Westminster-Branson

Connaught Laboratories
1755 Steeles Avenue West
*Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the sidewalk only. Housed within this pharmaceutical firm's campus are several heritage buildings, many of which have connections to scientific discoveries from the early twentieth century. One of the most notable is the Barton Avenue Stable and Laboratory, the office of Dr. John G. FitzGerald. Originally built on Barton Avenue in 1913 (and relocated here in 1935), the laboratory was used to produce the antitoxin for diphtheria, one of the deadliest bacterial infections of its time. The University of Toronto expanded their Department of Hygiene's Antitoxin Laboratory to this space on Steeles Avenue in 1917. This new site was dedicated to the development of antitoxins, notably tetanus. Named for the then Governor General, the Connaught Antitoxin Laboratories and University Farm has now evolved into a modern facility, with these old buildings a reminder of past achievements.

Hidden Trail Park
506 Hidden Trail
A 1.2 hectare park near Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue West that features a ball diamond and a children's playground. The park overlooks the ravine of the Don River West branch.

Rockford Park
70 Rockford Road
This park features a ball hockey pad, an outdoor basketball court, a children's playground, and a sportspad arena.

Harryetta Gardens
170 Torresdale Avenue
Harryetta Gardens is a 1.9 hectare park near Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue West. It features a splash pad, bike trails, and a children's playground. It also has an open green space and a path that leads down to the Don River West branch and G. Ross Lord Park.

Antibes Community Centre
140 Antibes Drive
Antibes Community Centre is a fully accessible centre that offers a variety of free recreational programs for all ages. It has a ball hockey pad, a dance studio, a fitness and weight room, gymnasium, indoor pool, lounge, multipurpose rooms, an outdoor basketball court, outdoor table tennis, outdoor tennis court, playground, preschool, and a dedicated enhanced youth space called the Crib. The centre also serves as a host for many local community groups who use the facility to run their programs and events.

Robert Hicks Park
39 Robert Hicks Drive
This small park with a children's playground is named after a farmer and features a plaque for further information. The park was created in 1980 to commemorate Robert Franklin 'R.F.' Hicks - a key figure in the organization and development of the Township of North York. As a dairy farmer, Hicks established one of the first herds of Holstein cattle in York County and served on the boards of the Holstein-Friesian Association of Canada and the Toronto Milk Producers Association. In 1920, he joined other local farmers organizing to separate the northern and more rural section of York Township from the urbanized south. Their efforts were rewarded in June of 1922 when the Township of North York was officially incorporated. Hicks was elected to lead the new council as reeve and was re-elected several times before retiring from both politics and farming in 1926. Under his leadership, the North York Hydro Commission, a public health board, and a water supply system were established and the first municipal building was completed.

Andre Kan Artbox
620 Finch Avenue West
This 2015 artbox by Andre Kan features his signature building blocks converging and building upon each other.

Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre
580 Finch Avenue West
Formerly known as the North York Centennial Centre, this indoor ice rink was renamed in 2001 to honour hockey star Herb Carnegie. Born and raised in Toronto, Carnegie was one of the first Black hockey players to play in semi-professional leagues. Barred from playing in the National Hockey League due to racism, Carnegie was restricted to playing minor league hockey in Ontario and in Quebec's senior hockey leagues in the 1940s and 1950s. Carnegie founded the Future Aces Hockey School in 1955 for children ages 12 to 14 and provided bursaries for post-secondary education. Today, the sports facility named after him is a popular ice arena used by around 60,000 people annually for figure and pleasure skating as well as hockey programs. In the summer, the ice rink becomes an indoor dry pad for sports like ball hockey and lacrosse. There is also a public art piece outside the centre, a steel sculpture constructed in 1967 by Ron Baird titled 'Monument to the Second Century'.

Toronto Public Library - Centennial Branch
578 Finch Avenue West
The Centennial branch of the Toronto Public Library opened in 1966 and is on Finch Avenue West near Bathurst Street. Reflecting the neighbourhood's population, the library has a medium collection of Russian literary works and a small collection of French, Hebrew, Korean, Spanish, and Tagalog materials. It also has youth hub, a welcoming space for teenagers to go to after school and in the summer.

Natasha Kudashkina Artbox
Finch Avenue West and Red Robinway
Painted by Natasha Kudashkina in 2015, this artbox with a blue background depicts a vibrant and beautiful Russian doll.

Bathurst-Finch Unison Hub
540 Finch Avenue West
*Note: Please follow Toronto Public Health's guidelines for visiting community & allotment gardens. A joint effort by the Toronto District School Board and Unison Health, the land where the Bathurst-Finch Hub now sits was originally a parking lot. This building was purpose built in 2012 to provide employment services, legal aid, counselling and health & dental care to local residents. In addition, the Hub offers services in Russian, Farsi, Korean and Tagalog. The community gardens were built by the students at Northview Heights Secondary School, and are run by volunteers. The gardens can produce up to 3,500 pounds of food per season, with produce going to the local Harvest Food Bank or sold at the Hub's farmer's market to fund the gardens.

Northview Heights Secondary School Mural
550 Finch Avenue West
The Northview Heights Secondary School Mural was painted by youth from the North York Community House's VOICE program in 2014. The bright colours show how newcomer youth are empowered to redefine their surroundings, establish a space for themselves, and find a sense of identity in a foreign land. The mural is located at the parking lot behind the Bathurst-Finch Hub.

Aisha Ali Artbox
4854 Bathurst Street
This 2016 artbox by Aisha Ali is a colourful and cheeky depiction of life-sized birds dressed in elegant human clothing, such as a vest and a top hat.

Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre
4600 Bathurst Street
The Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre initially opened in 1985 as the Holocaust Centre of Toronto. It grew out of the commemorative activities of the Holocaust Remembrance Committee of the Toronto Jewish Congress. It was founded by Holocaust survivors as a place dedicated to sharing their stories with students and generating knowledge and understanding about the Holocaust, serving as a forum for dialogue about civil society for present and future generations. The 2,200 square foot centre includes a museum and a small film theatre and auditorium. It is housed in the Lipa Green Centre, which also houses other Jewish organizations including the Ontario Jewish Archives and the Jewish Information Service of Greater Toronto.

Explore Westminster-Branson

Now is the time for residents to experience all that tourists have been raving about for years. Discover shops, stops, places and spaces on city main streets. Stay curious, Toronto.

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Don't Miss

Artists from various disciplines present messages of hope and resilience throughout the city in the form of text-based visual art installations.
Mark Reinhart
Toronto Public Library: Downsview Branch
2793 Keele St, North York, ON M3M 2G3

Check out main street storefront art installations, in the neighbourhood or nearby, created by Local Arts Organizations and Business Improvement Areas across the City.

Painting Icon StrollTO Guided Walks:

On select weekend dates, join guided walks and discover the diverse histories and cultural significance behind neighbourhood landmarks and attractions.
Learn more and register.

We hope that you enjoyed exploring this Toronto neighbourhood and found many other points of interest along the way. While StrollTO highlights some of the 'hidden gems' in the neighbourhood, there may be others that could be included in a future edition. Would you like to share a point of interest that you discovered in the neighbourhood? Email us at [email protected].

Neighbourhood Stroll

Westminster-Branson is a neighbourhood in north Toronto. It is bordered by Steeles Avenue West in the north, Bathurst Street in the east, and a western border that follows the meandering course of the West Don River to the southeast, where it connects with Bathurst Street. Westminster-Branson has a large community of Russian and Ukrainian speakers, in addition to a host of others from diverse backgrounds. This stroll takes you through some of the neighbourhood's parks, hiking trails, public art pieces, attractions, and historical sites. Great local businesses can be found throughout the neighbourhood on Steeles Avenue West, Finch Avenue West, and Bathurst Street.

Main Streets: Steeles Avenue West, Bathurst Street, Finch Avenue West
  1. Connaught Laboratories
    1755 Steeles Avenue West
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the sidewalk only. Housed within this pharmaceutical firm's campus are several heritage buildings, many of which have connections to scientific discoveries from the early twentieth century. One of the most notable is the Barton Avenue Stable and Laboratory, the office of Dr. John G. FitzGerald. Originally built on Barton Avenue in 1913 (and relocated here in 1935), the laboratory was used to produce the antitoxin for diphtheria, one of the deadliest bacterial infections of its time. The University of Toronto expanded their Department of Hygiene's Antitoxin Laboratory to this space on Steeles Avenue in 1917. This new site was dedicated to the development of antitoxins, notably tetanus. Named for the then Governor General, the Connaught Antitoxin Laboratories and University Farm has now evolved into a modern facility, with these old buildings a reminder of past achievements.
  2. Hidden Trail Park
    506 Hidden Trail
    A 1.2 hectare park near Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue West that features a ball diamond and a children's playground. The park overlooks the ravine of the Don River West branch.
  3. Rockford Park
    70 Rockford Road
    This park features a ball hockey pad, an outdoor basketball court, a children's playground, and a sportspad arena.
  4. Harryetta Gardens
    170 Torresdale Avenue
    Harryetta Gardens is a 1.9 hectare park near Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue West. It features a splash pad, bike trails, and a children's playground. It also has an open green space and a path that leads down to the Don River West branch and G. Ross Lord Park.
  5. Antibes Community Centre
    140 Antibes Drive
    Antibes Community Centre is a fully accessible centre that offers a variety of free recreational programs for all ages. It has a ball hockey pad, a dance studio, a fitness and weight room, gymnasium, indoor pool, lounge, multipurpose rooms, an outdoor basketball court, outdoor table tennis, outdoor tennis court, playground, preschool, and a dedicated enhanced youth space called the Crib. The centre also serves as a host for many local community groups who use the facility to run their programs and events.
  6. Robert Hicks Park
    39 Robert Hicks Drive
    This small park with a children's playground is named after a farmer and features a plaque for further information. The park was created in 1980 to commemorate Robert Franklin 'R.F.' Hicks - a key figure in the organization and development of the Township of North York. As a dairy farmer, Hicks established one of the first herds of Holstein cattle in York County and served on the boards of the Holstein-Friesian Association of Canada and the Toronto Milk Producers Association. In 1920, he joined other local farmers organizing to separate the northern and more rural section of York Township from the urbanized south. Their efforts were rewarded in June of 1922 when the Township of North York was officially incorporated. Hicks was elected to lead the new council as reeve and was re-elected several times before retiring from both politics and farming in 1926. Under his leadership, the North York Hydro Commission, a public health board, and a water supply system were established and the first municipal building was completed.
  7. Andre Kan Artbox
    620 Finch Avenue West
    This 2015 artbox by Andre Kan features his signature building blocks converging and building upon each other.
  8. Herbert H. Carnegie Centennial Centre
    580 Finch Avenue West
    Formerly known as the North York Centennial Centre, this indoor ice rink was renamed in 2001 to honour hockey star Herb Carnegie. Born and raised in Toronto, Carnegie was one of the first Black hockey players to play in semi-professional leagues. Barred from playing in the National Hockey League due to racism, Carnegie was restricted to playing minor league hockey in Ontario and in Quebec's senior hockey leagues in the 1940s and 1950s. Carnegie founded the Future Aces Hockey School in 1955 for children ages 12 to 14 and provided bursaries for post-secondary education. Today, the sports facility named after him is a popular ice arena used by around 60,000 people annually for figure and pleasure skating as well as hockey programs. In the summer, the ice rink becomes an indoor dry pad for sports like ball hockey and lacrosse. There is also a public art piece outside the centre, a steel sculpture constructed in 1967 by Ron Baird titled 'Monument to the Second Century'.
  9. Toronto Public Library - Centennial Branch
    578 Finch Avenue West
    The Centennial branch of the Toronto Public Library opened in 1966 and is on Finch Avenue West near Bathurst Street. Reflecting the neighbourhood's population, the library has a medium collection of Russian literary works and a small collection of French, Hebrew, Korean, Spanish, and Tagalog materials. It also has youth hub, a welcoming space for teenagers to go to after school and in the summer.
  10. Natasha Kudashkina Artbox
    Finch Avenue West and Red Robinway
    Painted by Natasha Kudashkina in 2015, this artbox with a blue background depicts a vibrant and beautiful Russian doll.
  11. Bathurst-Finch Unison Hub
    540 Finch Avenue West
    *Note: Please follow Toronto Public Health's guidelines for visiting community & allotment gardens. A joint effort by the Toronto District School Board and Unison Health, the land where the Bathurst-Finch Hub now sits was originally a parking lot. This building was purpose built in 2012 to provide employment services, legal aid, counselling and health & dental care to local residents. In addition, the Hub offers services in Russian, Farsi, Korean and Tagalog. The community gardens were built by the students at Northview Heights Secondary School, and are run by volunteers. The gardens can produce up to 3,500 pounds of food per season, with produce going to the local Harvest Food Bank or sold at the Hub's farmer's market to fund the gardens.
  12. Northview Heights Secondary School Mural
    550 Finch Avenue West
    The Northview Heights Secondary School Mural was painted by youth from the North York Community House's VOICE program in 2014. The bright colours show how newcomer youth are empowered to redefine their surroundings, establish a space for themselves, and find a sense of identity in a foreign land. The mural is located at the parking lot behind the Bathurst-Finch Hub.
  13. Aisha Ali Artbox
    4854 Bathurst Street
    This 2016 artbox by Aisha Ali is a colourful and cheeky depiction of life-sized birds dressed in elegant human clothing, such as a vest and a top hat.
  14. Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre
    4600 Bathurst Street
    The Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre initially opened in 1985 as the Holocaust Centre of Toronto. It grew out of the commemorative activities of the Holocaust Remembrance Committee of the Toronto Jewish Congress. It was founded by Holocaust survivors as a place dedicated to sharing their stories with students and generating knowledge and understanding about the Holocaust, serving as a forum for dialogue about civil society for present and future generations. The 2,200 square foot centre includes a museum and a small film theatre and auditorium. It is housed in the Lipa Green Centre, which also houses other Jewish organizations including the Ontario Jewish Archives and the Jewish Information Service of Greater Toronto.

Accessibility information: All of the locations are visible from the sidewalk. Most of this walk takes place on streets and paved paths, however, there may be some unpaved paths and uneven surfaces in the parks. There may also be additional barriers, including but not limited to stairs, steep inclines, and narrow passageways, along or at other destinations.

Soundtracks of the City

From global superstars to local favourites and ones to watch, the Soundtracks of the City playlists all feature artists who have called Toronto home. Whether it’s a lyric about the neighborhood, an artist representing a cultural community, or a tie-in to the StrollTO itinerary itself, all the music reflects connections to an individual ward or the City as a whole.

Music was chosen based on an artist’s Spotify presence and each song’s broad appeal, as well as its associations with the cultures, languages and ethnicities that reflect Toronto’s neighborhoods and diverse music scene. Soundtracks of the City combines 425 songs that feature more than 500 different local artists or acts, showcasing songs in 23 different languages.