Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Downtown

King West Village

History of King West Village

King West Village was originally part of the Military Reserves of the Town of York – the forerunner to the City of Toronto. Victoria Memorial Square  – now a neighbourhood park - was Toronto’s first military cemetery. In the 1830s the military reserves were auctioned off and a “New Town” development was created for this area. Grandiose in concept New Town was to be defined by Clarence Square and Victoria Square which were to be linked by a grand treed boulevard called Wellington Place.

In the 1850s with the arrival of the railway to Toronto the character of this neighbourhood would change dramatically. King West would evolve as a busy industrial and manufacturing centre. Many of the old industrial buildings from the 1800s and early 1900s have recently been converted to residential and commercial uses.

By the 1990s most industry and manufacturing had moved out from King West and the area was run down and buildings were in neglect. In 1996 the City of Toronto stepped in and enacted the King-Spadina Plan to attract new investment in order to revitalize this area. The plan worked brilliantly as developers began to build new condominiums that catered to young and hip urban professionals. Restaurants and nightclubs were also added to the mix and soon enough you had the recipe for a vital new downtown neighbourhood now commonly referred to as King West Village

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