Everyone wants to know the answer to: “What’s The Best Neighbourhood In Toronto For Families.” It’s arguably one of the hottest topics in Toronto Real Estate for anyone thinking about having a family or who already has one. So let’s talk about it:
The bad news is there is no textbook answer to this question. Why? Because you and the family next to you are likely, totally different. What you want out of a ‘best neighbourhood for families in Toronto’ could be great walkability to parks and splash pads for your little one. It could be safety. It could be school ratings. It could be proximity to your work so you don’t have to commute as long to get home. It could be how close the ice cream shop and the baby store are or how many other strollers you see perusing around the neighbourhood.
Here’s what I can tell you. There’s more than one very fantastic neighbourhood for your family here in Toronto. That’s right. I said Toronto. The city. Not the suburbs. I’m a parent and damn straight my little boy is being raised here in the city. It’s, in my very strong opinion, a wonderful place to raise children. Didn’t you know? Love grows stronger in little houses than it does in huge, 8 bedroom sprawls. Children see their parents more when families live in the city because their parents aren’t commuting 2 hours to get home at the end of the work day. There’s more programs for children here and more for them to see. (My son for example is smitten with the streetcar and subway, something he wouldn’t have if we lived out in Whitby.) I’m pretty sure I’m not the only parent who loves that she can go to restaurants that aren’t boxed chain ones, but still cater to young children guests. Arguably relationships between parents flourish and don’t stagnate after kids too because mommy and daddy can still go out and cab it back for a reasonable dollar after a great night out.
Neighbourhoods, and in particular, Toronto’s neighbourhooods, have MUCH more of a community feel than the suburbs. Why you ask? Because houses are smaller on the norm in the city vs the suburbs, thus people need to get out. On any given weekend you’ll find full families taking in local shopping, buying local produce, and playing at the neighbourhood park. It won’t take long for you to recognize half the people you see on the street, and to run into new friends while just grabbing a morning coffee. People are embracing their neighbourhood and what it has to offer. People are looking for lifestyles, not just houses anymore. People are looking for neighbourhoods.
If you’re looking for the best neighbourhood in Toronto for families, you’ll definitely want to consider these:
- Leslieville – Leslieville is a great place for a young family to call home. The neighbourhood is hip and fun with plenty of great shops, stores, and parks to check out. Looking for some interesting stuff for baby? Check out Baby on the Hip. It’s much more than just a baby store, with clothing swaps and tons of great products, it’s become a sort-of neighbourhood hub for new parents. Want to grab a coffee or go out for brunch as a family? There’s tons of family-friendly (but still cool) coffee shops, and lots of fantastic brunch spots that are high energy enough that you wont feel like you’re spoiling everyone’s Sunday if baby does start crying a bit. And if you’re looking to grab something healthy to make for dinner, the streets are lined with fresh produce and butcher shops, and the Leslieville Farmer’s Market carries everything in-between. Sounds awesome right?
- The Junction – Living in the city but still want some of that small town charm? You should check out the Junction. The neighbourhood is super family friendly, and one walk down Dundas with the family in tow easily confirms that. There’s tons of great kid-focused shops and family-friendly places to grab a bite. And if you need some outdoor time, Toronto’s High Park is just a short walk away.
- Leaside – If you’re looking for the best neighbourhood in Toronto for families, Leaside is a top contender. It’s home to some of the city’s best schools and is truly walkable to some great local shopping and lovely green spaces. You should get a dog though. The picture of cute children walking down the street with a dog on the leash is pretty iconic on some of those tree-lined streets. In this city, Leaside is consistently known to be a highly respected neighbourhood that is a great for children to grow up in.
- Riverdale – Because I live in Riverdale, I’m a little bit biased as to why it’s the best neighbourhood in Toronto for families, but I love it here, and I think it’s one of the best. It’s walking distance to some really amazing parks, 3 of the most amazing elementary schools in Toronto and some great local shopping. Looking for a really friendly local butcher? Fresh cheese shops? Organic grocery stores? Riverdale delivers all of it and more… and chances are if you’re in one of those shops, you will see me.
- The Beaches – Miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches and boardwalks just a short walk from family friendly character homes. Sounds perfect right? The Beaches delivers all of it, no problem. The neighbourhood is home to some great playgrounds for the kids, super schools, fantastic yoga studios, organic grocery stores, kid-focused shops, and much more on nearby Queen Street East.