During the inception of York, the neighbourhood that is now Harbourfront did not exist. Rather, it was a part of Lake Ontario. The development of the Harbourfront occurred over time, as land was filled, ports and piers were created. This supported the development of the influx of shipping and industrial development that occurred once the Harbourfront was created. Some of the dominating companies can still be seen to this day, such as the Canada Malting Silos and the Redpath Sugar Factory.
Diminishing use of the ports for industrial purposes lead to Pierre Elliot Trudeau announcing the Harbourfront Project in 1972. The intention of this project was to transition the area from its lack luster appeal towards creating a booming cultural and residential community. This effort had been a success as Harbourfront was created January 1, 1991. 10 acres of non-profit land would be used to introduce Toronto’s cultural and entertainment talents.
However, the area underwent yet another major reconstruction in 2012. Demand for a more pedestrian friendly space to support the volume of tourists and residents alike brought about the building of the Martin Goodman bike trail. This trail was incorporated along the Queens Quay and supports a larger space to allow pedestrians access throughout the Harbourfront.
Located within the area of Bathurst Street, Queens Quay, Yonge Street and the Gardiner Expressway, the Harbourfront neighbourhood has become a major hub for many Torontians. It offers a unique blend to suit the needs and ideals of residents and tourists alike. This neighbourhood appeals largely to those within working age, both professionals and families alike. High rise condominiums dominate the residential availability. Townhomes and low-rise condominiums are also seen within the area. The area offers the largest concentration of luxury living accommodations. This can be seen in the average income of residents. However, residents can find suitable housing for a variety of needs.
Considered as the city’s “Playground by the Lake”, the area offers a variety of parks and public spaces, such as the Rees and the Simcoe Wavedecks. Marina’s and Ports can be seen throughout the lakefront. Power boats and sailing schools are available and seen throughout the summer season as residents practice a variety of skill levels on the lake. Many other recreational activities are available, as this neighbourhood offers more activities and events than any other neighbourhood in the city.
Restaurants and shopping centres are threaded throughout the area, both at street level and multi-level shopping facilities. Small and large grocery facilities are available within the neighbourhood, as well as easy access to these amenities. For those wishing to not utilize the many pedestrian friendly walkways and paths, streetcars are available running to and from union station. This gives access to both GO transit, Via Rail as well as access to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. The Gardiner Expressways convenience allows those who work within the GTA easy access to and from the city.
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