Bridal Path

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The Bridle Path is an upscale residential neighbourhood in the former city of North York, now part of the city of Toronto, characterized by large multi-million dollar mansionsand two to four acre lot sizes. It is often referred to as “Millionaires’ Row”.  It is noted as the most affluent neighbourhood in Canada by household income as well as by property values

Although “The Bridle Path” is in fact the name of a road in the area, the term generally applies to the neighbourhood as a whole. It is bounded by The Bridle Path on the north, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on the south, Bayview Avenue on the west and Wilket Creekon the east. Few roads pass through the area, contributing to the area’s exclusivity and tranquility. It is a secluded neighbourhood, surrounded by the Don River Valley and lush parklands.House prices in the Bridle Path are varied, but they are mostly well in excess of a million dollars.

History

1The Bridle Path could hardly have been envisioned by Alexander Milne who settled on what is now Edwards Gardens in 1827.Milne operated woolen and saw mills on the banks of Wilket Creek until 1832 when a dwindling water supply forced Milne to move east to a mill site along the Don River.

The Bridle Path inconspicuously spent the rest of the 1800’s and early 1900’s as farmland. It was not until 1929, when the Bayview Bridge was built over the steep Don River Valley this area was considered for residential development.

Hubert Daniel Bull Page, a Toronto-based land developer was one of the founders of the present day neighbourhood. Page envisioned the Bridle Path as an exclusive enclave of estate homes. In 1929, Page built the Cape Cod Colonial style house located at #2 The Bridle Path in an effort to spark interest in his subdivision.. Subsequently, the remainder of the area homes were built in the 1930s, 50s and 60s, in a range of architectural styles reflecting tastes at the time and individual whims of the home owners.

Early plans for this neighbourhood called for an elaborate system of equestrian Bridle Paths. These Bridle Paths have long since been paved over however their legacy remains in the Bridle Path’s unusually wide streets and in the name of this neighbourhood.

The street’s name is frequently misspelled as “The Bridal Path” by those who are unfamiliar with the history of the area.

In 1937, developer E.P. Taylorwho designed the Don Mills community purchased a large plot of land north of the Bridle Path. The estate, named Windfieldsby his wife, is occupied today by the Canadian Film Centre. The park through which Wilket Creekflows behind this parcel of land is known as Windfields Park. In the late forties, Taylor’s business partner George Montegu Black, Jr (father of Conrad Black) moved into the area and built a large mansion on Park Lane Circle. In an effort to control who his future neighbours would be, Black took over the company which owned the rolling farmland that was to become the Bridle Path, and set restrictions in place through the North York zoning by-law.  Only single-family dwellings could be built, and  only on minimum lot sizes of 2 acres. The area was subdivided into about 50 lots, each selling for $25,000 at the time and through the 1950’s it began to take shape.

Architecture

The Bridle Path’s largest mansions located between Post Road and Park Lane Circle are among the largest homes in Toronto. These grand homes are situated on one to six acre lots and feature stone and cast iron gateways with elaborate built-in security systems. The houses south of Park Lane Circle are somewhat smaller in scale with still very generous one hundred foot frontages.

2The houses in the Bridle Path were built mostly in the 1930’s, 1950’s and 1960’s which accounts for the eclectic mix of architectural styles found here. This mix of designs includes Georgian, Colonial, Greek and Tudor Revival, Italianate, Neo Gothic, California bungalows and futuristic modern style houses.

House styles range from stunning forward-thinking creations sculpted to a great extent from glass, to sprawling “bunker-bungalows.” The most common design themes in The Bridle Path are the use of splendid columns for supporting vaulted entrance ways, and the modeling of residences as contemporary interpretations of elegant French chateaus.

The typical Bridle Path estate offers a wide range of luxury features, ranging from pools, tennis courts, gazebos and cabanas, to greenhouses and waterfalls. Interior features range from gold fixtures and marble finishes to dance floors and ballrooms, saunas, personal gyms and home theatres.

The French Chateau inspired luxury condominium at One Post Road is an exclusive building with only 42 units all with private elevator access. Also noteworthy are the European-design Cheddington Place Condominiums situated on the north-east corner of Bayview and Lawrence Avenues. These exclusive condominiums also feature private elevators and spectacular ravine views.

Shopping

In addition to the York Mills Shopping Centre which includes the gourmet Nortown Foods, a high end butcher shop, Swiss-Master Chocolatier and Chapman’s Essential Foods, locals also shop at the Bayview Village Shopping Centre at Bayview and Sheppard Avenues, which features designer clothing stores and an excellent selection of restaurants.

Parks and Recreation

This community overlooks West Humber River Valley with abundant green space everywhere.

Bridle Path residents can walk to beautiful Edwards Gardens, the home of the Toronto Botanical Gardens one of Canada’s finest public gardening resource centres. Edwards Gardens contains rockeries, perennial gardens, a pond, waterfalls, a rose garden and the beginning of a nine kilometre paved trail that extends through the Don River Valley all the way to Warden Woods Park in Scarborough.

The Edwards Gardens trail passes through Sunnybrook Park which features top quality sports fields for cricket, field hockey, rugby and soccer. Sunnybrook Park also has riding stables which offers lessons to the public. It is appropriate that these equestrian facilities are located on the border of the Bridal Path neighbourhood which has such a rich horse riding tradition.

Further proximity to green space includes Glendon Forest.

Schools

Owen Public School 111 Owen Blvd. 416-395-2740
St. Andrews Jr. High School 131 Fenn Avenue 416-395-3090
Rippleton Public School 21 Rippleton 416-395-2810
York Mills Collegiate 490 York Mills Road 416-395-3340
Crescent School 2365Bayview Avenue 416-449-2556
Crestwood School 411 Lawrence Avenue E. 416-444-5858
The Toronto French School 306 Lawrence Avenue E. 416-484-6533

Transportation

The Bayview bus connects commuters to the Davisville subway station as well as the Bayview station on the Sheppard line.

By car, downtown is approximately a 20 minute drive. Highway 401 and the Don Valley Parkway can be reached in about 5 minutes. The York Mills bus takes passengers to the York Mills subway station and GO Bus.

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