In 1837 the Heath family bought 40 acres of undeveloped land on the north west corner of Yonge Street and the Third Concession Road (know now as St. Clair Avenue West). They named their new property “Deer Park” after the tame deer that begged food from guests at nearby hotels.
Initially, the area around Deer Park was developed by wealthy Torontonians who built country retreats on large parcels of land. As the city grew and land became more valuable, these properties were subdivided into small lots. Deer Park became one of Toronto’s first subdivisions. The original estates are now remembered in the street names: Woodlawn, Summerhill, Rathnelly, Oaklands, and Deer Park.
Deer Park became part of the City of Toronto in 1908, and was an established neighbourhood by the 1930’s. In 1954, the Yonge subway line opened for business and one of the original stops was the station at the corner of Yonge and St. Clair. Today, Deer Park is a unique mix of retail, office, and residential space that borders 37 acres of ravine land. The boundaries are Farnham Avenue (south); Avenue Road and Oriole Parkway (west); David Balfour Park (east) and The Belt Line Trail (north).
Deer Park is well served by public transit. In addition to the St. Clair subway station (which connects to the Yonge-University line), there is the 512 streetcar and a variety of bus lines providing east-west service. Drivers can access the downtown and HWY 401 via Yonge Street or Avenue Road.
A typical Deer Park property is a 2 or 3-storey detached brick house set on a 20’ x 100’ lot. The high demand for this location is driving in-fill development. Over time, many of the original houses will be replaced with new construction, but for now most of the original housing stock built between 60 and 100 years ago remains. Their historic facades and the mature trees that line the streets contribute to the neighbourhood’s charm. In the first three quarters of 2015, the average price of a detached or semi-detached house was just under $2 million.
Deer Park’s first apartment houses were built on St. Clair Avenue before World War One. Since then there has been much development. Today there are condominium apartments for sale as well as an established supply of apartments to rent. The Art Deco-styled Fleetwood at 64 St. Clair Avenue West stands out as perhaps the most easily remembered rental building. The best known new project is the conversion of the Imperial Oil building at 111 St. Clair Avenue West into condominium apartments. In January - September of 2015, local condo prices averaged at over $700,000.
Deer Park’s premier green space is Rosehill Reservoir Park, located at the foot of Jackes Avenue. It has a children’s playground, a public garden, and a fountain featuring a sculpture of a water molecule. It joins David A. Balfour Park, which connects to the Belt Line Nature Trail. This ravine system is enjoyed by joggers and nature lovers throughout the year. Nearby Sir Winston Churchill Park Tennis Club, at St. Clair Avenue West and Spadina Road, offers outdoor tennis to members and the public. The Badminton and Racquet Club is a private club specializing in racquet sports. It is located at 25 St. Clair Avenue West.
Deer Park shopping is concentrated in three areas: The Yonge and St. Clair Centre, on the north east corner of Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue, Delisle Court, at 1560 Yonge Street, and the Towne Mall, located at 77 St. Clair Avenue E. Numerous restaurants and specialty shops line Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue, and the streets bloom with sidewalk cafes in the summer. The Deer Park Library, at 40 St. Clair Avenue E., has welcomed readers since 1952.
From a rural retreat for the few, Deer Park has evolved into a destination for many Torontonians. Each day, thousands of people fill the office towers of Yonge and St. Clair. After business hours, workers and residents alike patronize the local shops and restaurants. The combination of rental properties, condominiums and single family homes ensures a lively urban mix. Its access to schools, ravines and parkland makes it attractive to families. Factor in an unbeatable location and you have the ‘Old School’ neighbourhood refreshed and invigorated!
The Toronto neighbourhood map displayed on this website was published in “Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods”, is copyright Maple Tree Publishing and has been reproduced by the Toronto Real Estate Board under license.