The Mimico hood sitting south of the Queensway and Royal York down to the lake front, has been one of the best kept secrets for value, when one thinks about living in Toronto. For buyers that have been priced out of the areas that are already popular and gentrification has already begun, many are opting for hoods still in transition where prices are much lower while still being relatively close to the core of the City. Being so close to downtown Toronto and the waterfront has many first time buyers flocking to this unique pocket of west-end Toronto called “Mimico.”
Rich in history, Mimico began as a summer location for the wealthiest families during the 1890’s, as they desired living along the lakefront. It began as a year round location during the early 1900’s when the Mimico Yard was opened by the Railway and suddenly there was a housing boom with workers moving into the area. Mimico remained a town until 1967 when it was amalgamated with Etobicoke, now part of the City of Toronto.
To this day, Mimico has the feel of a lakeside town. Living close to the water has always been a huge draw with the enchanting greenery that surrounds the area. This is a waterfront neighbourhood with amazing and scenic parks and trails, boating and sailing clubs, as well as exceptional sporting facilities. Mimico is also close enough to downtown Toronto that you can be there in fifteen minutes. The northern part is called Mimico Village, with the southern area called Mimico by the Lake.
Unique to this hood are the number of sporting, recreational and parklands available to choose from. Known for their sports clubs, kids have been introduced to skating, hockey and Lacrosse at the local Mimico Arena. A number of professional hockey players have been developed from this area. The new “MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence” is a state of the art facility boasting four ice pads, where the Maple Leafs train and practice. Mimico’s Tennis Club has one of the few red clay surfaces, which is friendlier on the knees. For the boating and sailing enthusiasts, the Etobicoke Yacht Club, Mimico Cruising Club and Humber Sailing and Powerboating Centre are all found in the Humber Bay Park at the foot of Parklawn Road. This magical park that hugs the lakefront also offers a wetland habitat for birds, a man made peninsula with assortments of local wildlife, geese, swans, ducks and seagulls. Young and old alike enjoy the pond for model boats, the picnic areas and the trails and paths that wind along and through the park offering some of the city’s best views of both the lake activity and the Toronto skyline. The Humber Bay Arch Bridge for pedestrians and bicycles connects the boardwalk along the water with the Martin Goodman trail which one can take to travel across the city to the Rouge River in the east. It’s another route that those strolling, biking, running or blading, enjoy while taking in the beautiful vistas of Toronto’s waterfront and the calm of the area.
Phase 1 of the Mimico Waterfront Linear Park was opened in 2008, running from Norris Crescent to Superior Avenue. The largest portion can be found at the newly transformed Amos Waites Park, with the cantilevered boardwalks overlooking a protected wetland area. Standing along this trail you have incredible views of the sailboats moored at the clubs with the CN tower in the background, while listening to the beat of the lake and the swans swimming by. Grab an organic freshly roasted coffee at the café’ called Birds and Beans that’s beside the park, and relax watching the sailboats bobbing along on the waves.
Another huge draw to this area is the ease of transportation and close proximity to downtown Toronto. Those leaving the car behind can choose from the Queen Streetcar which runs along The Lake Shore, the Royal York bus connecting to the Bloor-Danforth subway line or the Mimico GO station off Royal York which takes approximately 10 minutes to arrive at Union Station. Motorists can take the Q.E.W. or Lake Shore Boulevard for a fast route to either downtown Toronto or out of the city.
The retail area for Mimico might be small, but there are still some really great spots to shop. There are local independent stores, flower markets, bakeries, organic butchers, delicatessens, organic coffee shops with live music, Italian food shops and a number of interesting restaurants. Area residents aren’t far from the shopping districts found in The Kingsway, the Queensway, Sherway Gardens or the Bloor West Village.
Proud local residents love to participate in their seasonal festivities ranging from the Summer Park Festivals, tree lighting and caroling, Lakeshore Community Festivals and other events shared with the nearby lakeshore communities.
The housing stock in Mimico is quite eclectic in style. The handsome estates on the water include both the original properties of yester-year and custom built new modern mansions fronting Lake Ontario with priceless views. There are also a number of low-rise rental buildings found along the waterfront, sharing these incredible vistas.
Some of the streets north of the lake include mixtures of Edwardian, Tudor and Craftsman homes that were built in the early to mid 1900’s with the beautiful vintage character and charm that was popular and typical of those era’s. These homes are found on the pricier streets and have often been renovated and restored inside with modern conveniences. It’s not uncommon, that one street over you’ll find modest and tiny bungalows that were typical of the houses built in the 1920 – 1940’s. Many of these houses sit on decent sized lots with private drives. There are also some condo buildings and newer townhomes in the area.
Mimico is an up and coming area that is ideally close to the lake and downtown Toronto. For great value, it’s a neighbourhood worth exploring!
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