Willowdale East

Olive Square Park
5575 Yonge Street
Olive Square Park is one of the newer parks in the city. The green space is designed with an irrigated raised lawn area, bioswale to filter rainwater before it reaches the sewer system, and LED lighting throughout the park. While visiting the square, it is important to acknowledge the 10 people who lost their lives and 16 injured during the Yonge Street van attack between Finch and Sheppard Avenues on April 23, 2018. A temporary memorial was set up in this park shortly after the tragedy.

Cummer Burial Grounds
10 Church Avenue
Located by a busy street and a grocery store, this was the cemetery of the Willowdale United Church (previously Willowdale Episcopal Methodist Church), which was built in 1856. The church was sold in the 1950s and demolished in 1956. Many North York residents are buried here including Jacob Cummer along with other members of his family. Cummer was the founder of Willowdale, originally known as Kummer's Settlement. Cummer Avenue, north of Finch Avenue, is named after the family - the road originally led to Cummer Mill.

First North York Hydro Building
5151 Yonge Street
Constructed in 1929, this is the only surviving early twentieth century municipal building that exists in this area, though it has been repurposed for retail use. Prior to the formation of the North York Hydro-Electric Commission in 1923, a privately-owned radial railway company provided electrical power to the local residents. A second storey was added in 1948. A new hydro building opened in 1965, but this original building has remained.

Robert Sprachman 'Dance' Sculpture
5095 Yonge Street (in the median)
*Note: Please observe the sculpture from a distance as it is located on the boulevard, between lanes of traffic. 'Dance' consists of 14 larger-than-life silhouettes of ballet dancers and 124 small figures. It was created in 1998 by Toronto artist Robert Sprachman. The artist took inspiration from movement and human interaction on busy Yonge Street. The dancers represent people engaging with each other socially.

Elihu Pease House
20 Harrison Garden Boulevard
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. This house was built in 1834 and originally stood at 34 Avondale Avenue. Elihu Pease was a tanner who built a tannery on his property south of Sheppard Avenue. He was a son-in-law of Jacob Cummer, the founder of Willowdale.

Glendora Park
201 Glendora Avenue
A 3.5-hectare park near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue East that features two lit tennis courts, a splash pad and a children's playground. The park also has several open green spaces.

Jieun June Kim Artbox
98 Willowdale Avenue
From artist Jieun June Kim, 'The birds and trees in this design represent nature, and buildings represent us and the city. By putting them together I wanted to express that nature and man coexist and we are part of great nature.'

Aitak Sorahitalab Artbox
260 Willowdale Avenue
This design is reflected by the study of patterns and symbols in the art in Middle East from 1000 years ago, which you can see in architecture, rug patterns, on ceramic and pottery.

Mitchell Field Park & Community Centre
89 Church Avenue
This 1.5-hectare park south of Finch Avenue and two blocks east of Yonge Street has an open space for leisure activities. Adjacent to the park is the Mitchell Field Community Centre. Mitchell Field is a multi-use facility. It has an indoor arena and outdoor swimming pool. There is a full-size gym with bleachers. A teaching kitchen and three multipurpose rooms round out the facilities.

John McKenzie House
34 Parkview Avenue
Constructed in 1913, John McKenzie House was built on a plot of farmland purchased in 1884 by Philip McKenzie, an English immigrant trained as a carpenter. When Philip died, his son John took over the farm and specialized in Holstein cattle until the local farming economy began to deteriorate. In 1912, John submitted plans to have a subdivision built on the family farm, which stretched east from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue. Keeping a small portion, he built this home, as well as a stable, milk house, and coach house on the property. John McKenzie House was slated for demolition in 1992. The Ontario Historical Society stepped in to save and restore the buildings. The house is now their headquarters, and is open for visits by appointment. Adjacent to the home is the John McKenzie Parkette, where you can find artist Randy Berenicci's sculpture 'Empress Collonettes'.

Parkview Neighbourhood Gardens
44 Parkview Avenue
*Note: Please follow Toronto Public Health's guidelines for visiting community & allotment gardens. Parkview Neighbourhood Garden is a self-sufficient, volunteer-run community garden in the heart of Willowdale. The garden was first planted in 2008 by local residents.

Princess Park & Fire Hall Tower
214 Doris Avenue (behind Empress walk)
This tower was a part of North York's first fire hall that opened in 1942. The tower features a gabled roof, time clocks and a stone medallion. The medallion shows firefighting equipment with the inscription semper paratus (Latin for always ready). The fire hall was designed by Toronto architect Murray Brown in the Colonial Revival style. Other parts of the fire hall were demolished for redevelopment in 1989.

Lee Lifeson Art Park
45 Princess Avenue
Lee Lifeson Art Park is named after the two world famous Willowdale musicians, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of the rock band Rush. Geddy Lee was born in Willowdale and Alex Lifeson moved to Willowdale at the age of eight. Neil Peart joined the two childhood friends to form one of the most acclaimed rock trios. They have produced Gold and Platinum records and have received numerous awards including nine Juno awards and seven Grammy nominations. In 1996, Rush was the first rock band to receive the Order of Canada. Lee Lifeson Art Park offers opportunities to enjoy arts and creative activities by featuring open air performance space, room for arts installations, arts markets and arts programming including festivals, events and workshops.

Willowdale Park & Claude Watson School for the Arts
75 Hollywood Drive
Willowdale Park features a children's playground, splash pad, and gazebo. Paved walking trails extend from the park north and south through the neighbourhood. Looking across the street at Doris Avenue, you can see Claude Watson School for the Arts. The rebuild of the school won a 2007 Urban Design Award for the work by Kohn Shnier architects.

Mahjabeen Kabir Artbox
27 Kenneth Avenue
This eye-catching artbox was created by Mahjabeen Kabir in 2018.

Explore Willowdale East

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.

We want to hear from you! Click here to complete a short survey

Suppport small business owners by Shopping Small.

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.
Women Paint
Gibson House Museum
5172 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N 5P7

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

As you stroll through the Willowdale East neighbourhood, see the hustle and bustle of a vibrant main street, and the residential space behind it. Travel the world through the many restaurants and food shops along Yonge Street in the Willowdale BIA, and visit history, art and green spaces in your backyard.

Main Streets: Yonge Street, Sheppard Avenue East and Willowdale Avenue
  1. Olive Square Park
    5575 Yonge Street
    Olive Square Park is one of the newer parks in the city. The green space is designed with an irrigated raised lawn area, bioswale to filter rainwater before it reaches the sewer system, and LED lighting throughout the park. While visiting the square, it is important to acknowledge the 10 people who lost their lives and 16 injured during the Yonge Street van attack between Finch and Sheppard Avenues on April 23, 2018. A temporary memorial was set up in this park shortly after the tragedy.
  2. Cummer Burial Grounds
    10 Church Avenue
    Located by a busy street and a grocery store, this was the cemetery of the Willowdale United Church (previously Willowdale Episcopal Methodist Church), which was built in 1856. The church was sold in the 1950s and demolished in 1956. Many North York residents are buried here including Jacob Cummer along with other members of his family. Cummer was the founder of Willowdale, originally known as Kummer's Settlement. Cummer Avenue, north of Finch Avenue, is named after the family - the road originally led to Cummer Mill.
  3. First North York Hydro Building
    5151 Yonge Street
    Constructed in 1929, this is the only surviving early twentieth century municipal building that exists in this area, though it has been repurposed for retail use. Prior to the formation of the North York Hydro-Electric Commission in 1923, a privately-owned radial railway company provided electrical power to the local residents. A second storey was added in 1948. A new hydro building opened in 1965, but this original building has remained.
  4. Robert Sprachman 'Dance' Sculpture
    5095 Yonge Street (in the median)
    *Note: Please observe the sculpture from a distance as it is located on the boulevard, between lanes of traffic. 'Dance' consists of 14 larger-than-life silhouettes of ballet dancers and 124 small figures. It was created in 1998 by Toronto artist Robert Sprachman. The artist took inspiration from movement and human interaction on busy Yonge Street. The dancers represent people engaging with each other socially.
  5. Elihu Pease House
    20 Harrison Garden Boulevard
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. This house was built in 1834 and originally stood at 34 Avondale Avenue. Elihu Pease was a tanner who built a tannery on his property south of Sheppard Avenue. He was a son-in-law of Jacob Cummer, the founder of Willowdale.
  6. Glendora Park
    201 Glendora Avenue
    A 3.5-hectare park near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue East that features two lit tennis courts, a splash pad and a children's playground. The park also has several open green spaces.
  7. Jieun June Kim Artbox
    98 Willowdale Avenue
    From artist Jieun June Kim, 'The birds and trees in this design represent nature, and buildings represent us and the city. By putting them together I wanted to express that nature and man coexist and we are part of great nature.'
  8. Aitak Sorahitalab Artbox
    260 Willowdale Avenue
    This design is reflected by the study of patterns and symbols in the art in Middle East from 1000 years ago, which you can see in architecture, rug patterns, on ceramic and pottery.
  9. Mitchell Field Park & Community Centre
    89 Church Avenue
    This 1.5-hectare park south of Finch Avenue and two blocks east of Yonge Street has an open space for leisure activities. Adjacent to the park is the Mitchell Field Community Centre. Mitchell Field is a multi-use facility. It has an indoor arena and outdoor swimming pool. There is a full-size gym with bleachers. A teaching kitchen and three multipurpose rooms round out the facilities.
  10. John McKenzie House
    34 Parkview Avenue
    Constructed in 1913, John McKenzie House was built on a plot of farmland purchased in 1884 by Philip McKenzie, an English immigrant trained as a carpenter. When Philip died, his son John took over the farm and specialized in Holstein cattle until the local farming economy began to deteriorate. In 1912, John submitted plans to have a subdivision built on the family farm, which stretched east from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue. Keeping a small portion, he built this home, as well as a stable, milk house, and coach house on the property. John McKenzie House was slated for demolition in 1992. The Ontario Historical Society stepped in to save and restore the buildings. The house is now their headquarters, and is open for visits by appointment. Adjacent to the home is the John McKenzie Parkette, where you can find artist Randy Berenicci's sculpture 'Empress Collonettes'.
  11. Parkview Neighbourhood Gardens
    44 Parkview Avenue
    *Note: Please follow Toronto Public Health's guidelines for visiting community & allotment gardens. Parkview Neighbourhood Garden is a self-sufficient, volunteer-run community garden in the heart of Willowdale. The garden was first planted in 2008 by local residents.
  12. Princess Park & Fire Hall Tower
    214 Doris Avenue (behind Empress walk)
    This tower was a part of North York's first fire hall that opened in 1942. The tower features a gabled roof, time clocks and a stone medallion. The medallion shows firefighting equipment with the inscription semper paratus (Latin for always ready). The fire hall was designed by Toronto architect Murray Brown in the Colonial Revival style. Other parts of the fire hall were demolished for redevelopment in 1989.
  13. Lee Lifeson Art Park
    45 Princess Avenue
    Lee Lifeson Art Park is named after the two world famous Willowdale musicians, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of the rock band Rush. Geddy Lee was born in Willowdale and Alex Lifeson moved to Willowdale at the age of eight. Neil Peart joined the two childhood friends to form one of the most acclaimed rock trios. They have produced Gold and Platinum records and have received numerous awards including nine Juno awards and seven Grammy nominations. In 1996, Rush was the first rock band to receive the Order of Canada. Lee Lifeson Art Park offers opportunities to enjoy arts and creative activities by featuring open air performance space, room for arts installations, arts markets and arts programming including festivals, events and workshops.
  14. Willowdale Park & Claude Watson School for the Arts
    75 Hollywood Drive
    Willowdale Park features a children's playground, splash pad, and gazebo. Paved walking trails extend from the park north and south through the neighbourhood. Looking across the street at Doris Avenue, you can see Claude Watson School for the Arts. The rebuild of the school won a 2007 Urban Design Award for the work by Kohn Shnier architects.
  15. Mahjabeen Kabir Artbox
    27 Kenneth Avenue
    This eye-catching artbox was created by Mahjabeen Kabir in 2018.

Accessibility information: All points of interest are visible from the sidewalk or residential roads. Not all residential roads have sidewalks, but roads are paved and level. Note that some of the paths in parks may have inclines.

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.