The South Annex is synonymous with Harbord Village while the City of Toronto administrative divisions refers to 'University'. The area was built up in the late nineteenth century as a working class and lower middle class community, not as prosperous as the mansions of the Annex to the north, but also not a poor and immigrant-heavy neighbourhood like Kensington Market just to the south. In the 20th century it became an immigrant reception area linked to Spadina Avenue and Kensington Market. The neighbourhood was predominantly Jewish from the 1920s until the 1960s and was home to community institutions such as the Brunswick Avenue Talmud Torah. First Narayever Congregation has been located on Brunswick Avenue since 1940.

In the 1960s and 1970s the area became heavily populated by students and other people linked to the university, as well as to an influx of Portuguese and Chinese immigrants. Parts of the area were designated under the city's slum clearance program. In 1968 this began as the block along Robert Street, south of Bloor, was demolished to make way for highrise towers, similar to those of St. James Town. The local residents organized to block this move, founding the Sussex-Ulster Residents' Association. They were successful, smaller towers were built on part of the land and the rest was given to the University of Toronto which uses it as a sports field.

For most of the 20th century the area was a working class, immigrant community where many of the homes were divided into multiple units. Signs of gentrification were evident by the mid-1960s with the expansion of the nearby University of Toronto; middle class academics and other professional people who renovated the neighbourhood's Victorian housing stock coexisted with the working class, immigrant community. Gentrification accelerated in the 1980s, with many of the homes renovated and returned to single-family occupancy. Today, Harbord Village is largely a professional community and home to many professors from the University of Toronto.

In 2005, the Harbord Village Heritage Conservation District was established in the area of Lower Brunswick Avenue (below Ulster St.) as well as Willcocks Street west of Spadina. In 2009, it was expanded to include Robert Street and Sussex Avenue. The Harbord Village Residents' Association hopes the entire area will become a heritage conservation district.

We believe in giving you great information so you can make informed decisions. The neighbourhood information is updated daily and monthly for great neighbourhood insight.

Download PDF: PDF



Get in touch, We can help! Click here (416.834.0790) to be connected during regular business hours to a member of the FreemanTeam®