The neighbourhood takes its name from Trinity Bellwoods Park, built around the former Garrison Creek ravine. Bounded on the north by Dundas Street West and on the south by the Queen Street West district, the park is immediately accessible from major pedestrian and bicycling thoroughfares. And it is bounded on the east and west by quiet residential streets. Accordingly, the park has a large natural “constituency”. The park also sports a range of environments, including tennis courts, a playground, a hockey rink, a dog walking bowl, a grove, a range of picnic tables, a greenhouse, a community center, and a swimming pool. The northwestern panhandle is home to a farmer’s market on Tuesday afternoons from spring to fall.
This park was the original site of Trinity College, one of the colleges that now make up the University of Toronto. The college building, which was completed in 1852, stood roughly at the centre of the park, and remained there for just over 100 years. Today the only remaining artifacts of the school are its restored gates at the south end of the park.
By 1900, the college and its picturesque surroundings attracted residential development. Most of the surrounding streets were filled in with tall, narrow houses of the Bay-and-gable or Gothic Revivalstyle characteristic of much of Toronto’s housing stock from that era. A number of fine homes from the period are scattered throughout the neighborhood.
During the 20th century the neighborhood became a landing site for immigrants of various nationalities, setting a pattern for the next six to seven decades. From the 1920s and 1930s the area became home to many Polish and Ukrainian immigrants; the Bathurst-Queen area was the heart of the city’s Polish and Ukrainian communities until the 1960s. By the 1960s, the area had become popular among the immigrants from Portugal, who now define much of the neighborhood’s character. In recent years, the area has become home to many Chinese immigrants.
The businesses along Ossington Avenue just north of Queen Street have changed in the last decade, with former sports bars and social clubs becoming trendy restaurants, bars and cafes. Some of this conversion has been due to higher commercial rents along Queen Street relative to Ossington Avenue properties. The high conversion rate into bars and the accompanying late-night noise prompted a city-ordered halt to conversions and new liquor serving licenses along Ossington.
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