Living in Newtonbrook
Newtonbrook is located at the north end of the City of Toronto. It is situated between the east and west branches of the Don River Valley, which serve to provide an attractive natural backdrop for this neighbourhood in addition to providing residents with plenty of recreational opportunities. Newtonbrook’s most famous native son is the late Lester B. Pearson who became Prime Minister of Canada in 1963 and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in diffusing the Suez Canal crisis. The local Lester B. Pearson school is named in his honour.
History of Newtonbrook
Newtonbrook was first settled in the early 1800’s. This hamlet revolved around saw and grist mills that operated on the east and west branches of the Don River. The spiritual centre of this hard working pioneer community was the Newton Brook Wesleyan Church which was named after Reverend Robert Newton. One of Newtonbrook’s earliest settlers was Lieutenant Colonel William S. Durie of the Queens Own Rifles. Durie subdivided part of his Newtonbrook property in 1847 creating what is now known as Drewry Avenue. At first Drewry Street was given the name “Pope’s Lane” because so many Roman Catholics built houses here. The “Rueter House” at 270 Drewry is the only house still standing from this early Newtonbrook subdivision.
When Newtonbrook was subdivided for large scale residential development in the 1950’s most of the former village landmarks were demolished. The two notable exceptions are the Newtonbrook Schoolhouse, circa 1878, located at 43 Drewry Avenue and the second Newtonbrook General Store, circa 1907, located on the north-west corner of Yonge Street and Drewry Avenue.
Homes in Newtonbrook
Newtonbrook’s original housing stock was built from the 1920’s up to the 1960’s. This mix of housing includes split-level and storey-and-a-half houses as well as bungalows. There is also an increasing number of new custom built homes in this neighbourhood. Newtonbrook contains a good selection of newer, luxury condominium apartment buildings that are mostly concentrated along Steeles Avenue. Bayview Avenue has traditionally been a hot spot for modern townhouse and new home developments. Bathurst Street has a large number of high-rise rental apartment buildings for people seeking an option to home ownership but who still want to live in this conveniently located neighbourhood.
Lifestyle in Newtonbrook
CentrePoint Mall is as its name implies conveniently located in the centre of this neighbourhood on the south-west corner of Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue. This indoor shopping mall is anchored by two national department stores, a popular family style restaurant and a large grocery store. Newtonbrook’s Yonge Street shopping district is checkered with shopping plazas and new car dealerships. This section of Yonge Street also contains a dizzying array of fast food restaurants, coffee shops, and convenience type stores. Dufferin Street is Toronto’s largest discount warehouse district featuring a wide selection of well known brand name clothing, high-tech items, and home furnishing products. Steeles Avenue is a higher-end retail district with numerous shopping plazas, big box chain stores, and smaller specialty shops and restaurants.
Recreation in Newtonbrook
Newtonbrook contains over twenty neighbourhood parks and children’s playgrounds. Many of these parks offer tennis courts, baseball diamonds, sports fields, and fitness trails. Newtonbrook also has two community centres and four indoor ice arenas. Cummer Park Fitness Centre located at 6000 Leslie Street, features squash and racquetball courts, fitness classes, an indoor jogging/walking track, two weight rooms, outdoor tennis courts, whirlpools and saunas. Esther Shiner stadium located at 5720 Bathurst Street has a 2,000 seat stadium that hosts a myriad of sport and track and field competitions.
Transportation in Newtonbrook
Newtonbrook’s location along the Yonge street corridor provides its residents with quick and easy access to stations on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. Regular bus service is available on Finch, Steeles, Bayview, Cummer and Drewry Avenues and on Bathurst and Dufferin Streets. Bayview Avenue and Yonge, Bathurst and Dufferin Streets provide motorists with direct access to Highway 401 on-ramps, south of Sheppard Avenue. These major arterial roadways also usher commuters into the downtown core.