What Makes The Republic Of Rathnelly So Great?

One of Toronto’s most unique neighbourhoods, the Republic of Rathnelly is a quiet midtown residential community along the base of the prehistoric Lake Iroquois shoreline. Initially formed out of the estate of William McMaster, and named for his home county in Ireland, the Republic of Rathnelly has a rich history of political identity and community activism. After the proposed Spadina Expressway threatened the neighbourhood’s future, residents of Rathnelly took to the streets on June 10, 1967, to declare themselves an independent republic as an act of protest.

By 1968, Rathnelly was holding its own community elections. They appointed an official city hall ambassador, named a local poodle as head of state, issued passports, and even drafted a neighbourhood constitution. They also elected a queen: 30-year neighbourhood resident Aileen Robertson. Today, the Republic’s coat of arms, which includes martini glasses as a nod to Aileen, can be seen on street signs throughout the neighbourhood.

Types of Homes

Consisting of only 250 households, housing in Rathnelly reflects its middle-class roots. With most homes being built between 1880 and 1910, several properties in the neighbourhood feature tell-tale signs of early Canadian infrastructure, such as milk delivery doors, maid stairs, high ceilings and coal shoots. As a relatively small community, housing in Rathnelly is limited to mainly detached and semi-detached solid brick homes in the Victorian or Bay-and-Gable architectural styles.




You Should See

Despite being one of the city’s lesser-known communities, Rathnelly has a lot to offer both residents and visitors. Along Avenue Road, the Brown Community Centre features a ton of excellent fitness amenities, including an indoor pool, gymnasium, baseball diamond, and tennis courts. For fans of the great outdoors, Nordheimer Ravine features a variety of large nature trails. The ravine also cuts through Sir Winston Churchill Park, which has additional perks like floodlit tennis courts, a wading pool and a large children’s playground. Just outside of Rathnelly, the Baldwin Steps (which lead to Casa Loma) offer some of the best views of the Toronto skyline during the day and at night.

Neighbourhood Hotspots

While Rathnelly is primarily a residential area, there are some fantastic dining options right outside of its borders. Along Davenport Road, Flor de Sal Restaurant serves modern fine-dining renditions of classic European dishes in a beautifully converted heritage home. Nestled inside the historic Toronto landmark, Casa Loma, BlueBlood Steakhouse features one of the most unique upscale dining experiences in the city.

Getting Around

Thanks to Rathnelly’s unique location getting around is fairly easy. Avenue Road, which serves as the neighbourhood’s eastern edge offers fast access to the city centre and midtown. Frequent TTC bus service along the road offer reduces the need for driving in the high-traffic downtown core. The Republic also has great subway access with Summerhill and Dupont stations only a short ten-minute walk away.


Neighbourhood Walk Score


Neighbourhood Transit Score

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