Roncesvalles Village

In 1850, Roncesvalles Village was settled by Colonel Walter O’Hara (a British soldier). The name Roncesvalles Village comes from when O’hara was wounded and captured by the French in the Roncesvalles Gorge in northern Spain; hence the name Roncesvalles. The entire neighbourhood has been influenced by O’hara, he was from Ireland, and the street names reflect that.

Roncesvalles Avenue

Roncesvalles Avenue

Roncesvalles Village has been a family-oriented neighbourhood right from the begining. In the 1900s, the area’s street-car was built, and this kick started the development into the neighbourhood it is today.

Today Roncesvalles Village is known as one of Toronto’s most vibrant shopping districts. It is a village with a true European neighbourhood feel with great small European style grocers, coffee shops and affordable eateries.  Roncy as it is known does not share the affected attitude of some of  Toronto’s upscale villages, yet the housing prices here are definitely in the upscale range.  If you love a real European style city you will love walking down Roncy and stopping for coffee or picking up your bread, sausages and veg.

The well preserved and affordable Edwardian and Victorian homes on large lots are naturally appealing with the tree lined streets. The neighbourhood is a pleasant mix of residential streets and small, family-owned retail and food shops. You can find anything from organic cafes, Thai restaurants, greengrocers, and hip specialty shops all on the same strip!  Another great thing about the location of Roncesvalles Village is that it’s within walking distance of Toronto’s waterfront parks, the western Toronto beach and High Park, the best dog walking park in Toronto along with it’s small zoo.

Nearby at High Park

Nearby at High Park

The streetcar service that was built in the 1900s has been rebuilt into a bus service as of March, 2011. Although the streetcar has some sentimental value to the neighbourhood, it’s decision to switch to a bus service was for the better of the city, and provides the public with a much better transportation option.

The Roncesvalles Village shopping district is north of Queen Street, and known is the cultural centre of Toronto’s Polish community. It was considered to be mainly a polish community, however over the last 50 years there have been many different ethnic groups take up residence  in the area. If you’re interested in restaurants that specialize in traditional cuisine such as: sausages, hand-made pierogies, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls and hearty soups like the delicious beet-based borscht, then you’re sure to enjoy a day at the The Roncesvalles Village shopping district. Community-based cultural events take place frequently in the shopping district. You can expect to enjoy events like the Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival for example; a fun family weekend event held every September.

If the cultural centre isn’t your idea of a pleasant shopping experience, then have no fear because another vibrant commercial shopping area is right around the corner! Queen street  West  is an ever-changing environment that is full of interesting stores, as well as restaurants. If you enjoy browsing through antique shops, or just want to enjoy a gourmet meal, then Queen street’s highly competitive shopping area is something you’ll want  to take full advantage of.

Roncesvalles Bike Alley

Roncesvalles Bike Alley

Some other areas that you don’t want to miss in the Roncesvalles Village neighbourhood include:

  • Four Community & Recreation Centres: Keele, Parkdale, Swansea, and Masaryk/Cowan.
  • Two public libraries for adults as well as children for all your book, movie, and media needs.
  • High Park, 399 acres of parkland including picnic areas, flower gardens, animal paddocks, an outdoor amphitheatre, sports facilities and a large pond, all within walking distance.
  • There’s five schools in the area, from English and French public schools, to secondary education, and even a college which offers many great programs for the Roncesvalles Village residents.

Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village neighbourhood is one of the most vibrant, and family-oriented areas.

Other West Toronto Neighbourhoods:   High parkSwansea


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