Swansea is bounded on the west by the Humber River, on the north by Bloor Street, on the east by High Park and on the south by Lake Ontario. The neighbourhood was originally a separate municipality, the Village of Swansea, which was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1967.
Swansea is primarily residential in nature, consisting of a mix of various housing types. Swansea's high-end homes are located either at the western edge of High Park overlooking Grenadier Pond, or on Riverside Drive and the Brule Gardens enclave bordering the Humber river. Swansea also contains a large number of semi-detached houses and bungalows located mostly in the centre of the neighbourhood. The typical house of the area was built between 1905 and 1935.
The area of the former Swansea Works area is considerably newer, except for some of the original workers' homes. The Queensway was built in the 1950s through the Swansea Works lands. The area to the south was retained for industry and the area to the north was redeveloped with apartment buildings and townhome developments. The area of the actual factory site has been redeveloped since 2000 into townhomes and condominium apartments.
Swansea has several main streets. Along the northern boundary, Bloor Street is a four-lane arterial road with businesses lining both sides. Along the southern boundary, The Queensway is a four-lane arterial road with a streetcar right-of-way. The Queensway has primarily residences on both sides. North-south, Swansea has two major roads, South Kingsway and Windermere Avenue. Along the southern boundary is the Gardiner Expressway which has an interchange with South Kingsway and the CNR railway lines. Further to the south, Lake Shore Boulevard runs east-west parallel to the lake shore.
The area is extremely hilly in nature. The waters of Grenadier Pond, Rennie Pond and the Humber River all are at or near the level of Lake Ontario. The majority of the lands of 'upper' Swansea are 30 to 40 feet higher than this, with steep hillsides along Grenadier Pond, Humber River and Rennie Pond.
Sunnylea is a highly desirable neighbourhood, attractive in particular to young families. It radiates a country charm and is full of nature - large, mature oaks and maples line its streets, the quiet roads often do without sidewalks, and the beautiful Mimico Creek meanders through its centre.
Sunnylea is a very safe area for children and it features excellent schools. If you are considering moving to Sunnylea, be sure to call the school board to find out which school your child would attend, as they each have finite enrolment boundaries.
The Kingsway is a residential neighbourhood located in the former City of Etobicoke, an area that became the west end of Toronto upon amalgamation in 1998. It is bounded by Bloor Street to the south, Dundas Street to the north, the Mimico Creek to the west and the Humber River to the east. While the area was first known as "Kingsway Park", popular usage drifted to "The Kingsway", that being the name of the main road which winds through the heart of the area. "The Kingsway" is also the name of the Business Improvement Association business district along Bloor Street. The Kingsway is one of the more affluent areas in Toronto, the 2012 average price of a detached house was $1,931,065.
For planning purposes the neighbourhood is known officially by the City of Toronto as "Kingsway South" to differentiate it from a more recent extension of The Kingsway north of Dundas Street. "Kingsway South" does not enjoy popular usage owing to confusion with the South Kingsway, a busy street located east of the Humber River and extending south from Bloor Street.
Roncesvalles is a safe, stylish, and diverse community centered around Roncesvalles Avenue, a fifteen-block string of local businesses bustling with residents doing their daily shopping, enjoying a coffee or just going for stroll. The street has long been known as the cultural and commercial centre of Toronto's Polish diaspora, and recently, many new families have been attracted by its unique community atmosphere, making the area home to a wide range of people of all ages.
A number of Polish-speaking restaurants, delicatessens and shops specializing in Polish goods are located on Roncesvalles Avenue. Much of the land west of Roncesvalles was once part of Sunnyside Farm, owned by John Howard, Toronto's first surveyor and one of Canada's greatest architects. In 1873, Howard donated a large chunk of land to the City of Toronto. In 1890, he also donated his beloved Colborne Lodge and the surrounding land. These great gifts formed most of what is today High Park, the largest in Toronto.
Colonel Walter O'Hara owned most of the land on the east, living on a large estate he named West Lodge. He named Roncesvalles after the gorge where he fought during the Battle of the Pyrenees in 1813. Many other neighbourhood streets have an O'Hara connection, such as Marion (named for his wife), and Constance (named for his daughter). Fermanagh is the county of his birth in Ireland. The Colonel died in 1874.
Residential homes began to appear from the early 1900s on, as Toronto experienced a massive building boom. For the first half of the 20th century, Roncesvalles residents were mostly of British origin. In the post WWII years, a large number of Polish immigrants settled in the area, setting up churches, banks and businesses which remain important local institutions. Every year, Roncesvalles celebrates the Polish contribution to Toronto's cultural mosaic with the Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival.
Bloor West Village is a vibrant neighbourhood and shopping district in Toronto. Situated along Bloor Street just east of the Humber River, it is comprised of many small businesses along Bloor Street between Jane Street and Ellis Park Road. There are over 400 shops, restaurants and services, mostly home-grown businesses and very few chain stores. The mix of shops includes specialty clothing stores, book shops, restaurants and cafes. The businesses organized in 1970 into the first mandatory business improvement district, an idea that has spread to numerous other commercial streets in Toronto and to cities around the world.
Bloor West Village is located between two neighbourhoods. To the north is Runnymede, a former streetcar suburb and to the south is Swansea, a former village dating to the 19th century. Bloor West Village is also considered the name of the immediate vicinity of Bloor Street.