Between Bathurst Street on the east, Dovercourt Road on the west, College Street to the north and the always-cool Queen Street West to the south, at the heart of this lively-yet-laid-back neighbourhood is the largest park in downtown Toronto. One of the most walkable neighbourhoods in Toronto, this downtown community offers a mix of red-brick Victorian homes, new-build townhomes, renovated lofts, and some of the best shopping and dining in the city.
But first – the park. Trinity Bellwoods Park, an almost-15-hectare green space, stretches from Dundas to Queen Street West. A favourite place to picnic and play in the summer, it’s also perfect for snowy walks and ice skating in winter. It was the site of the original Trinity College, built in 1852. When the large Gothic building was torn down in the 1950s the imposing gates at Queen Street and Strachan were left intact and still welcome visitors today.
On the west side of the park the recreation centre has two pools, a fitness centre and an indoor track. Near the rec centre, eight outdoor tennis courts, two volleyball courts, three ball diamonds, a playground and kids’ wading pool make one of the most well-loved parks in summer. Bring your pooch to meet new friends at The Dog Bowl, the off-leash area. Throughout the summer the park hosts bookfairs, art shows, outdoor movie nights, live music and random acts of drumming. From May to October, the volunteer-managed Farmers’ Market sets up every Tuesday at the northwest corner of the park. This year’s market season will be its fifteenth.
The park sits on top of a ravine where Garrison Creek once flowed. When the Bloor-Danforth subway was excavated in the 1960s, the ravine was levelled using fill from that project. The three-arch bridge that crossed the ravine at Crawford Street was also buried then. It’s still there, under the street, more or less intact. Visible from many spots throughout the park, the CN Tower is a reminder that the downtown core is nearby.
Shopping along Queen Street West includes the independent and community-minded Type Books, and an eclectic assortment of retail, most of which is still independently owned. From funky socks to Japanese pottery and modern furniture, this section of Queen Street offers one of the most delightful and rewarding shopping experiences in the city.
Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood includes an impressive variety of cafés and restaurants, from the gritty and unpretentious, to the trendy and upscale. Although a few are tucked away on quieter streets, the three main hotspots are along College Street, Ossington Avenue, and Queen Street West. College Street gems include the beloved Bar Isabel and the Barcelona-inspired tapas restaurant, Bar Raval. Café Diplomatico, a local favourite since it was established in 1968, is technically on the north side of College Street, but when it comes to good food and friendly hangouts, boundaries should be flexible.
Beside the park, on Queen Street, Nadège Patisserie quickly became a Toronto go-to when they opened in 2009. Other Queen Street favourites include Antikka Coffee and Records (and cocktails by night), Squirly’s restaurant, with their red velveteen outdoor patio sofas, and the original Terroni’s location, celebrating 30 years in 2022.
The café, bar and restaurant scene on lower Ossington Avenue now rivals some of the best and longest standing food establishments in the city. This lively, spilling-onto-the-street part of the neighbourhood draws residents from across the city to enjoy a variety of cuisine that includes Vietnamese, Italian, Greek … and sliced pizza. The multi-award-winning Bellwoods Brewery is a local favourite.
On the double-wide strip of Shaw Street, Artscape Youngplace is home to artists’ studios and the Koffler Centre for the Arts. This cultural community hub offers programming and rental space, and public areas to lounge and visit. An alley that runs from Queen Street West to Humbert Street, just west of Ossington, is one of the most colourful in the city since a community mural initiative 10 years ago encouraged local artists to paint the garage doors and fences here.
Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood has a number of good schools including Montessori and a French elementary school. The neighbourhood is well served by two main streetcar routes, including the recently upgraded section of Queen Street, and TTC buses that connect to the subway line. Billy Bishop International Airport, at the foot of the neighbourhood’s eastern boundary on Bathurst Street, is only a 10-minute drive or a convenient streetcar ride.
Trinity Bellwoods’ residents are five minutes from the Gardiner Expressway. Minutes from the entertainment district, Kensington Market, China Town, Little Italy and the downtown core, this lively-yet-laid-back neighbourhood is a magnet for young professionals and families, centred around a well-kept and welcoming historic park.