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The Annex

The Annex

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The Annex is a neighbourhood in downtown
Downtown Toronto
Downtown Toronto is the central business district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is approximately bounded by Bloor Street to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, the Don River to the east, and Bathurst Street to the west...

 Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. The traditional boundaries of the neighbourhood are north to Dupont Street, south to Bloor Street
Bloor Street
Bloor Street is a major east–west residential and commercial thoroughfare in Toronto, in the Canadian province of Ontario. Bloor Street runs from the Prince Edward Viaduct westward into Mississauga, where it ends at Central Parkway. East of the viaduct, Danforth Avenue continues along the same...

, west to Bathurst Street
Bathurst Street (Toronto)
Bathurst Street is a main north-south thoroughfare in Toronto. It begins at the Lake Ontario shoreline and continues north to the Toronto boundary of Steeles Avenue...

 and east to Avenue Road. The City of Toronto recognizes a broader neighbourhood definition that includes the adjacent Seaton Village
Seaton Village
Seaton Village is a former unincorporated village located west of downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is named after John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836. Seaton Village is bordered by Bloor Street to the south, the train tracks to the north,...

 and Yorkville
Yorkville, Toronto
Yorkville is a district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, well known for its shopping. It is a former village, annexed by the City of Toronto. It is roughly bounded by Bloor Street to the south, Davenport Road to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west, and is considered part of...

 areas.

Bordering the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

, the Annex has long been a student quarter and is also home to many fraternity housing and members of the university's faculty. Predominantly English-speaking, it is an affluent neighbourhood with well-educated residents. According to the 2006 Canadian census, the neighbourhood has a permanent population of 15,602 with an average income of $63,636, significantly above the average income in the Toronto census metropolitan area. The Annex is in the political riding
Electoral district (Canada)
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

 of Trinity—Spadina
Trinity—Spadina
Trinity—Spadina is a federal electoral district in Ontario, Canada, that has been represented in the Canadian House of Commons since 1988.It generally encompasses the western portion of Downtown Toronto. In the 2001 Canadian census, the riding had 106,094 people, of whom 74,409 were eligible to...

, which is represented both provincially and federally by the New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

.

Character



The Annex is mainly residential, with tree-lined one-way streets lined with Victorian and Edwardian homes and mansions, most of them built between 1880 and the early 1900s. The 1950s and 1960s saw the replacement of some homes and mansions with mid-rise and a handful of high-rise apartment buildings in the International style
International style (architecture)
The International style is a major architectural style that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, the formative decades of Modern architecture. The term originated from the name of a book by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, The International Style...

. These were surrounded with landscaped green spaces in an attempt to better fit into the neighbourhood. Some of architect Uno Prii
Uno Prii
Uno Prii was an Estonian-born Canadian architect. He designed approximately 250 buildings, many in Toronto, but also around southern Ontario and the United States....

's most expressive, sculptural apartment buildings are located in the Annex. Because of its proximity to the university, the Annex has a high rate of seasonal tenant turnover, and its residents range from university students to older long-time residents.

The Annex is densely populated. If the rest of the geographical Toronto (the official City of Toronto, not including suburban municipalities) was built in a similar manner to the Annex, the entire population of the sprawling GTA
Greater Toronto Area
The Greater Toronto Area is the largest metropolitan area in Canada, with a 2006 census population of 5.5 million. The Greater Toronto Area is usually defined as the central city of Toronto, along with four regional municipalities surrounding it: Durham, Halton, Peel, and York...

 (approximately 6 million people) would fit in an area less than one-tenth the size that it does now.

The stretch of Bloor Street
Bloor Street
Bloor Street is a major east–west residential and commercial thoroughfare in Toronto, in the Canadian province of Ontario. Bloor Street runs from the Prince Edward Viaduct westward into Mississauga, where it ends at Central Parkway. East of the viaduct, Danforth Avenue continues along the same...

 between St. George and Bathurst is a vibrant social and mixed use area, offering to Toronto a wide range of services from upscale dining to discount retailers like Honest Ed's
Honest Ed's
Honest Ed's is a landmark discount store located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is named for its proprietor, Ed Mirvish, who opened the store in 1948 and oversaw its operations for almost sixty years, until his death in 2007.-Location:...

, in buildings which often include residential space in upper floors. Between Bathurst and Christie, street signs on that stretch of Bloor call it the Koreatown
Koreatown, Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada's Korean Business Area, known more generally as Koreatown , is composed of the retail businesses along Bloor Street between Christie and Bathurst Streets in the Seaton Village section of The Annex...

. During the 1950s and 1960s, an influx of Hungarian immigrants moved into the neighbourhood after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
1956 Hungarian Revolution
The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956....

 was suppressed, and many of the businesses and properties along Bloor are owned by Hungarian-Canadian families.

Annex style house



The Annex is home to many examples of a uniquely Torontontonian style of house that was popular among the city's elite in the late nineteenth century. Examples of this style survive in the former upper class areas along Jarvis and Sherbourne Street and also within the University of Toronto campus. Most of these buildings are found in the Annex, and the style is thus known as the 'Annex style house.'

The original conception is attributed to E.J. Lennox, the most prominent architect in late nineteenth century Toronto. His 1887 design for the home of contractor Lewis Lukes at 37 Madison Avenue introduced a design that would be imitated and modified for the next two decades. The Annex style house borrows elements from both the American Richardson Romanesque and the British Queen Anne Style. Annex style houses typically feature large rounded Romanesque arches along with Queen Anne style decorative items such as turrets. Attic
Attic
An attic is a space found directly below the pitched roof of a house or other building . Attic is generally the American/Canadian reference to it...

s are emphasized in the exterior architecture. The houses are most often made of brick, though some also incorporate Credit Valley Sandstone. Built for many of the city's wealthiest citizens the houses are also large. As the wealthy moved away from the neighbourhood, many of the houses were thus subdivided into apartments.

Seaton Village



Seaton Village or 'West Annex' is that part of the Annex west of Bathurst Street. Although the Koreatown
Koreatown, Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada's Korean Business Area, known more generally as Koreatown , is composed of the retail businesses along Bloor Street between Christie and Bathurst Streets in the Seaton Village section of The Annex...

 shopping district is at its southern border, it is sometimes referred to as the "West Annex". While Seaton Village shares several characteristics with The Annex (notably its architecture and its popularity with University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 students), it is generally quieter, more family-oriented, and with smaller, less expensive homes.

Vermont Square Park is near the centre of Seaton Village. The park has a playground, including a wading pool. St. Albans Boys and Girls club and the Bill Bolton hockey arena are also located in the park.

Clinton Street features a house almost totally covered with circular "woodcakes" cut from billiards cues.

Culture


The neighbourhood has a thriving cultural scene, with the Tranzac (Toronto Australia-New Zealand) Club, the Bathurst Street Theatre
Bathurst Street Theatre
The Bathurst Street Theatre is a theatre in Toronto, Ontario, that is housed in a former church. The Gothic revival building is located at 736 Bathurst Street at Lennox, one traffic light to the south of Bloor Street, Honest Ed's, the Bathurst Street Subway Station, and across Bathurst from...

, the Bloor Cinema
Bloor Cinema
The Bloor Cinema is an independent theatre in The Annex district of downtown Toronto, Canada, located at 506 Bloor Street West, near its intersection with Bathurst Street and the TTC's Bathurst station....

 (repertory cinema), the Jewish Community Centre, and, until recently, the now closed Poor Alex Theatre
Poor Alex Theatre
Poor Alex Theatre is a theatre company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.The Poor Alex was opened in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood in the 1970s in a property owned by Ed Mirvish and took its name as a parody of the Mirvish owned Royal Alexandra Theatre...

 at Bloor and Brunswick. Stores are open late and some restaurants are open well past midnight.

Much of the area's retail, restaurant and entertainment venues are aimed at the university student demographic - young, educated, telecommunications-connected, non-driving.

History


European settlement of this area began in the 1790s when surveyors laid out York Township. The area east of Brunswick Avenue became part of the village of Yorkville
Yorkville, Toronto
Yorkville is a district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, well known for its shopping. It is a former village, annexed by the City of Toronto. It is roughly bounded by Bloor Street to the south, Davenport Road to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west, and is considered part of...

, while the region west of Brunswick was part of Seaton Village. In 1883, Yorkville agreed to annexation with the City of Toronto. In 1886, Simeon Janes, a developer, created a subdivision which he called the Toronto Annex. The Annex area became part of Toronto in 1887 and Seaton Village joined Toronto in 1888.

First residents of the area included Timothy Eaton
Timothy Eaton
Timothy Eaton was a Canadian businessman who founded the Eaton's department store, one of the most important retail businesses in Canada's history.-Early life and family:...

, patriarch of the Eatons Department Store, and George Gooderham, president of Gooderham & Worts Distillery. The Annex's first Golden Era lasted until the early 1900s, when the upper classes began to migrate northward above the Davenport escarpment to newer more fashionable suburbs in Forest Hill
Forest Hill, Toronto
Forest Hill is an affluent neighbourhood in central Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Along with Lawrence Park, Rosedale, and The Bridle Path, it is one of Toronto’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.-History:...

 and Lawrence Park
Lawrence Park, Toronto
Lawrence Park is one of Toronto, Canada's most affluent residential neighbourhoods, along with Rosedale, the Bridle Path, and Forest Hill. It is also one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Canada....

.

In the 1960s, the proposed Spadina Expressway
Spadina Expressway
The Spadina Expressway was a proposed north-south freeway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was only partially built before being cancelled in 1971 due to public opposition. It was proposed in the mid-1960s as part of a network of freeways for Metropolitan Toronto. Its cancellation prompted the...

 would have divided the Annex in half. Annex area residents, along with other resident groups, successfully opposed its construction.

Notable residents



Admiral Road in the Annex is home to the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
Margaret Eleanor Atwood, is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist. She is among the most-honoured authors of fiction in recent history; she is a winner of the Arthur C...

, as well as former Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Clarkson
Adrienne Louise Clarkson is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 26th since Canadian Confederation....

 and her husband John Ralston Saul
John Ralston Saul
John Ralston Saul, CC is a Canadian author, essayist, and President of International PEN.As an essayist, Saul is particularly known for his commentaries on the nature of individualism, citizenship and the public good; the failures of manager-, or more precisely technocrat-, led societies; the...

. David Suzuki
David Suzuki
David Suzuki, CC, OBC is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist. Suzuki earned a Ph.D in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961, and was a professor in the genetics department of the University of British Columbia from 1963 until his retirement in 2001...

 lived on Bernard Avenue, two blocks away. Catherine O'Hara
Catherine O'Hara
Catherine Anne O'Hara is a Canadian-American actress and comedienne. She is well known for her comedy work on SCTV, and her roles in the films After Hours, Beetlejuice, Home Alone, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and also in the mockumentary films written and directed by Christopher Guest...

 lived in the Annex for several years. Explorer Norman Elder
Norman Elder
Norman Sam Elder , explorer, exotic animal owner, writer, artist, Olympic equestrian, was one of Toronto's eccentrics...

 owned 'The Norman Elder Museum' at 140 Bedford Road. The noted urban theorist and activist Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs, was an American-Canadian writer and activist with primary interest in communities and urban planning and decay. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities , a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States...

 lived at 69 Albany Avenue for the 37 years up to her death in April 2006. Members of the rock band Sloan
Sloan (band)
Sloan is a Toronto-based alternative rock quartet from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Throughout their 20-year tenure Sloan has released 10 LPs , two EPs, a live album, a "best of" collection and no less than thirty singles...

 also reside in the neighbourhood.

Seaton Village is the former home of Canadian poet
Canadian poetry
- Beginnings:The earliest works of poetry, mainly written by visitors, described the new territories in optimistic terms, mainly targeted at a European audience...

 and children's author Dennis Lee
Dennis Lee (author)
Dennis Beynon Lee, OC, MA is a Canadian poet, teacher, editor, and critic born in Toronto, Ontario. He is also a children's writer, well known for his book of children's rhymes, Alligator Pie.-Life:...

 and Oscar-winning (for Chicago
Chicago (2002 film)
Chicago is a 2002 musical film adapted from the satirical stage musical of the same name, exploring the themes of celebrity, scandal, and corruption in Jazz-age Chicago....

) sound engineer David Lee (no relation; now deceased). Canadian actress Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams
Rachel Anne McAdams is a Canadian actress. After graduating from a theatre program at York University, Toronto in 2001, she worked steadily as an actress until finding fame in 2004 with starring roles in teen comedy Mean Girls and romantic drama The Notebook...

 shares a house in the Annex with her brother. It is the current home of novelist
Canadian literature
Canadian literature is literature originating from Canada. Collectively it is often called CanLit. Some criticism of Canadian literature has focused on nationalistic and regional themes, although this is only a small portion of Canadian Literary criticism...

 and playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald
Ann-Marie MacDonald
Ann-Marie MacDonald is a Canadian playwright, novelist, actor and broadcast journalist who lives in Toronto, Ontario. The daughter of a member of Canada's military, she was born at an air force base near Baden-Baden, West Germany....

 and sociologist Barry Wellman
Barry Wellman
Barry Wellman, FRSC directs NetLab as the S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His areas of research are community sociology, the Internet, human-computer interaction and social structure, as manifested in social networks in communities and organizations...

.

Transportation


The Annex is well served by public transit, including the Toronto Transit Commission
Toronto Transit Commission
-Island Ferry:The ferry service to the Toronto Islands was operated by the TTC from 1927 until 1962, when it was transferred to the Metro Parks and Culture department. Since 1998, the ferry service is run by Toronto Parks and Recreation.-Gray Coach:...

 (TTC) subway stations: Bathurst
Bathurst (TTC)
Bathurst is a station on the Bloor–Danforth line of the subway system in Toronto, Canada. It is located at 565 Bloor Street West at Bathurst Street. It was opened in 1966...

, Bay
Bay (TTC)
Bay is a station on the Bloor–Danforth line of the subway system in Toronto, Canada. It is located at 64 Bloor Street West at Bay Street.One major amenity of this station is the Toronto Transit Commission's Lost articles office, where objects lost on TTC property are kept.-History:Bay Station was...

, Bloor-Yonge
Bloor-Yonge (TTC)
Bloor-Yonge is a station on the Yonge–University–Spadina and the Bloor–Danforth subway lines operated by the Toronto Transit Commission in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located at 733 Yonge Street at Bloor Street West/East...

, Christie
Christie (TTC)
Christie is a station on the Bloor–Danforth line of the subway system in Toronto, Canada. It is located at 726 Bloor Street West at Christie Street/Grace Street.-History:...

, Dupont
Dupont (TTC)
Dupont is a station on the Yonge–University–Spadina line of the subway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located on Spadina Road at 278 Dupont Street....

, St. George
St. George (TTC)
St. George is a station on the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth lines of the subway system in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located at 323 Bloor Street West at St. George Street. This is the second busiest station, after Bloor-Yonge Station, serving a combined total of approximately ...

 and Spadina
Spadina (TTC)
Spadina is a station on the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth lines of the subway system in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Out of all the interchange stations, this one is the least-used with approximately 47,570 people using both platforms each day...

. Streetcar services operate on Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue
Spadina Avenue
Spadina Avenue is one of the most prominent streets in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Running through the western section of downtown, the road has a very different character in different neighbourhoods....

. Bus service operates on Christie Street, Dupont Street, and Avenue Road.

External links