A large part of North York, Willowdale is an affluent community centred around Yonge St. from Steeles Ave. down to the 401, and from Bayview to Senlac Rd. It has gained in popularity as its amenities continue to grow and new condo development changes its landscape. It's prized for being located on the subway lines, and offers easy access to all parts of the city.
Willowdale hosts great events throughout the year: Fall Fair, Earth Day and Trail of Lights. The park will be extended and dedicated to the arts, incorporating art installations and a performance space. This portion of Willowdale park will be named “Lee Lifeson Art Park” after Rush band members and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, both of whom grew up in the neighbourhood.
Being a perfect blend of suburban and urban, Willowdale offers the best of both worlds. Willowdale is sometimes distinguished between its eastern and western parts and the vibe varies depending on where exactly you are in the neighbourhood. Willowdale East is more city-like and has an abundance of restaurants, pubs and cafes in the area. It's also much more populated than its western counterpart.
Willowdale is currently home to more than 79,000 people. The majority of residents fall within the 25 to 54 age bracket with a skew toward 44 to 54. The area has an extremely diverse population, with two-thirds of the residents first-generation Canadians. The neighbourhood also attracts families who are attracted to the highly regarded schools such as Cardinal Carter and Earl Haig.
The diversity of the neighbourhood is reflected in the large amount of ethno-cultural restaurants, particularly along Yonge Street. Empress Walk is a mixed-use building and a staple in North York. The first three floors of retail space contain Loblaws, Staples and a Cineplex theatre. North York Civic Centre features Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre, North York Central Library and Mel Lastman Square. The area is also home to the TDSB.
Willowdale gets a huge nod for accessibility. Buses run frequently and connect you to all subway lines, with both the Yonge and the Sheppard lines at the heart of the community. Viva and York Region Transits serve Willowdale. The subway station and GO transit bus terminal are located on Yonge Street and Finch Avenue. If you’re parking at the station it adds $5 a day to your daily commuting costs.
Although everything you need is right at your fingertips, getting where you need to go can be a hassle if you’re traveling by car. While many people travel via public transit, traffic still accumulates along the main arteries of the neighbourhood, and the ongoing construction in the area contributes to the issue.
Demand is high in Willowdale, which is reflected in the prices. Although both rental and owning prices have a fairly broad range, it’s common to come across custom-built houses listed in the $2-million to $3-million range. Builders or homebuyers will often purchase smaller homes on large lots, and tear them down to create new luxury homes.