19 Sackville Street are other schools in the area. With 25,000 student enrollment each year, Geroge Brown College, St. James Campus, is a big part of the St. Lawrence community.
Branches of Toronto Public Library at 171 St Front East and Ontario Library Association at 50 Wellington St East are two major libraries in St. Lawrence neighbourhood.
Demography of St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
Proximity to the different neighborhoods (Financial District, Lake Ontario, Bayfront, and the Beaches, Distillery District and old Toronto, Farmer’s Market, etc.) has given St. Lawrence a mixed, multicultural, multifaceted identity. The area has a population of over 30,000 with more than half of them singles, a third of them are young couples and the remaining are families. The majority of the population reside in medium and high-rise modern condos, they are university or college graduates, and commute to the adjacent neighbourhoods for their professions.
The average household income in the St. Lawrence community is $116,000 and owners and renters are almost split into half and half (although, in recent years because of many mass residential developments, the share of renters has increased).
Read more: Toronto’s Distillery District Neighbourhood
Real Estate in St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
The St. Lawrence neighbourhood is a rapidly evolving area, condos are in high demand and real estate is a quite viable business there. Home prices in St. Lawrence is 20% higher than Toronto’s average house price. During the past decade, many condominium projects have been finished and many are under development at the moment.
London on the Esplanade
This amazing skyscraper is located at the corner of Scott St and the Esplanade. The residents can enjoy a rooftop swimming pool, yoga studio, fitness and spa, game and billiards rooms and an indoor theatre. London flats are super luxurious with wood flooring, baseboards, and tiled showers. Currently (mid-2020), the price of sale depending on the type and size is in the range of $490,000-$2,250,000. Rental prices are in the range of $1,600-$3,400.
L-Tower located at 8 The Esplanade, is another notable skyscraper in the area. It also has all modern condominiums facilities including a library, private cinema, spa, lounge, indoor pools and party rooms. At the moment, the suites sale price is in a range of $600,000-$2,500,000. Rental price is in a range of $2,000-$4,500.
75 the Esplanade
75 The Esplanade is another great condo in the area, currently under construction, this distinctive 29-story condominium is a perfect place to reside. Its exceptional transit score and many easy access routes (Union Station, 121 Fort York-Esplanade and 97 Yonge Buses and 503 Kingston Rd Streetcar), is going to make it a popular condo for young professionals. Especially for the close proximity to George Brown College, it is among the best places to rent for Georgebrown’s future students.
It is going to have state-of-the-art amenities including an outdoor pool, media lounge, a fully equipped gym, yoga studio, BBQ area and billiards room. At the moment, this complex is in the construction stage and the suites are fully sold-out. Prospective customers have to wait approximately until 2021 for resale or rent.
Backstage at 1 The Esplanade, St. Lawrence Condos (under construction) at 158 Front St East, Ivory tower at 400 Adelaide St East, and The Berczy at 55 Front Street East are other notable residential projects.
Read more: Toronto’s The Beaches Neighbourhood
Considering historic, urban, and residential aspects, St. Lawrence is an important neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. The area is heavily under development, real estate demand is on fire and its outlook is promising. Whether you decide to move to this area for living or buy a property as an investment, currently, your decision is just and on time.
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