Living in Windfields
Windfields is a predominantly upper-middle income neighbourhood that has traditionally been popular with young families. This neighbourhood has many fine attributes including well treed streets, spacious family size houses, an abundance of parkland, a good selection of schools and convenient access to Highway 401.
Windfields includes a maze of curvilinear streets that twist and wind until they either abruptly end at a local park or ravine, or spill out onto one of the major arterial roads that skirt this neighbourhood. The net effect is that traffic is kept to a minimum and the streets have a suburban child friendly feel to them that suggests a game of road hockey could be played out reasonably uninterrupted by the intrusion of motorists.
History of Windfields
The Windfields neighbourhood is located on the former site of Windfields Farm, after which this neighbourhood is named. Windfields Farm was the former estate of E.P. Taylor the legendary Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist. Windfields Farm was founded in 1937. It was Taylor’s wife Winnifred who came up with the “Windfields” name while the couple were out walking on their property during a windy autumn day. In its heyday Windfields Farm was famous as one of the top thoroughbred racing stables in North America. Its stable of horses included Northern Dancer, the first Canadian horse to win the Kentucky Derby.
In 1963, an increasingly private E.P. Taylor moved his main residence to Lyford Cay in the Bahamas. In 1968, he sold most of his Windfields estate to developers. At the same time he donated thirty acres of land for what is now Windfields Park. E.P. Taylor’s Windfields mansion located at 2489 Bayview Avenue, was also gifted to the city by the Taylor family in 1968. This Colonial Revival style mansion is now the home of the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies, which opened its doors in 1988. E.P. Taylor passed away at his home in Lyford Cay in 1989.
Homes in Windfields
Windfields houses were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They range in size from modest split-level and ranch-style bungalows to five thousand plus square foot homes. Many of these houses feature decorative accents, including stone arch entranceways, exaggerated Tudor roof lines and half timbering, doric columns and even the occasional turret. Windfields also contains some of the most interesting and experimental modernist style housing in Toronto. These houses are characterized by asymmetrical designs, flat roofs, and large picture windows. Windfields also contains entry level condominium townhouses on Leslie Street and a handful of high-rise apartment buildings on York Mills Road.
Lifestyle in Windfields
Leslie Street provides Windfields residents with a limited amount of street shopping and includes an interesting mix of restaurants, convenience stores, commercial businesses and professional offices. The Bayview Village Shopping Centre at Bayview and Sheppard Avenues, York Mills Plaza located at Bayview Avenue and York Mills Road and the Don Mills Shopping Centre at Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue are all within a five minute drive of this neighbourhood. Everything old is new once again. When the former Don Mills Shopping Centre opened in the 1960s it began as an outdoor shopping plaza and eventually as times and tastes changed it was retrofitted into an indoor shopping centre.
The old shopping centre has now been transformed once again into the new Shops at Don Mills where once again shoppers can enjoy an outdoor retail experience. While outdoor shopping plazas may not be new to Toronto the Shops at Don Mills is like no other outdoor shopping experience ever seen before in Toronto. This well conceived and designed retail showpiece has been built in accordance with the City of Toronto’s Green Development Guidelines. The new urbanism look and feel of this place is accentuated by the Town Square located in the middle of the development.
The Town Square is flanked on one side by a magnificent water feature that twice every hour, erupts into a four minute choreographed show. At the other end of the Town Square is an eye popping clock tower that is actually a sculpture designed by famed Canadian artist and author Douglas Coupland. The symbols on this unique clock tower are models of houses that resemble those found in the Don Mills neighbourhood.
Shops at Don Mills already boasts Canada’s first Anthropologie store, Ontario’s first McNally Robinson bookstore, and Salomon Sports’ first North American non-resort store. The highly anticipated McEwan gourmet food market, the Prairie Ink Restaurant and Bakery located inside the McNally Robinson bookstore and the Glow Fresh Grill and Wine Bar headline an impressive list of restaurants and food markets. Special events and festivals will be held at the Shops at Don Mills throughout the year, Check their website www.shopsatdonmills.ca for more information.
Recreation in Windfields
Windfields Park which runs through the centre of this neighbourhood contains a picturesque walking trail that follows the course of Wilket Creek. This nature park includes two hundred year old trees, a pond and marsh area, and many species of wild flowers, birds and other wildlife. This park is ideal for picnicking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. Windfields Park can be accessed from York Mills Park situated at the south-east corner of York Mills Road and Bayview Avenue. This park is home to the York Mills Arena which offers seasonal skating opportunities for all ages.
Edwards Gardens – one of Toronto’s prettiest and most famous parks – forms the southern boundary of Windfields Park. Wilket Creek flows through the centre of this park which is admired for its rockeries, perennial borders, rose gardens, and waterfalls. Edwards Gardens is also the home of the Civic Garden Centre one of Canada’s finest public gardening resource centres. The Banbury Community Centre is located at 120 Banbury Road in a naturalized setting backing onto Windfields Park. This centre offers Banbury Kids and Banbury Fitness programs as well as dance, yoga, and arts programs. The Banbury Tennis Club is located behind the community centre
Transportation in Windfields
The York Mills Road bus connects passengers to the York Mills station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. This station doubles as a Go-Transit bus station and includes express bus service to the Pearson International Airport. Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue also have limited bus service. Motorists are approximately twenty-five minutes from downtown Toronto and five minutes from Highway 401, one of Toronto’s main commuter highways.