Lawrence Park is one of Toronto, Ontario, Canada's most affluent residential neighbourhoods.
It is bordered originally by Yonge Street to the west and Bayview Avenue to the east — and from Blythwood Ravine on the south to Lawrence Avenue on the north. Lawrence Park was one of Toronto's first planned garden suburbs, starting in the early part of the 20th century It did not fully develop until after the Second World War.
Centred on Mount Pleasant Road, the neighbourhood grew slowly with medium-sized houses on narrow but deep lots. There are few commercial businesses, within a five minute walk. The closest grocery stores are close to Yonge and Lawrence. Toronto Transit Commission streetcars ran on Mount Pleasant and Yonge Street until they were replaced by the Yonge subway and buses in the 1970s.
Demographically, the neighbourhood still retains a large anglo-protestant population.
The assembly of Lawrence Park began in 1907 by the Dovercourt Land Building and Saving Company. They acquired the north parcel of the park from John Lawrence, after whom this neighbourhood is named. The president of the Dovercourt Land Company was Wilfred Servington Dinnick. It was under Dinnick’s direction that Lawrence Park was developed as a suburb for the “well to do”. The first advertisement for Lawrence Park trumpeted it as an “aristocratic neighbourhood”, “four hundred feet above Lake Ontario, and Far from the Lake Winds in Winter”. However, Lawrence Park’s development was sporadic. The building of houses was interrupted by two world wars, a recession and a depression. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that this neighbourhood was completed.
Lawrence Park is one of Toronto’s most exclusive residential neighbourhoods. It is located in a very peaceful and tranquil setting that includes gently rolling hills, several parks, a ravine, winding roads, many that don’t have sidewalks and a lush topography.
Lawrence Park’s shops, schools and recreational facilities are located on its periphery, which keeps traffic on the residential streets to a minimum.
The high profile shops and restaurants in the Yonge and Lawrence area, are well patronized by Lawrence Park residents. This shopping district includes fashion stores, children’s stores, sporting goods stores, gift shops, bakeries, gourmet dining, casual restaurants plus the ever popular coffee shops. Many of the residents belong to the prestigious Granite Club which has an abundance of sports and recreational activities, excellent dining and is conveniently located at Bayview and Lawrence.
Lawrence Park’s whimsical houses include a variety of architectural styles including English Cottage, Tudor Revival, Georgian and Colonial style designs. Most of these homes were built between 1910 and the late 1940’s. Lawrence Park is a good place to find a house that blends the old with the new. For the last few years parts of Lawrence Park have been redeveloped with magnificent new homes architecturally complimenting the old, including leaded glass windows, high ceilings and substantial wood mouldings along with rich hardwood floors. Timeless and elegant with all the amenities for the 21st century these magnificent homes now adorn the winding streets of Lawrence Park.
Most Lawrence Park residents are within walking distance of bus routes that run along Yonge Street, Mount Pleasant Road, Bayview Avenue and Lawrence Avenue. The Lawrence subway station, located at the intersection of Yonge and Lawrence, is part of Toronto’s main subway line.
Both Bayview and Yonge Street connect to Highway 401 within a five to ten minute drive from Lawrence Park.
The old city neighbourhood of Lytton Park occupies the western end of what is now called Lawrence Park South. Lytton Park is one of those enclaves that make Toronto a city of surprises. It fills a partly hidden valley around Strathallan Boulevard: its lawn bowling club and tennis courts provide the neighbourhood’s focus. The streets near the park are dominated by detached Georgian houses, mostly pre-1930, on generous-sized lots with wide-reaching trees that produce a wonderful overhang in summer and turn the streets into a northern fairyland in winter.
The eastern end of the district features portions of the old city neighbourhood of Lawrence Park. In 1907, Lawrence Park was subdivided as a high-class suburb, and its street names (Cheltenham, St. Ives, Buckingham) suggest the English character that the developers had in mind. Construction proceeded in fits and starts: most of the big old houses went up in the 1920s and ’30s, but the district wasn’t completed until the ’50s. Now it’s in motion again: it’s been invaded by a new generation seeking more space than their predecessors had. The result is a flurry of impressive change on what once seemed to be sleepy old streets.
The secret of the area’s appeal is its proximity to facilities that appeal to the Toronto elite. In the west are Havergal College, a private school for girls, and Lawrence Park Collegiate, one of the better public schools in the city; to the north is The Toronto French School; and Glendon College, the most elegant component of York University, is to the east. The Rosedale Golf Club and The Granite Club are also within reach, and Sherwood Park lies to the south.
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