Queen Street West

Apparently, the second coolest 'hood in the world

Toronto Neighbourhood Guide
Queen Street West

As it slices its way through Toronto's coolest 'hoods, Queen West got a name as a neighbourhood on its own, to the point that Vogue magazine called it the second coolest 'hood on the globe, after one in Tokyo (surprise, surprise). The whole area west of Yonge, running along Queen, gets the name Queen Street West, and it steals the show as it cuts through a half-dozen neighbourhoods before transforming into the Queensway. With art galleries, independent boutique shops, Graffiti Alley, patisseries, fabulous eateries, patios, film production studios and other general awesomeness, it's clear why outsiders have taken note of this insanely eclectic and hip stretch of businesses and apartments in TO. On the other hand, there are locals who criticize Queen West for being a commercial district that's just trying too hard and lost its charm along the way. But more likely than not, those critics have spent a night or two soaking up the best Queen West has to offer, reluctantly or not.

Who Lives Here

The locals living in the central portion of Queen Street West, which forms the northern boundary of the Financial District, have a much different look than those of, say, Corktown, Little Portugal or Chinatown. It's a long street and changes many times along the way. That more central bit is home to suits with big money and big dreams, living in high-rise condos with panoramic views and luxurious furnishings. Meanwhile on either end, the landscape has a bit less glimmer and sheen, tending toward a trendier, hipster crowd in the east and west.

Perfect for…

Toronto's trendiest and coolest, as long as you've got cash. Rentals along Queen Street West are some of the most expensive in the whole city.

Not-so-perfect for…

Anyone who doesn't want to live in a condo or apartment. Good luck finding a house here. Budget-conscious renters can look elsewhere, and people who might enjoy a bit of peace and quiet should also move on. Queen Street West is entertainment central.

Life and Style

Truly, the style along Queen Street West varies pretty heavily from end to end, but with limitless options for places to hang out, you can bet that either strolling or hoofing it along the street is a major pastime for everyone who works and lives on Queen Street West. Toronto's hippest residents spend their time here, pondering provocative art, philosophizing over artisan coffees, talking business with vintage cocktails in hand, or ducking in and out of the coolest local designer boutique shops selling clothes, footwear, handbags, furniture and accessories. There's yoga, bike shops, tailors, bookstores, gyms, spas, markets and really anything else you can imagine.

Housing Market

Small apartments at high prices and huge luxury penthouses at astronomical prices.

Avg. rent by housing type and size

Studio/Bachelor: $1,500
1-bedroom: $2,100
2-bedroom: $2,320
3-bedroom: $3,040
Avg. rent compared to other Toronto neighbourhoods
Queen Street West is 26% higher than TO average

Typical housing type

Apartments and condos

Side note

Queen Street West runs from Yonge to about Gladstone, but the section from Bathurst to Gladstone is called West Queen West and is the core of the core, so to speak.


Want to spend a few bucks and hang out with the coolest of the cool? Your options are pretty much limitless, but you could try Clafouti, Nota Bene, or Hy's. Then there's the cheap stuff like Banh Mi Boys, 416 Snack Bar, Come and Get It, Smoque 'N' Bones, Pat's Jamaican and Le Gourmand for breakky. Get your fill of art via the Drake Hotel's public art showings (and stop for a drink at its rooftop patio, Sky Yard), the famous art hotel called Gladstone, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, or any one of a number of smaller galleries and art cafes. Or just stroll into Graffiti Alley where street art isn't just legal, it's encouraged.