Yonge-St.Clair

Robertson Davies Park
275 Avenue Road
This park is named after celebrated Canadian author Robertson Davies who lived the last 15 years of his life in this area before passing away in 1995. Davies was born in Thamesville, Ontario in 1913 and attended school just up the road at Upper Canada College. He also studied at Queen's University and earned a degree from Balliol College in Oxford, England. Robertson Davies wrote over 30 books including 'Tempest-Tost', 'Fifth Business', many plays, lectures, speeches, and ghost stories. A plaque with more information can be found at the Avenue Road entrance to the park.

Oaklands
131 Farnham Avenue
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. At the top of the Avenue Road Hill is Oaklands, which was named for the abundance of oak trees on the property. The house was built in 1860 by John Macdonald, who owned the largest dry goods wholesale company in Canada. In 1863, John became a member of the Legislative Assembly, and was later appointed to the Senate by his friend (not relative) Prime Minister John A. Macdonald in 1880. Oaklands was later sold to Mary McCormick of Chicago, in 1906, and then underwent numerous additions including a bowling alley. The Christian Brothers, who ran De La Salle College, bought the property in 1931 and it opened as a school for 270 students at a tuition of $5 per month. De La Salle College 'Oaklands' is now a private co-educational school and the building is regarded as the best example of Gothic domestic architecture in the city.

Balmoral Apartments
150 Balmoral Avenue
*Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the sidewalk only. There's no denying that the Balmoral Apartments stand out, with its Tudor inspired style that feature medallions, carved angels and bay windows. The building was built in 1927-28, and designed by architects S.B. Coon & Son. The grandest feature of the building is its large arched entrance with pinnacles and a carved shield and name. The building has been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years, and is still used as apartment rentals. In the early 1900s, developers had to make extra effort in order to make apartment living more attractive to prospective tenants. This resulted in a collection of beautiful apartment buildings in this area.

How St. Clair Avenue Got Its Name
465 Avenue Road
Brothers Edwin and Albert Grainger (who rented a farm at Avenue Road and 3rd Concession Road) named their farm after Augustine St. Clare, a character in the famous novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. The novel was written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe, an abolitionist and at the forefront of women's rights, The book became popular, and fueled public debate around slavery as the American Civil War was about to break. The Grainger brothers adopted a misspelt version of the character's name and posted it on a sign outside the farm, near the road. Surveyors later took this as a street sign for 3rd Concession Road, and recorded it on their maps. Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site in Dresden, Ontario was the previous home of Josiah Henson who was an abolitionist and formerly enslaved person. Henson is said to be the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowes' main character.

Amsterdam Square and Fountain
Northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue West and Avenue Road
In the 1920s, successful realtor H.H. Williams donated the land for this park and the fountain in it. He travelled to Europe to find inspiration for the park's fountain. Deciding on a wall fountain near the Peace Palace in the Netherlands, Williams commissioned a replica of the fountain and unveiled it in Toronto on September 14, 1929. Though the park was established in the 1920s, the park didn't receive its name until 1974, when the Netherlands capital city, Amsterdam, and Toronto entered into a 'twin city' partnership.

George Howard Ferguson House
555 Avenue Road
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. This is the former home of George Howard Ferguson, who was Premier of Ontario from 1923 to 1930 and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1930 to 1935. The house was built in 1930. When Ferguson's wife passed away in 1959, the Toronto Public Library Board bought the house and turned it into the Music Library Branch. An auditorium (which was added to the south side of the house in 1967) can be seen from the sidewalk. When the Branch moved to the new Metropolitan Library in 1977, the house exchanged hands two more times before it was sold to its present owners - the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea - in the late 80s.

Imperial Oil Building
111 St Clair Avenue West
*Note: Portions of this building are private residences. Please observe those areas from a distance. Built in 1957, it was then considered a skyscraper, and was at the time heralded to be 'one of the most modern office buildings in North America'. The design was originally intended for New City Hall but City Council opted for a design from an international competition instead. The building featured an observation deck that was the highest in the city until the construction of the TD Centre. It also featured two murals by artist York Wilson called 'The Story of Oil'. Both were preserved from the original office lobby and are now found in the businesses at the base of the building. Since the building was constructed during the Cold War, it features thick walls, small windows, and large hallways and was relatively isolated from the city centre. Thanks to these features, city officials decided to use it as a hospital in the case of a nuclear attack. Imperial Oil moved its headquarters to Calgary in 2004, and the building has since been converted to condos.

Stephan Balkenhol 'Condo Man'
101 St. Clair Avenue West
This 25-foot sculpture of a man holding a condo building is by contemporary German artist Stephan Balkenhol. To create this piece, Balkenhol used a carving style that dates back to the Middle Ages, which involves chiseling and hacking figures out of single blocks of wood. Balkenhol then cast the figure in bronze and added a coat of paint, which is his own modern update to the historic style. He assembled the piece in Europe before shipping it to its current location. The piece was commissioned through the City's Percent for Public Art program which requires developers to allocate 1% of their construction costs to public art.

Glenn Gould Plaque
110 St. Clair Avenue West
*Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the sidewalk only. The penthouse suite in this building was the home of celebrated pianist Glenn Gould from 1962 until he passed away in 1982. He was a child prodigy who toured the world playing the piano from a very young age, until 1964 when he stopped performing concerts. He continued to record music and to train here in his home, playing on the same Chickering piano he had as a young boy. The superintendent of the building has worked here since 1973 and tells stories of the many encounters with Gould, including nightly visits to the roof of the building to listen to him play, under the stars.

PHLEGM Mural
1 St. Clair Avenue West
Created by internationally-acclaimed UK artist PHLEGM, this landmark 12-storey mural in the city's Yonge & St. Clair district raises the profile of Toronto's street art scene and enhances the vibrancy of a busy commercial strip.

Mary Elmsley and Agnes Heath
Northwest corner of Yonge Street and Heath Street West
The story of the 40 acres of land at the northwest corner of Yonge and St. Clair is unique. The property was purchased by women, long before the Married Women's Property Act of 1884. Until that Act, all land had to be in a man's name. The first record is of Mary Elmsley, who purchased these 40 acres in 1810. She was the widow of John Elmsley, a Chief Justice of the Province of Upper Canada (now called Ontario), and one of the most powerful men in the province before dying in 1805. It's believed that his reputation assisted Mary in the purchase. The second record was in 1837 by Agnes Heath, for whom the street is called. Heath was the widow of Charles Heath who had been an officer in the British Army in India. It is assumed that she used her husband's service to the British Empire to build up her own influence and purchase the property.

Edwin Alonzo Boyd Home
42 Heath Street West
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. Famous bank robber and leader of the Boyd Gang, Edwin Alonzo Boyd rented this home with his wife Doreen. Boyd and the other members of the Boyd Gang broke out of the Don Jail twice in the span of a year. One by one, gang members were found and returned to custody, culminating in the arrest of Edwin here in his home. On the night of March 15, 1952, police snuck into his bedroom where he was asleep. Police held him there for half an hour while they waited for then Mayor Allan Lamport, who wanted to be included in the photo-op as they exited the home. The gang's largest heist was a bank in Leaside, where they made off with $46,000, which is equal to $430,000 today.

Origin of Name 'Deer Park'
Southeast corner of Heath Street West and Deer Park Crescent
Long before settlers dubbed this area 'Deer Park' it was known as 'Mashquoteh' by the Ojibwe peoples. 'Mashquoteh' means 'a meadow or woodland where deer come to feed'. Years later when Agnes Heath bought land and built her home in this area, she gave her estate the name 'Deer Park' because of the herd of deer which roamed through the area.

Viviana Astudillo-Clavijo and Logan Miller Mural
Kay Gardiner Beltline Trail
One side of this mural depicts the history of the Beltline trail by incorporating historic elements, including a train, workers, and passengers, while the other side depicts the recreational uses of the trail today.

Explore Yonge-St.Clair

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
Spadina Museum
285 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2V5

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

Take a stroll through the Yonge-St.Clair neighbourhood to learn about how St. Clair got its name, and explore the local businesses, public art and architectural beauties that line the streets. The three BIAs that can be found in this neighbourhood - Yonge & St. Clair, Rosedale Main Street, and Dupont by the Castle - offer a fantastic selection of local businesses.

Main Streets: St. Clair Avenue West, Yonge Street
  1. Robertson Davies Park
    275 Avenue Road
    This park is named after celebrated Canadian author Robertson Davies who lived the last 15 years of his life in this area before passing away in 1995. Davies was born in Thamesville, Ontario in 1913 and attended school just up the road at Upper Canada College. He also studied at Queen's University and earned a degree from Balliol College in Oxford, England. Robertson Davies wrote over 30 books including 'Tempest-Tost', 'Fifth Business', many plays, lectures, speeches, and ghost stories. A plaque with more information can be found at the Avenue Road entrance to the park.
  2. Oaklands
    131 Farnham Avenue
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. At the top of the Avenue Road Hill is Oaklands, which was named for the abundance of oak trees on the property. The house was built in 1860 by John Macdonald, who owned the largest dry goods wholesale company in Canada. In 1863, John became a member of the Legislative Assembly, and was later appointed to the Senate by his friend (not relative) Prime Minister John A. Macdonald in 1880. Oaklands was later sold to Mary McCormick of Chicago, in 1906, and then underwent numerous additions including a bowling alley. The Christian Brothers, who ran De La Salle College, bought the property in 1931 and it opened as a school for 270 students at a tuition of $5 per month. De La Salle College 'Oaklands' is now a private co-educational school and the building is regarded as the best example of Gothic domestic architecture in the city.
  3. Balmoral Apartments
    150 Balmoral Avenue
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the sidewalk only. There's no denying that the Balmoral Apartments stand out, with its Tudor inspired style that feature medallions, carved angels and bay windows. The building was built in 1927-28, and designed by architects S.B. Coon & Son. The grandest feature of the building is its large arched entrance with pinnacles and a carved shield and name. The building has been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years, and is still used as apartment rentals. In the early 1900s, developers had to make extra effort in order to make apartment living more attractive to prospective tenants. This resulted in a collection of beautiful apartment buildings in this area.
  4. How St. Clair Avenue Got Its Name
    465 Avenue Road
    Brothers Edwin and Albert Grainger (who rented a farm at Avenue Road and 3rd Concession Road) named their farm after Augustine St. Clare, a character in the famous novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. The novel was written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe, an abolitionist and at the forefront of women's rights, The book became popular, and fueled public debate around slavery as the American Civil War was about to break. The Grainger brothers adopted a misspelt version of the character's name and posted it on a sign outside the farm, near the road. Surveyors later took this as a street sign for 3rd Concession Road, and recorded it on their maps. Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site in Dresden, Ontario was the previous home of Josiah Henson who was an abolitionist and formerly enslaved person. Henson is said to be the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowes' main character.
  5. Amsterdam Square and Fountain
    Northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue West and Avenue Road
    In the 1920s, successful realtor H.H. Williams donated the land for this park and the fountain in it. He travelled to Europe to find inspiration for the park's fountain. Deciding on a wall fountain near the Peace Palace in the Netherlands, Williams commissioned a replica of the fountain and unveiled it in Toronto on September 14, 1929. Though the park was established in the 1920s, the park didn't receive its name until 1974, when the Netherlands capital city, Amsterdam, and Toronto entered into a 'twin city' partnership.
  6. George Howard Ferguson House
    555 Avenue Road
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. This is the former home of George Howard Ferguson, who was Premier of Ontario from 1923 to 1930 and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1930 to 1935. The house was built in 1930. When Ferguson's wife passed away in 1959, the Toronto Public Library Board bought the house and turned it into the Music Library Branch. An auditorium (which was added to the south side of the house in 1967) can be seen from the sidewalk. When the Branch moved to the new Metropolitan Library in 1977, the house exchanged hands two more times before it was sold to its present owners - the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea - in the late 80s.
  7. Imperial Oil Building
    111 St Clair Avenue West
    *Note: Portions of this building are private residences. Please observe those areas from a distance. Built in 1957, it was then considered a skyscraper, and was at the time heralded to be 'one of the most modern office buildings in North America'. The design was originally intended for New City Hall but City Council opted for a design from an international competition instead. The building featured an observation deck that was the highest in the city until the construction of the TD Centre. It also featured two murals by artist York Wilson called 'The Story of Oil'. Both were preserved from the original office lobby and are now found in the businesses at the base of the building. Since the building was constructed during the Cold War, it features thick walls, small windows, and large hallways and was relatively isolated from the city centre. Thanks to these features, city officials decided to use it as a hospital in the case of a nuclear attack. Imperial Oil moved its headquarters to Calgary in 2004, and the building has since been converted to condos.
  8. Stephan Balkenhol 'Condo Man'
    101 St. Clair Avenue West
    This 25-foot sculpture of a man holding a condo building is by contemporary German artist Stephan Balkenhol. To create this piece, Balkenhol used a carving style that dates back to the Middle Ages, which involves chiseling and hacking figures out of single blocks of wood. Balkenhol then cast the figure in bronze and added a coat of paint, which is his own modern update to the historic style. He assembled the piece in Europe before shipping it to its current location. The piece was commissioned through the City's Percent for Public Art program which requires developers to allocate 1% of their construction costs to public art.
  9. Glenn Gould Plaque
    110 St. Clair Avenue West
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the building from the sidewalk only. The penthouse suite in this building was the home of celebrated pianist Glenn Gould from 1962 until he passed away in 1982. He was a child prodigy who toured the world playing the piano from a very young age, until 1964 when he stopped performing concerts. He continued to record music and to train here in his home, playing on the same Chickering piano he had as a young boy. The superintendent of the building has worked here since 1973 and tells stories of the many encounters with Gould, including nightly visits to the roof of the building to listen to him play, under the stars.
  10. PHLEGM Mural
    1 St. Clair Avenue West
    Created by internationally-acclaimed UK artist PHLEGM, this landmark 12-storey mural in the city's Yonge & St. Clair district raises the profile of Toronto's street art scene and enhances the vibrancy of a busy commercial strip.
  11. Mary Elmsley and Agnes Heath
    Northwest corner of Yonge Street and Heath Street West
    The story of the 40 acres of land at the northwest corner of Yonge and St. Clair is unique. The property was purchased by women, long before the Married Women's Property Act of 1884. Until that Act, all land had to be in a man's name. The first record is of Mary Elmsley, who purchased these 40 acres in 1810. She was the widow of John Elmsley, a Chief Justice of the Province of Upper Canada (now called Ontario), and one of the most powerful men in the province before dying in 1805. It's believed that his reputation assisted Mary in the purchase. The second record was in 1837 by Agnes Heath, for whom the street is called. Heath was the widow of Charles Heath who had been an officer in the British Army in India. It is assumed that she used her husband's service to the British Empire to build up her own influence and purchase the property.
  12. Edwin Alonzo Boyd Home
    42 Heath Street West
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the sidewalk only. Famous bank robber and leader of the Boyd Gang, Edwin Alonzo Boyd rented this home with his wife Doreen. Boyd and the other members of the Boyd Gang broke out of the Don Jail twice in the span of a year. One by one, gang members were found and returned to custody, culminating in the arrest of Edwin here in his home. On the night of March 15, 1952, police snuck into his bedroom where he was asleep. Police held him there for half an hour while they waited for then Mayor Allan Lamport, who wanted to be included in the photo-op as they exited the home. The gang's largest heist was a bank in Leaside, where they made off with $46,000, which is equal to $430,000 today.
  13. Origin of Name 'Deer Park'
    Southeast corner of Heath Street West and Deer Park Crescent
    Long before settlers dubbed this area 'Deer Park' it was known as 'Mashquoteh' by the Ojibwe peoples. 'Mashquoteh' means 'a meadow or woodland where deer come to feed'. Years later when Agnes Heath bought land and built her home in this area, she gave her estate the name 'Deer Park' because of the herd of deer which roamed through the area.
  14. Viviana Astudillo-Clavijo and Logan Miller Mural
    Kay Gardiner Beltline Trail
    One side of this mural depicts the history of the Beltline trail by incorporating historic elements, including a train, workers, and passengers, while the other side depicts the recreational uses of the trail today.

Accessibility information: All points of interest are viewable from either paved sidewalks or park trails.

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.