Eclectic, funky, earthy and urban, with super cute homes and independent shops, Torontonians old and young can't resist the charm of Riverdale. Alongside Cabbagetown and Leslieville, it's one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in the city, especially for young, trendy couples with or without kids. Leslieville may be "Hipsterville East," but Riverdale really deserves the same moniker. With the Danforth as its northern border, awesome parks, independent shops and boutiques all around, and its own list of neighbourhoods-within-a-neighbourhood (see below), Riverdale has been making a name for itself as one of the coolest spots to live in the city. It's one of Toronto's biggest neighbourhoods, located east of the Don River and just a few blocks north of Lake Ontario.
Youngish hipsters, neo-hippies and semi-urbanites. Plus, quite a few families who love the easy access to great schools and parks in any corner of the neighbourhood and just a few retirees.
People who aren't keen on the downtown, concrete jungle kind of lifestyle, but still want to be close-ish to downtown will likely find what they're after somewhere in Riverdale. It's a great place for singles, couples, parents with kids and seniors.
The super rich, who might find an enclave or two of like people, but generally Riverdale is a middle-class neighbourhood. In addition, it's atmosphere is distinctly different from downtown, with more detached homes than high rises.
In Riverdale, moustaches are expertly groomed and pompadours roam the streets alongside bowling shoes and Betty Boop lipstick. Trendy? Check. Diverse? Check. Granola-y? Check. You've got your community gardens, your friendly neighbourhood organic patisserie and cafe, and your local film production studio, all in Riverdale. It's a really huge neighbourhood – one of the biggest in Toronto – and has smaller communities within it, each one sporting its own style, its own virtues and its own values. That said, strolling the streets, perusing farmer's markets and playing hooky for a lazy afternoon in Withrow Park are all among favourite pastimes for the mixed crowd that lives in Riverdale.
Renters looking to live in Riverdale will find a pretty inconsistent market. For one thing, housing types and rental rates can swing pretty far between one area and the next. The other thing is recently, smaller units in Riverdale are, on average, a little cheaper than what you'll find in other nearby neighbourhoods while larger spaces with two or more bedrooms are disproportionately expensive, likely because as you get into those bigger places, you're looking at a house, more often than not, rather than an apartment.
Avg. rent compared to other Toronto neighbourhoods
riverdale is 28% lower than TO average
Low-rise apartments, townhouses and detached brick Victorians
There are three main parks within Riverdale, the biggest being Riverdale Park, which caresses the Don River to the west end of the community. There's also Withrow Park and Jimmie Simpson Park. All three have tennis parks, big lawns that are perfect for picnics, baseball diamonds, hockey rinks and wading pools for kids. For shopping, eating out and being seen, in general, the Danforth is where it's at. The Danforth and Greektown are a mecca of awesome food, super cool lounges, live music, entertainment, nightclubs, Greek bakeries, delis and any number of independent shops and services you could desire. For lovers of all things vintage, the shopping area in the Riverside community has tons of antique shops for furnishing a house.
South of the Danforth on the east side of Riverdale is Blake-Jones. It's the least affluent part of the neighbourhood after Chinatown, having some run-down duplexes, and its proximity to the TTC's Greenwood Yard kind of gives it that industrial, next-to-the-tracks feel. For families, there are several schools nearby and it's still considered a safe place to live.
Toronto actually has seven Chinatowns, because one is never enough. One of them is located in Riverdale, stretching from Broadview to Carlaw on Gerrard Street East. Small apartments above the businesses and restaurants of East Chinatown make up the majority of the housing stock here, but the food is awesome and cheap, and there are tons of public transit options nearby.
Pretty homes with steep-pitched roofs make up some of the nicer housing stock in all of Riverdale, and are mainly located in Riverside, aka Queen-Broadview Village. Gentrification is pushing in, bringing with it the young generation of designers, craftspeople, restaurants and craft breweries. Yep, the shopping is awesome and so is the nightlife. But it's not just for young hipsters – Riverside has lots of schools making it ideal for families as well.
A cute name that the mini-neighbourhood indeed gave to itself, the Pocket refers to a portion of Riverdale between Chatham and Boultbee. Some of the homes here are bigger and most are very well maintained, catering to a more affluent crowd and attracting families with some pretty fine tastes.
The real hipsterville northeast is the Studio District, with its loft-style housing that commands truly outrageous rates and a noticeable number of film studios, music studios, art studios and any other type of studio you could imagine. Hence, the population here is younger and trendier. This is the southernmost part of Riverdale, running along Lakeshore.