Roncesvalles Village is in the west end of Toronto, just east of High Park and north of the shores of Lake Ontario. It is bounded by Sorauren avenue to the east and Bloor / Dundas Street to the west.
This mature neighbourhood’s long history goes back to when the land to the west of what is now known as Roncesvalles belonged to Sunnyside Farm and was owned by John Howard, one of Canada’s greatest architects.
In 1873 John Howard donated a large chunk of land to the City of Toronto. Later in 1890 he also donated Colborne Lodge and the surrounding land which became one of the greatest gifts to the city – High Park!
Colonel Walter O’Hara owned most of the land east and named it Roncesvalles after the gorge where he fought during the war known as the Battle of the Pyrenees in Spain, 1813. During the 1900’s during the building boom in Toronto, homes began to appear with most of the residents being British. Post WW11 Polish immigrants began to settle in the area and soon churches, banks and businesses began to sprout up with Polish origins. Today their culture is honoured with the yearly “Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival”, which is one of the largest Polish festivals in Canada.
Roncesvalles is one of the most lush and green areas of the city. It holds on to its Polish roots with popular deli’s and restaurants, but has also become known as a wonderful neighbourhood now filled with organic eateries, markets, café’s, international cuisine, toy shops and greengrocers on every corner. It’s also popular as an artistic and musical pocket attracting like minded residents. It also is home to well preserved Edwardian and Victorian homes, often grand and well appointed with vintage details.
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