Rosedale Heritage Conservation Districts Provide a Lasting Legacy

By David Dunkelman

At present, the City of Toronto has 15 heritage conservation districts, including both South Rosedale and North Rosedale in Midtown. The path to designation as a heritage conservation district begins with a background study into the historical, architectural and character-defining features that make an area special. Following a general review — if the study area merits designation — comes approval by the Toronto Preservation Board. City Council then passes a by-law that establishes the heritage conservation district.

South Rosedale’s designation as a heritage conservation district was spearheaded by the South Rosedale Ratepayers’ Association (which was formed in 1931 and is the oldest such association in Toronto). The ratepayers’ association was naturally concerned that the neighbourhood’s Garden Suburb characteristics and grand old houses would be preserved. Thanks to the group’s efforts South Rosedale was granted heritage conservation district status in 2003.

In 1824, Sheriff William Botsford Jarvis purchased a 110-acre estate in what is now South Rosedale. Mary Jarvis was said to be impressed by the profusion of roses that dotted the hillsides around her estate, which led to the name Rosedale. Mary Jarvis’s daily horserides through Rosedale blazed the way for some of the present-day Rosedale streets.

North Rosedale followed the lead of South Rosedale, receiving its heritage conservation district designation in 2005. It also has a storied history, beginning in 1881 when the Glen Road bridge was constructed. Scottish Highland shareholders were quick to register a plan of subdivision named Rosedale Park in 1884, which named many of the streets after principles in the development and prominent Onatrio citizens.

Saint Andrews College, a prominent boys private school now located in Aurora, called North Rosedale home from 1905 to 1927. Rosedale Golf Club also originated in North Rosedale before moving to its present location in Teddington Park. The former Toronto Lacrosse Grounds — now known as Rosedale Park — were the venue for the inaugral Grey Cup football game in 1909.

North Rosedale’s development was sporadic. The neighbourhood was largely built by the late 1920s and early 1930s. North Rosedale’s Frederick Law Olmstead-inspired Garden Suburb street pattern, ravine topography, grand old homes, and classical architecture made it an easy choice for heritage conservation district status.

To explore Rosedale on foot, consider a Heritage Toronto walking tour. For more details visit

CAPTION: A classic Rosedale home. Grand, historic residences are a hallmark of South and North Rosedale, both heritage conservation districts.

David Dunkelman is a Broker and ABR* with Royal Lepage R.E.S.Ltd/Johnston and Daniel Division.  David is also the Author of “Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods”. *ABR* The Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) designation is the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation. This coveted designation is awarded to real estate practitioners by the Real Estate BUYER’S AGENT Council (REBAC) of the National Association of REALTORS® who meet the specified educational and practical experience criteria.


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