Toronto is a vibrant city, one that is comprised of very diverse neighborhoods and localized histories. Each specific neighborhood in the city is a product of a unique history and unique circumstances that helped shape the form it takes today. One such neighborhood is the Annex. The Annex is a neighborhood in the downtown core that is traditionally thought to comprise the area in between Dupont St. and Bloor St, and between Bathurst and Avenue Rd. Currently it is regarded as an affluent and culturally rich neighborhood. How did the Annex come to take its current form? This essay will examine how the Annex developed into the iconic neighborhood it is today. From this it will be clear that the history of the Annex is one that has shaped it present form, its big houses are the product of what was once an elite neighborhood, and its diverse mix of people come from the circumstances that it experienced once the affluent had moved on.
[...] Janes had a grand plan to subdivide the land west of Yorkville and east of Spadina into smaller lots for upscale people and families. His vision was one strictly of residences, and no commercial buildings. There were also no alleyways planned into the area, and this accounts for the lack of garages and the lack of parking in the Annex today. However, it did mean that the area would have large lots with residences that were set far back from the street, this allowed for big lawns and spacious residences. [...]
[...] Many of the upper-class families whose presence came to define the neighborhood only stayed in the area for one or two generations. Timothy Eaton died in 1907, and his son Jack became the head of the company. Jack and his wife Flora quickly decided that their current residence no longer suited their needs. The two left their residence on Walmer Ave., and relocated to a custom build mansion in what is now known as Forest Hill. The departure of this notable family began the mass exodus of the wealthy from the Annex to more exclusive areas of the city like Rosedale and Forest Hill. [...]
[...] The Annex was much different than what it once was, but it would not remain this way forever as the neighborhood would once again experience a slow but steady trend of gentrification that would last for the next four or five decades. University professors began buying houses, and so too did other middle-class Toronto residents that were seeking well-priced property in the heart of the city. This segment of the population was able to tolerate the culture of drugs and fraternities that marked the area. [...]
[...] All of the Eaton's Annex residences came complete with the staff one would except the ultra wealthy to have maids, cooks, and so on. The presence of the Eaton's in the Annex established it as an affluent neighborhood restricted to Toronto's elite. (McQueen, 1998). Of course the history of the Annex dates back to before the Eaton's. The Annex took its original shape from John Graves Simcoe who was Upper Canada's governor in 1793. When he was planning what would become the city of Toronto, he used his military expertise to carefully plan out the city. [...]
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