Imagine walking outside of your home and strolling through The Annex, truly one of the best neighbourhoods in Downtown Toronto. Tree-lined streets, brownstone century homes, quieter streets, great shops, great schools for the kids, U of T, TTC…the list of benefits of living in the Annex is endless.
The Annex Area
Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood is situated downtown in one of the city’s oldest regions. Bordering on the Univerity Of Toronto, Canada’s largest university. Located just west of Yorkville, north of College Street, south of Dupont, and east of Bathurst Street.
Neighbouring areas are Forrest Hill, Summerhill, Seaton Village, Little Italy and Toronto’s chic Yorkville neighbourhood.
The annex has some parkettes for your enjoyment, including Jean Sibelius Square, UofT’s Philosopher’s Walk, among others.
Several TTC stations service the area: St George and Spadina stations both service two subway lines, which is great for transportation around the city. Bathurst and Dupont are two other options. The bike lanes have made cycling through the Annex Toronto very helpful as well!
➤ For more info on neighbouring areas we have extensive neighbourhood guides:
The Annex Homes
Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood offers some of the oldest architecture in Toronto. Nearly all of the Annex homes are century homes, with many dating back nearly 150 years. In recent years we have seen condo loft conversions and modern loft new build construction. However, these are certainly the exception to the rule of one of downtown Toronto’s finest architectural neighbourhoods. We break down the many Annex real estate architectural styles below.
As the name suggests, Victorian architecture was created during Queen Victoria’s reign from the 1830s to 1910. The key features that we see in the Annex are steeply pitched roofs, gables and red brick materials. However, the most popular period of Victorian architecture was in the 1890s, when much of the Annex was built.
Edwardian architecture was a popular fashion from 1890-1910 – like the Victorian house, this was prime Annex development time. While there are some similarities between both styles, Edwardian houses are a little squatter in size, the hallways a wider, and there is less of a focus on the eye travelling up to the tip of a terrace or roof peak – also, a factor that many clients like is that there are more windows than Victoria homes.
There are not many new built modernist houses in the Annex; however, if you look closely at some of the houses, you will see modernist accents added to either window bays, third floors and many back house extensions, a splash of modernity. There is something special in seeing the mix of century-old architecture with a tasteful modern addition. Those who have balanced these two eras have done an excellent job!
Considering that the Annex has long been a residential neighbourhood, it’s no wonder that there aren’t many commercial or industrial buildings to convert into condo lofts. That being said, a small handful of buildings in the Annex have been converted into lofts – in fact, two of our favourite loft developments in the city: 1) School House Lofts 2) The Loretto.
If you have driven across Dupont recently, you will have noticed how much development has happened in recent years and how much more is yet to come. Condo buyers have wanted modern features and amenities as they have become more condo savvy over the years. Another big development area is Bloor and Bathurst’s corner with the previous Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village stretch. Modern condos feature large windows, stylish, open-concept spaces with kitchens made for entertaining. In general modern condos have higher ceilings to accentuate the sense of space and airiness.
➤ For more on developments in the area be sure to read:
Buying a Home in The Annex
When a client approaches me to buy a home in the Annex, they typically look for the above aspects that best describe the Annex. It is such an accessible neighbourhood for working downtown. The demographic make-up is a mix of wealthy condo and homeowners through to students in rental flats. This brings a wonderful balance that is so uniquely Annex. There is a creative class that blends so well with the business elites. This is nothing new as the Annex has been this way for decades.
Before the downtown Toronto vibrancy kicked in roughly 10 years ago, the downtown core became a huge draw for increased business development, coffee shops, restaurants, and the arts. Most of the downtown core was relatively poorer areas of Toronto, areas that weren’t visited as frequently by wealthier people as there was no particular draw, no commercial or arts that were of great value.
➤ To learn about the other side of the transaction read: Selling An Annex House: What You Need To Know
The People of The Annex
The Annex is one of Toronto’s more storied neighbourhoods to live in. In fact, the neighbourhood was the first “annexed” by the city of Toronto. The Annex has a fantastic mix of people from all walks of life, from students, artists, business people, movie stars (yes, there are several big names), writers, and the list goes on and on. Despite being a downtown neighbourhood, the Annex has very peaceful streets to explore.
The demographic mix of people in the Annex is typically on the wealthier end of the income scale – most of which are houses. However, there are more and more condos coming to the Annex. That being said, many rental apartments provide more affordable housing for Torontonians. Many of the finest Annex streets have apartment buildings overlooking their backyards. It’s not common in many other wealthy neighbourhoods of Toronto. Annex residents accept that this is part of the cache of living in the area – particularly that diversity and mixed density allow for so much diversity.
Annex Families & Schools
There are some families in the Annex; however, the families are a little more grown-up than more typical “family neighbourhoods,” i.e. children are in high school and university. The reason for fewer young families is that the value of homes is amongst the highest in Toronto. Many existing families purchased ten-plus years ago when homes were far more affordable for a young family to acquire.
Several great schools are dotting the Annex. There is obviously the higher education, post-secondary University of Toronto. There are several options like Royal St. George’s College for boys, flanked by Albany and Howland. Huron Junior Public School, University of Toronto Schools, Palmerston Public School, Howlett Academy. Not to mention the many daycares available for working parents of young children. Annex Montessori is an excellent option for children under the age of 6.
The Annex Lifestyle
The Annex has a wonderful mix of all social classes. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the Annex broke the ice for people moving toward the downtown core again. Many clients were looking to get an “Annex type of home and neighbourhood” elsewhere, at least until they could afford the Annex. This meant that buyers bought around the edges of the Annex, like Seaton Village (ie., West Annex), Little Italy, Dufferin Grove, etc.
Those who love the Annex are diehards, they will never leave. The Annex offers such a diverse neighbourhood that simply cannot be replicated in Toronto. There are not many areas of the city that you can walk to such a wealth of culture. Also, it cannot be overlooked, the “Yorkville-ifaction of the Annex” is happening…and why not? The houses and lots are far larger while only being a ten-minute walk to Yorkville, at most!
➤ For more on things to do in the Annex check out:
- Best Restaurants In The Annex
- Sushi Places In The Annex: Our Top 3 Picks
- Top 3 Annex Brunch Spots
- Our Favourite Annex Patios
What’s Living in The Annex Really Like?
The Annex, however, has been this wonderful mix of all social classes. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the Annex broke the ice for people moving toward the downtown core again. Many clients were looking to get an “Annex type of home and neighbourhood” elsewhere, at least until they could afford the Annex. This meant that buyers bought around the edges of the Annex, like Seaton Village (i.e., West Annex), Little Italy, Dufferin Grove, etc.
Those who love the Annex are diehards, and they will never leave. The Annex offers such a diverse neighbourhood that simply cannot be replicated in Toronto. There are not many areas of the city that you can walk to such a wealth of culture. Also, it cannot be overlooked, the “Yorkville-ifaction of the Annex” is happening…and why not? The houses and lots are far larger while only being a ten-minute walk to Yorkville, at most!
Working With An Annex Real Estate Agent
We have been servicing clients in the annex since 2005. The turnover of residences has been incredible. The shift from student housing has been noticeable. We call it the “Yorkvillifaction of the Annex,” what we mean by this is that the finer styles, tastes and moneyed buyers have begun to fully renovate and restore the Great Annex homes of the neighbourhood. Many students have moved further west to neighbourhoods like the West Annex, Little Italy, Dovercourt Park and the condos south of Bloor.
Knowing the ins and outs of the local Annex real estate market is integral to success. We pride ourselves on offering excellent service, knowledge and professionalism. Also, in us, you get lifelong real estate advisors to assist with questions about your home, investments and the neighbourhood. Call us to discuss how we can help you handle your Annex real estate needs.
Want to know more about living in The Annex? Contact us here to learn more about the latest listings for sale and more neighbourhood information!