In 1907, Wilfrid Servington Dinnick, president of the Standard Loan Co. of Toronto, envisioned a new type of real estate development for Toronto’s expanding middle class: a garden suburb. He saw a residential community not for the wealthy few, but a place where "the man of moderate means can build his home amongst hundreds of others of like cultivated tastes." His board of directors agreed, and by 1910 the first homes in Lawrence Park had been designed and built.
Unlike the housing developments of today, Lawrence Park was built piecemeal. To ensure his Garden Suburb vision lost little in translation, Dinnick held gardening competitions to promote the new community. Trees and shrubs were made available at cost to homeowners, encouraging a higher standard of landscaping around each new house. In keeping with the vision, parkland separated Yonge Street from the first of the houses. Dinnick also mandated the houses have garages as he saw a future in which the automobile would be a part of the middle class lifestyle.
A typical Lawrence Park house could have been built anytime from 1910 to the 1950s. The generous (50’ x 150’) lot sizes have allowed some Buyers to tear down the original property and replace it with a modern structure. Still, most homes have their original facades, and retain their old-fashioned character. Current prices attest to the neighbourhood’s value. From January to May of 2015, the average house price was above $1.6 million, within a range of under $800,000 to over $4.5 million.
Lawrence Park is located east of Yonge Street and south of Lawrence Avenue East. It is bordered on the east by Bayview Avenue and on the south by the Blythwood Ravine and Sherwood Park. Motorists find Bayview Avenue to be an ideal route north to HWY 401, or south to Toronto’s downtown and financial district. The Lawrence subway station is located at Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue and is easily accessible.
Lawrence Park’s southern and western borders consist of parkland. The Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens, located at 2901 Yonge Street, provide an oasis of calm to the neighbourhood. In the summertime they are often used as the background for wedding pictures. Sherwood Park, at 190 Sherwood Avenue, has an off-leash dog area, a ball diamond, a splash pad and a wading pool. Tennis players will appreciate the proximity to the Lawrence Park Tennis Club, at 51 Alexander Muir Road. The club has been part of the community since 1912.
The two shopping areas close to the neighbourhood are at Yonge and Lawrence and Yonge and Eglinton. Between them, Yonge Street is bustling with specialty boutiques, sporting goods stores, restaurants and cafes.
From an out of town suburb, Lawrence Park has become an established neighbourhood, prized for its gracious atmosphere and solid housing stock. The former refuge from the city is now located within the city. Lawrence Park homeowners can enjoy the best of midtown and country life – truly a neighbourhood for those of cultivated taste.
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.