Deer Park, Toronto

Deer Park is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, centred on the intersection of Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue; its boundaries are the Vale of Avoca section of Rosedale ravine in the east, Farnham Avenue and Jackes Avenue in the south, Avenue Road and Oriole Parkway in the west, the Belt Line trail in the north on the west side of Yonge Street, and Glen Elm Avenue in the north on the east side of Yonge Street. For the purposes of social policy analysis & research, the city of Toronto’s Social Development & Administration division includes Deer Park within the City of Toronto's official "Rosedale-Moore Park" and "Yonge-St.Clair" neighbourhood profiles. The commercial area along the main streets is known simply as Yonge and St. Clair. Marked by a cluster of office buildings, the area also includes a number of restaurants, shops and services, and the St. Clair subway station, the terminus for the 512 St. Clair street car.

 

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History

The name dates from 1837, when the Heath family purchased 40 acres of land on the northwest corner of Yonge and St. Clair (then the Third Concession Road) and named it Deer Park. By the 1850s the neighbourhood included a racetrack, a school, and a hotel at which patrons could feed deer which roamed the Heaths' property. The Heath property was subdivided in 1846 and was entirely sold off by 1874.

In 1891 Upper Canada College moved from its urban location to the then still rural Deer Park area, establishing a large campus that remains in the same location today, interrupting Avenue Road north of St. Clair Avenue. Deer Park was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1908, and by the 1930s it had become an upper-middle class residential district, which it remains today. The intersection of Yonge and St. Clair is also the site of extensive nodal commercial development.

Deer Park is also home to one of Toronto's oldest cemeteries. St. Michael's Cemetery (Toronto) was opened by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto on September 28, 1855. There are some 29,000 graves in the cemetery. Ten acres in size, St. Michael's has the unusual characteristic of being surrounded on all sides by the backs of buildings, thus making it nearly invisible from the street. It is bound on the north by stores, apartments and office buildings along St. Clair Avenue West, on the west by houses along Foxbar Road, on the south by houses and a fire hall along Balmoral Avenue, and on the east by stores and office buildings along Yonge Street. Entrance to the cemetery is gained through an alley off Yonge Street. The cemetery's octagonal mortuary vault was used to store bodies in the winter until the ground thawed. Designed by architect Joseph Sheard, who was also mayor of Toronto in 1871-72, the vault was designated a historic property under the Ontario Heritage Act in December 1975. In 1999 Robert Fulford described the current character of the neighbourhood: "sandwiched between Forest Hill on its western flank and Moore Park to the east, Deer Park is utterly unlike either of them--it's more commercial, a fast-changing community dominated by apartment dwellers."

 

Schools

Deer Park Public School - A public school located at 23 Ferndale Avenue. It has been serving the community for about 125 years. The current principal is Mike Howlett and the current vice-principal is Chris Gorczynski. Deer Park has many challenging academic, sport and art programs. They include basketball, football, ultimate frisbee, Me To We club, swim team and the theatre production. Deer Park serves students from kindergarten to grade 8. The senior school used to have a gifted program.

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