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Don Valley West

Ward 15

Kay Gardner Beltline Trail
From Yonge Street to Mt. Pleasant Road
Named after former Councillor, Kay Gardner, who was instrumental in its development, the Beltline Trail is built along part of the former Belt Line Railway, which was a commuter route to downtown Toronto originally constructed in the 1890s. Even after the Belt Line Railway went bankrupt, the rails were still used to service commercial businesses along Merton Avenue for decades after, and were also used to deliver Yonge Street subway cars in 1954. The land the trail is now situated on was then acquired by the City of Toronto in 1972 and eventually turned into the multi-use trail it is today.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery
375 Mt. Pleasant Road
Originally opened in 1876, Mount Pleasant Cemetery is one of the most historic cemeteries in Canada. Among the numerous prominent individuals buried here include Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s first female surgeon Jennie Smillie-Robinson, popular Métis artist Youngfox, and renowned pianist Glenn Gould. The cemetery maintains a vast tree collection, making it among the most significant arboretums in North America. It also contains the heritage designated Mount Plesant Mausoleum, which dates back to 1920 and has prominent Georgian architectural features.

Dominion Coal and Wood Mural
Mt. Pleasant Road and Kay Gardner Beltline Trail (southwest corner)
This mural on the base of Mount Pleasant Road overpass, along the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail, was painted by local students from nearby Greenwood School in 2014. The mural commemorates the history of the former Dominion Coal and Wood facility, which was located on Mount Pleasant Road from the late 1920s until it was demolished in 2001. A plaque up the stairs on Mount Pleasant Road provides information on the history of the company.

Mission Ground Parkette
399 Merton Street
This small parkette was once the site of the Merton Street Gospel Mission, which operated from 1890 to 1970. The Mission was founded by Dr. Emma L. Skinner Gordon, one of Canada’s first female doctors and instrumental in the founding of Women’s College Hospital. A historical plaque in the park commemorates the mission.

Oak Tree
366 Balliol Street (in front of the house)
This oak tree on Balliol Street is two centuries old and so large the sidewalk has to bend to get around it! It was almost removed in 2015 but members of the community rallied to save it, stating that it was an irreplaceable community landmark.

Regent Theatre
551 Mt. Pleasant Road
Originally known as the Belsize, this heritage designated theatre opened in 1927. It was designed by Murray Brown, who moved from Scotland to Toronto in 1914. The original building had an opulent facade, a lobby with decorative arches, and a classical auditorium with plaster trim and Venetian-style box seats. It became a stage theatre in 1953, but then reverted to a movie theatre in 1971. It underwent extensive renovations in 1988 and reopened as the Regent Theatre. The Regent is one of two heritage designated movie houses still remaining in this neighbourhood. The other is the Mt. Pleasant Theatre to the north at 675 Mount Pleasant Road, which dates to 1926.

Fake House on Millwood Road
640 Millwood Road
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. This building, which at first glance appears to be a residential home, is actually hiding a hydro substation that is designed to convert raw high voltage electricity to voltage that’s low enough to distribute. Built in the 1940s and designed in Cape Cod style to blend in with other residential buildings in the neighbourhood, this substation is one of 90 still scattered throughout Toronto. These “homes” are intended to make such buildings more acceptable to their residential neighbours, who otherwise may not be agreeable to having a substation so close.

1588 to 1594 Bayview Avenue
These heritage designated two-storey commercial buildings date to the late 1930s. They are considered to be representative examples of “Main Street Rows” identified by the two-storey size, the glazed commercial storefronts, and residential units on the upper floor. They also contain modest classical detailing with multiple brick band courses, which were typical of similar buildings dating back to the interwar era in this neighbourhood. Several other nearby buildings (also on the west side of Bayview Avenue) are considered heritage designated and represent the same style of building, including 1536-1542, 1566-1574, 1618, 1642, 1644, 1646, and 1650-1652.

Sherwood Park
190 Sherwood Avenue
Located in a valley , Sherwood Park is a picturesque wooded park that has two wading pools, great trails, public bathrooms, picnic tables, and a large playground. This park also offers a fenced, off-leash dog area.

129 Blythwood Road
*Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. This heritage designated home on Blythwood Road (with a barn in the backyard!) dates back to 1885 and was originally built by James Ramsay, who owned a carpentry company that built many prominent buildings in the area. Most notably, the home was occupied from 1966 to 1972 by Verna Patronella Johnston, an Ojibway author, mother, grandmother, and mentor. Johnston was particularly known for her work helping Indigenous youth adapt to urban life, and she housed many Indigenous students in this home while helping them transition to city life. During the time she lived in this home, Johnston wrote Tales of Nokomis, which featured stories of teachings by Nokomis (an Ojibway word meaning grandmother), that were passed down to her orally when she was young.

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Explore Don Valley West

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.

DON’T MISS
BigArtTO
November 11 – 14
6:30pm – 9:30pm
Leaside Memorial Gardens

Neighbourhood Stroll: Mount Pleasant East

This stroll features plenty of heritage sites such as Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the Regent Theatre, and 129 Blythwood Road. The stroll passes through some excellent greenspace like the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail and Sherwood Park, and includes interesting hidden gems such as a 200 year old oak tree and a hidden hydro substation. Plenty local businesses can be found along the way in The Uptown Yonge BIA.

Main Streets: Yonge Street, Mount Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue

Note: Some neighbourhood strolls may cross over into more than one ward.

  1. Kay Gardner Beltline Trail
    From Yonge Street to Mt. Pleasant Road
    Named after former Councillor, Kay Gardner, who was instrumental in its development, the Beltline Trail is built along part of the former Belt Line Railway, which was a commuter route to downtown Toronto originally constructed in the 1890s. Even after the Belt Line Railway went bankrupt, the rails were still used to service commercial businesses along Merton Avenue for decades after, and were also used to deliver Yonge Street subway cars in 1954. The land the trail is now situated on was then acquired by the City of Toronto in 1972 and eventually turned into the multi-use trail it is today.

  2. Mount Pleasant Cemetery
    375 Mt. Pleasant Road
    Originally opened in 1876, Mount Pleasant Cemetery is one of the most historic cemeteries in Canada. Among the numerous prominent individuals buried here include Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s first female surgeon Jennie Smillie-Robinson, popular Métis artist Youngfox, and renowned pianist Glenn Gould. The cemetery maintains a vast tree collection, making it among the most significant arboretums in North America. It also contains the heritage designated Mount Plesant Mausoleum, which dates back to 1920 and has prominent Georgian architectural features.

  3. Dominion Coal and Wood Mural
    Mt. Pleasant Road and Kay Gardner Beltline Trail (southwest corner)
    This mural on the base of Mount Pleasant Road overpass, along the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail, was painted by local students from nearby Greenwood School in 2014. The mural commemorates the history of the former Dominion Coal and Wood facility, which was located on Mount Pleasant Road from the late 1920s until it was demolished in 2001. A plaque up the stairs on Mount Pleasant Road provides information on the history of the company.

  4. Mission Ground Parkette
    399 Merton Street
    This small parkette was once the site of the Merton Street Gospel Mission, which operated from 1890 to 1970. The Mission was founded by Dr. Emma L. Skinner Gordon, one of Canada’s first female doctors and instrumental in the founding of Women’s College Hospital. A historical plaque in the park commemorates the mission.

  5. Oak Tree
    366 Balliol Street (in front of the house)
    This oak tree on Balliol Street is two centuries old and so large the sidewalk has to bend to get around it! It was almost removed in 2015 but members of the community rallied to save it, stating that it was an irreplaceable community landmark.

  6. Regent Theatre
    551 Mt. Pleasant Road
    Originally known as the Belsize, this heritage designated theatre opened in 1927. It was designed by Murray Brown, who moved from Scotland to Toronto in 1914. The original building had an opulent facade, a lobby with decorative arches, and a classical auditorium with plaster trim and Venetian-style box seats. It became a stage theatre in 1953, but then reverted to a movie theatre in 1971. It underwent extensive renovations in 1988 and reopened as the Regent Theatre. The Regent is one of two heritage designated movie houses still remaining in this neighbourhood. The other is the Mt. Pleasant Theatre to the north at 675 Mount Pleasant Road, which dates to 1926.

  7. Fake House on Millwood Road
    640 Millwood Road
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. This building, which at first glance appears to be a residential home, is actually hiding a hydro substation that is designed to convert raw high voltage electricity to voltage that’s low enough to distribute. Built in the 1940s and designed in Cape Cod style to blend in with other residential buildings in the neighbourhood, this substation is one of 90 still scattered throughout Toronto. These “homes” are intended to make such buildings more acceptable to their residential neighbours, who otherwise may not be agreeable to having a substation so close.

  8. 1588 to 1594 Bayview Avenue
    These heritage designated two-storey commercial buildings date to the late 1930s. They are considered to be representative examples of “Main Street Rows” identified by the two-storey size, the glazed commercial storefronts, and residential units on the upper floor. They also contain modest classical detailing with multiple brick band courses, which were typical of similar buildings dating back to the interwar era in this neighbourhood. Several other nearby buildings (also on the west side of Bayview Avenue) are considered heritage designated and represent the same style of building, including 1536-1542, 1566-1574, 1618, 1642, 1644, 1646, and 1650-1652.

  9. Sherwood Park
    190 Sherwood Avenue
    Located in a valley , Sherwood Park is a picturesque wooded park that has two wading pools, great trails, public bathrooms, picnic tables, and a large playground. This park also offers a fenced, off-leash dog area.

  10. 129 Blythwood Road
    *Note: Private property. Please observe the house from the street only. This heritage designated home on Blythwood Road (with a barn in the backyard!) dates back to 1885 and was originally built by James Ramsay, who owned a carpentry company that built many prominent buildings in the area. Most notably, the home was occupied from 1966 to 1972 by Verna Patronella Johnston, an Ojibway author, mother, grandmother, and mentor. Johnston was particularly known for her work helping Indigenous youth adapt to urban life, and she housed many Indigenous students in this home while helping them transition to city life. During the time she lived in this home, Johnston wrote Tales of Nokomis, which featured stories of teachings by Nokomis (an Ojibway word meaning grandmother), that were passed down to her orally when she was young.

Accessibility information: The Mission Ground Parkette and plaque, facade of the Regent Theatre, 640 Millwood Road Hydro Substation, 1588 to 1594 Bayview Avenue, and 129 Blythwood Road are all viewable from the street. The Kay Gardner Beltline Trail requires stairs to access from Yonge Street and Mt. Pleasant Road, though stairless access can be found nearby via Al Green Lane, beside 139 Merton Street, and beside 267 Merton Street. The Kay Gardner Beltline Trail is not paved. There are also stairs to get from the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail (and Dominion Coal and Wood Mural) to Mount Pleasant Road. Sherwood Park contains unpaved areas and stairs.