Queen West encompasses the street on the western side of Yonge St. Originally called Lot. Street, Queen Street West did not obtain its name until after 1851. Unique to Queen West is that it is own community that flows through other communities. This community has been a largely immigrant dominated community. Irish, Ukrainian, Polish, Chinese and Portuguese have dominated this area at different points in history. The remnants of these cultures can be seen in the culture dominated communities surrounding Queen West.
In the 1980’s artists and musicians began to flock to the area as the area began to shift. As demand for residential opportunities continued to grow within the city, many of these artists and musicians moved further west, to areas that were more affordable at the time. The major shift in the streets culture was the change of 299 Queen Street West. This building hosted CityTV, MuchMusic and is now owned by Bell TV. This shift brought gentrification to the area.
Modern Day Queen West
Queen West is the heart of Toronto’s broadcasting, music, fashion and art. Coined the city’s “trendy” neighbourhood, as well as “hip” and “cool”, this area is stretched across Toronto’s west side. Named “the second coolest neighbourhood in the world” by Vogue magazine in 2014, this area appeals to those who are thirsty for those wishing to be the forerunners for the fashion and entertainment industries.
This area attracts young professionals, as well as ambitious artists and musicians. This is due, in part to the available outlets to be seen by the public. Businesses such as The Cameron, the Rivoli and Horseshoe Tavern assist in this by offering venues for Toronto’s talented.
Larger events take place along this street. Annually, the Much Music Video Awards utilize the street offering an outdoor music event that brings A-list stars and celebrities alike. Some major artists include Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, Selena Gomez and Justin Beiber.
Although, events are not the only appeal. Street level businesses run through the entire street of Queen West. On the eastern side of Queen West one will see restaurants and international mainstream fashion stores. Suggested as having some of the best patios, Queen West’s dining options can match any pallet.
However, as one moves west, appeal shifts to more family oriented atmosphere. More independent local businesses can be seen past Spadina Ave. Shops, Boutiques and dining continue to scatter the street with living spaces available.
Transportation is available along Queen West that gives access to both major subway lines through the use of 24 hour street cars. Parking can be a difficulty, but in this largely pedestrian friendly neighbourhood, driving is considered the least appealing modes of transportation.