Lawrence Park - Sherille Layton

As an immigrant I thought it would be an education for me to look at the history of the community that my family and I are so happy and proud to be a part of.

The Lawrence Park Community has been voted among the top five areas in the city over the last few years in various publications and this just re-affirms how lucky we are as residents to live in this diverse neighbhourhood.

It goes without saying that the major demographic in the area is families and the housing stock in Lawrence Park and the high ranking schools reflect this.

The area itself hosts lush parks and walking trails and our Yonge St corridor has plenty of restaurants and shops to give the residents enough choice and a reason to champion local businesses.

So, when did this all take shape? The assembly of Lawrence Park began in 1907 by the Dovercourt Land Building and Saving Company, which acquired the north parcel of the park from John Lawrence (a tanner and farmer), after whom this neighbourhood is named. English born Wilfrid Servington Dinnick (the young president) was the new visionary for this undeveloped subdivision. He felt that Toronto had reached a level where it could support another Rosedale or Moore Park.

Dinnick saw this creation as a “garden suburb” akin to the gardens suburbs being developed in England. Dinnick later referred to Lawrence Park as the Hampstead Garden Suburb of Canada (Being an ex-Londoner I can especially identify with this as one of my favourite areas in London is Hampstead situated in North West London). He wanted to build a subdivision mainly housing high quality homes on larger lots attracting business executives and professionals. Which is apparent to this day.

The original founders of Sheridan Nurseries now on Yonge Street were commissioned to do the landscape architecture for many of the new homes and also the boulevards and parks in the area. To this day you can see some real enthusiasts in which their gardens are kept.

Lawrence Park’s first advert to attract new home owners was as an “aristocratic neighbourhood”. The Good’s Atlas of 1924 showed 225 houses in Lawrence Park. It was designated strictly as residential.Houses had to be detached, and constructed of brick and stone and have a value of at least $4,000.

Lawrence Park’s houses include a variety of architectural styles including English Cottage, Tudor Revival, Georgian and Colonial style designs. Most of these homes were built between 1910 and the late 1940s. Over the last few years some lots in Lawrence Park have been redeveloped with larger houses which do not match the scale of the original housing in the neighborhood.

Hard to imagine, lots were sold for $15 to $75 a square foot, a world away from current market value which is approximately $900 to $1000 a square foot. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board data homes in the area have literally gone up over 100% the last decade.

Only really in 1949 was the residential tradition compromised with the Toronto Public Library on Yonge Street and the Lawrence Park Community Church.

Two notable institutions to serve the residents of this “garden suburb” are Rosedale Golf Club and the Granite Club.

I think it’s safe to say Wilfrid S. Dinnick’s vision has been met. What we see today is a picturesque “garden suburb” in Toronto with a strong sense of community and one that our friends, children and neighbhours get to enjoy on a daily basis.

If interested in knowing more or if you’re looking to sell, upgrade or buy in Lawrence Park Please call me on 416 419 5893 with all your real estate needs. I am always happy to share neighbourhood statistics with you.


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