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Toronto St. Pauls

Ward 12

Paula Gonzalez-Ossa (Bomba) Mural
145 Hilton Avenue
In partnership with the Native Men’s Residence, the murals on all sides of the field house in Wells Hill Park illustrate the four seasons of life (childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elder) and identifies the park as a First Nations-friendly space, where residents and all community members can come to nature.

Nordheimer Ravine
326 Spadina Road
Historically, Nordheimer Ravine was the home of Castlefrank Brook, which ran southeast, down through Rosedale Valley and eventually into the Don River. In the mid-1970s the stream was buried when the Spadina subway line was built. Even though the original creek now flows inside a storm sewer there are still many places along the valley slope where ground water seepage causes wet pockets to appear at the surface. This feature is one of the reasons why Nordheimer Ravine has been the focus of several ecological restoration projects.

Hidden St. Clair Station
Within the northwest corner of Nordheimer Ravine
Note: This station entrance is not accessible to the public. Please observe from the trail. This entrance to St. Clair West lies in Nordheimer Ravine and remains hidden to most. It was in operation until the 70s when it was closed to the public for lack of use and concerns around safety. It now functions as an emergency exit.

The mural beside the former entrance is created by lead artist Paula Gonzalez-Ossa and Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) and located in an Indigenous Peoples gathering place this mural depicts the trees and plants that supported life in the area 150+ years ago and reminds us to respect and honour nature.

Casa Loma
1 Austin Terrace
Wealthy businessman Sir Henry Mill Pellatt constructed Casa Loma as his dream home in the 1910s. Designed by famed Toronto architect EJ Lennox (who also designed other well-known landmarks such as Old City Hall), construction took over three years and cost over $3.5 million. Its design was intended to pay homage to the medieval castles of Europe, and among its 98 rooms included a 10,000 book library, 3 indoor bowling alleys, a soaring great hall with chandeliers and sculpted figures, and 30 bathrooms. Today, Casa Loma remains one of the few true castles in North America. It is also a prominent filming location, with many high-profile productions shooting here including X-Men, Chicago, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Spadina Museum
285 Spadina Road
Spadina Museum offers a glimpse of Toronto during the 1900-1930 period through the lens of the Austin family. The museum highlights the effects of transformative events on the Austins such as the First World War, the Great Depression and societal changes in Canada. Spadina Museum opened in 1984 and completed an extensive interior restoration in 2010. Spadina’s artifacts feature the family’s contributions to the financial, business and cultural development of Toronto through an intact collection and archival holdings, music, art and decorative arts.

Baldwin Steps
Davenport Road and Spadina Road
The Baldwin Steps is a large public staircase named after the Baldwin family, who owned and developed much of the land around this site. The steps traverse among the steepest sections of what was the shoreline of the ancient Lake Iroquois, which runs across a large swathe of Toronto today. When Spadina Road was initially laid out, the slope here was too steep to build on, necessitating the construction of a wooden staircase. The wooden staircase was replaced with a more permanent structure in 1913. The staircase was almost demolished to make way for the planned Spadina Expressway before the project was cancelled. The staircase was then leased to the City of Toronto in 1984, and was rebuilt three years later with railings and larger landings. The staircase offers spectacular views of the skyline and was prominently featured in both the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels and the film adaptation, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Ishpadinaa and Gete-Onigaming
Davenport Road and Spadina Road
Look up at the intersection of Spadina and Davenport Roads and you’ll see that the street signs here have been updated to reflect Anishinaabemowin language. “Ishpadinaa” is the word on which “Spadina” was based and it means “a place on a hill”. “Gete-Onigaming” means old portage trail. These two signs uncover the important Indigenous history of this location. Just north of the signs, The Baldwin steps traverse among the steepest sections of the shoreline of ancient Lake Iroquois. Davenport Road, which runs along this shoreline, was an important Indigenous trail that linked settlements with hunting and fishing grounds and tied this region to the upper Great Lakes, the Atlantic coast, and the Midwest. These street signs were a joint effort between the City of Toronto, Dupont By the Castle BIA and the Ogimaa Mikana project, which launched in 2013 to reclaim public space through replacing street signs with Anishinaabemowin place names to streets and trails throughout the city.

City of Toronto Archives
255 Spadina Rd.
At the City of Toronto Archives, you’ll find historical municipal records, maps, plans and over 1.25 million photographs of people, families, organizations and businesses. The Archives are currently closed to the public but many of their services are available online. An historical plaque can also be found onsite along the outer wall of the building.

Poplar Plains Road & The Republic of Rathnelly
Area bounded by Poplar Plains Road, Poplar Plains Crescent, Avenue Road and train tracks
Many of the street signs in this area are labelled “Republic of Rathnelly” making reference to when the neighbourhood declared itself an independent republic on July 1, 1967. Largely a lighthearted affair, the secession included organizing the Republic of Rathnelly Irregulars (consisting of uniformed local schoolchildren) to patrol the neighbourhood, and assembling a space rocket fleet made out of cardboard on a resident’s front lawn. After closing off some local streets and throwing a large street party, Rathnelly officially rejoined the city and country after visits from Mayor William Dennison and Metro Controller Margaret Campbell. The community spirit seen in this event was also apparent with the forming the Rathnelly Area Residents’ Association (which was heavily involved in the fight against the Spadina and Crosstown Expressway projects), which would have torn apart the neighbourhood. To commemorate this history, the City of Toronto installed specialized street signs, which bore the Republic of Rathnelly name and its coat of arms. Rathnelly is also home to Poplar Plains Road, which in 1978 became home to Toronto’s very first bike lane.

Sir Winston Churchill Park
301 St. Clair Avenue West
An 8.6-hectare park on St. Clair Avenue West at Spadina Road. This park connects to the Nordheimer Ravine and features ten lit outdoor tennis courts, a children’s playground, and fantastic views of the city.

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Explore Toronto St. Pauls

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
October 28 – 31
7pm – 10pm
George Brown Casa Loma

Neighbourhood Stroll: Casa Loma

The Casa Loma neighbourhood is overflowing with history, hidden in its painted murals, green spaces and great views. Dupont By the Castle BIA also offers a great mix of local shops and restaurants.

Main Streets: Dupont Street, Davenport Road and Spadina Road.

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

  1. Paula Gonzalez-Ossa (Bomba) Mural
    145 Hilton Avenue
    In partnership with the Native Men’s Residence, the murals on all sides of the field house in Wells Hill Park illustrate the four seasons of life (childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elder) and identifies the park as a First Nations-friendly space, where residents and all community members can come to nature.

  2. Nordheimer Ravine
    326 Spadina Road
    Historically, Nordheimer Ravine was the home of Castlefrank Brook, which ran southeast, down through Rosedale Valley and eventually into the Don River. In the mid-1970s the stream was buried when the Spadina subway line was built. Even though the original creek now flows inside a storm sewer there are still many places along the valley slope where ground water seepage causes wet pockets to appear at the surface. This feature is one of the reasons why Nordheimer Ravine has been the focus of several ecological restoration projects.

  3. Hidden St. Clair Station
    Within the northwest corner of Nordheimer Ravine
    Note: This station entrance is not accessible to the public. Please observe from the trail. This entrance to St. Clair West lies in Nordheimer Ravine and remains hidden to most. It was in operation until the 70s when it was closed to the public for lack of use and concerns around safety. It now functions as an emergency exit.

    The mural beside the former entrance is created by lead artist Paula Gonzalez-Ossa and Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) and located in an Indigenous Peoples gathering place this mural depicts the trees and plants that supported life in the area 150+ years ago and reminds us to respect and honour nature.

  4. Casa Loma
    1 Austin Terrace
    Wealthy businessman Sir Henry Mill Pellatt constructed Casa Loma as his dream home in the 1910s. Designed by famed Toronto architect EJ Lennox (who also designed other well-known landmarks such as Old City Hall), construction took over three years and cost over $3.5 million. Its design was intended to pay homage to the medieval castles of Europe, and among its 98 rooms included a 10,000 book library, 3 indoor bowling alleys, a soaring great hall with chandeliers and sculpted figures, and 30 bathrooms. Today, Casa Loma remains one of the few true castles in North America. It is also a prominent filming location, with many high-profile productions shooting here including X-Men, Chicago, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

  5. Spadina Museum
    285 Spadina Road
    Spadina Museum offers a glimpse of Toronto during the 1900-1930 period through the lens of the Austin family. The museum highlights the effects of transformative events on the Austins such as the First World War, the Great Depression and societal changes in Canada. Spadina Museum opened in 1984 and completed an extensive interior restoration in 2010. Spadina’s artifacts feature the family’s contributions to the financial, business and cultural development of Toronto through an intact collection and archival holdings, music, art and decorative arts.

  6. Baldwin Steps
    Davenport Road and Spadina Road
    The Baldwin Steps is a large public staircase named after the Baldwin family, who owned and developed much of the land around this site. The steps traverse among the steepest sections of what was the shoreline of the ancient Lake Iroquois, which runs across a large swathe of Toronto today. When Spadina Road was initially laid out, the slope here was too steep to build on, necessitating the construction of a wooden staircase. The wooden staircase was replaced with a more permanent structure in 1913. The staircase was almost demolished to make way for the planned Spadina Expressway before the project was cancelled. The staircase was then leased to the City of Toronto in 1984, and was rebuilt three years later with railings and larger landings. The staircase offers spectacular views of the skyline and was prominently featured in both the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels and the film adaptation, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

  7. Ishpadinaa and Gete-Onigaming
    Davenport Road and Spadina Road
    Look up at the intersection of Spadina and Davenport Roads and you’ll see that the street signs here have been updated to reflect Anishinaabemowin language. “Ishpadinaa” is the word on which “Spadina” was based and it means “a place on a hill”. “Gete-Onigaming” means old portage trail. These two signs uncover the important Indigenous history of this location. Just north of the signs, The Baldwin steps traverse among the steepest sections of the shoreline of ancient Lake Iroquois. Davenport Road, which runs along this shoreline, was an important Indigenous trail that linked settlements with hunting and fishing grounds and tied this region to the upper Great Lakes, the Atlantic coast, and the Midwest. These street signs were a joint effort between the City of Toronto, Dupont By the Castle BIA and the Ogimaa Mikana project, which launched in 2013 to reclaim public space through replacing street signs with Anishinaabemowin place names to streets and trails throughout the city.

  8. City of Toronto Archives
    255 Spadina Rd.
    At the City of Toronto Archives, you’ll find historical municipal records, maps, plans and over 1.25 million photographs of people, families, organizations and businesses. The Archives are currently closed to the public but many of their services are available online. An historical plaque can also be found onsite along the outer wall of the building.

  9. Poplar Plains Road & The Republic of Rathnelly
    Area bounded by Poplar Plains Road, Poplar Plains Crescent, Avenue Road and train tracks
    Many of the street signs in this area are labelled “Republic of Rathnelly” making reference to when the neighbourhood declared itself an independent republic on July 1, 1967. Largely a lighthearted affair, the secession included organizing the Republic of Rathnelly Irregulars (consisting of uniformed local schoolchildren) to patrol the neighbourhood, and assembling a space rocket fleet made out of cardboard on a resident’s front lawn. After closing off some local streets and throwing a large street party, Rathnelly officially rejoined the city and country after visits from Mayor William Dennison and Metro Controller Margaret Campbell. The community spirit seen in this event was also apparent with the forming the Rathnelly Area Residents’ Association (which was heavily involved in the fight against the Spadina and Crosstown Expressway projects), which would have torn apart the neighbourhood. To commemorate this history, the City of Toronto installed specialized street signs, which bore the Republic of Rathnelly name and its coat of arms. Rathnelly is also home to Poplar Plains Road, which in 1978 became home to Toronto’s very first bike lane.

  10. Sir Winston Churchill Park
    301 St. Clair Avenue West
    An 8.6-hectare park on St. Clair Avenue West at Spadina Road. This park connects to the Nordheimer Ravine and features ten lit outdoor tennis courts, a children’s playground, and fantastic views of the city.

Accessibility info: All points of interest are viewable from the street except for the Nordheimer Ravine and Hidden St. Clair Station (located within the ravine). The most accessible entrance to Nordheimer Ravine is located within Roycroft Park at 150 Boulton Drive. Sir Winston Churchill Park has stone pathways. Please also note the steep incline north of Davenport Road.