Why North York?

What makes North York interesting — whether it’s the North York Centre or the Sheppard corridor — is that it really is the centre of the region now. We were at the northern fringes when North York was laid out in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. But now with the development north of us in Markham and Vaughan and all of the development east and west within the greater GTA, if you kind of make a geographical centre it is Yonge and the 401.

But whatever the demographic, those living there find it quite appealing. One of the things that new comers love about the Yonge-Sheppard area is its cultural diversity, evident in the numerous nationalities walking about and the different ethnic restaurants dotting Yonge Street. Because she and her kids like Asian food, she stocks her kitchen with ingredients from several nearby Korean and Japanese grocery stores or takes a short drive to Galati Market Fresh or the 20,000-sq.-ft. Sunny Supermarket at Leslie and Finch. Soon, she’ll add Whole Foods Market to her favourite hangouts, given its impending move to the 60,000-sq.-ft. retail space at Tridel’s two-tower, 682-unit Hullmark Centre at Yonge and Sheppard.

The area’s multiculturalism is also reflected in the events and festivals held throughout the year at Mel Lastman Square. Named after the man who reigned over North York as its mayor for 25 years, the square comprises 20,000 sq. ft. of open space, a garden court, an outdoor amphitheatre, fountains and a reflecting pool. Heather Atherton, the City of Toronto’s supervisor of community recreation for Wards 23 and 24, says many of the family-oriented programs attract people from all over the city yet they are very representative of the neighbourhood.

During winter, the square’s outdoor ice rink also attracts locals, as does the farmers’ market from June to October and the annual Canada Day fireworks. Swimmers and those new to the sport flock to Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre’s Olympic-size swimming pool for laps, lessons, leisure swim, aquafit classes and whirlpool therapy. Families also head to the new Edithvale Community Centre on Finch Avenue for athletics, fitness, dance, crafts, youth and seniors programs. The North York Central Library is a popular hub for book lovers and students. And the lush parks offer attractive tennis courts, baseball diamonds and trails.