Parkdale in Toronto
Parkdale is a neighbourhood in Toronto. Parkdale is a neighbourhood in the midst of gentrification. It started life as a small village beyond the western edge of Toronto. The railway along the lake brought upper middle class families and large houses and, by the end of the nineteenth century, it had become a Victorian suburb and was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1889. In the early 20th century Parkdale continued to grow as an upper-middle class suburb and the area along the lake became a popular beach with a large amusement park. In the 1950s the Gardiner Expressway was built along the lake, causing the demolition of the amusement park, separating the neighbourhood from the beach and forever changing Parkdale from an area of mansion and large houses into an area of cheaply built apartment buildings, boarding houses and urban blight. The issues affecting the neighbourhood were worsened when, in the 1980s, the provincial government decided to release most of the patients from the nearby Queen Street and Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospitals as a cost cutting measure; most of these patients made their homes in Parkdale due to the proximity and the cheap housing. Parkdale Village is the area along Queen Street from Dufferin to Roncesvalles and is home to a number of inexpensive diners and restaurants as well as several soup kitchens and a salvation army outlet. Despite this, gentrification is inching its way into this long overlooked neighbourhood. With rising rents in the Queen West area, many young hipsters are renovating dilapidated houses and apartments in the eastern section of Parkdale, around Queen and with them are coming many new restaurants, bars and galleries. Unlike the section to the south of Queen, the area north of Queen remains home to many large, turn-of-the-century houses that retain their upper-middle class status. The houses get bigger and more attractive the further north and west you go.
The TTC  runs all the local transit services in the city. The 501 streetcar runs along Queen Street, through the centre of Parkdale; the 501 runs between The Beach on the east side of the city, through Downtown and Queen West to the Long Branch neighbourhood of Etobicoke at the western end of the city. The 501 Queen streetcar runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Though it becomes the 301 Queen during late hours, it is still a streetcar, and not a bus like other over-night routes in Toronto. The 504 streetcar runs along Roncesvalles and King St connecting Parkdale to the Dundas West subway station on the Bloor-Danforth line and to Downtown. Bus route 47 runs from Yorkdale Mall to Parkdale along Lansdowne Ave, also serving Lansdowne station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
- Palais Royale (address: 1601 Lakeshore Blvd West) (directions: 501 or 504 streetcar to Roncesvalles, then cross the pedestrian bridge over the Gardiner Expressway) 416.533.3553
open: M-F 10AM-6PM
This former big band hall has recently been renovated and reopened. It hosts a number of different events, from comedy to swing music. It also serves gourmet seasonal food.
- Lamport Stadium (address: 1151 King St. W.) (directions: 504 streetcar to Fraser Ave)
This 9000 seat stadium remains largely unused, hosting mainly field hockey games and soccer camps. However, it is currently in the process of being renovated and may soon host major soccer games.
- M&B Yummy (address: 1263 Queen Street West) (directions: 501 streetcar to Elm Grove Ave) 416-516-2798
This is the only vegetarian Ethiopian restaurant in Canada and serves a variety of Ethiopian foods.
- Easy Restaurant (address: 1645 Queen Street West) (directions: 501 or 504 streetcar to Roncesvalles) 416-537-4893
This Parkdale fixture specializes in breakfast, lunch and smoothies.
- The Parkdale Drink (address: 1292 Queen Street West) (directions: 501 streetcar to Dufferin) 416-778-8822
open: M-Tu: Closed; W-Th: 11:30AM-Midnight; F-Sa: 11:30AM-2AM; Sun: 11:30AM-10PM
This cocktail bar-restaurant combination has a wide variety of gourmet foods and a number of creative cocktails in contemporary decor.
- Stones Place (address: 1255 Queen St. W.) (directions: 501 streetcar to Elm Grove Ave) (416) 536-4242
Campy Rolling Stones themed bar. Hosts performances by indy bands.
- Wrongbar (address: 1279 Queen Street West) (directions: 501 streetcar to Elm Grove Ave) 416-516-8677
Parkdale club that regularly plays host to top local and international DJ's and touring indie bands. The owner of this austere bar is also a well known local DJ.
- The Rhino (address: 1249 Queen Street West) 416 535 8089
Great homemade food and 280 beers!
- Bonnevue Manor (address: 33 Beaty Avenue) (directions: 501 streetcar to Beaty Ave, then walk half a block south) (416) 536-1455
This quaint little b&b is slightly out of the way for major attractions, but is easily accessed by transit and is close to High Park.