Named the second-best neighbourhood in the entire city by Toronto Life magazine in 2013, Banbury Don Mills was developed between two rivers: Wilket Creek and the Don River form its western and eastern boundaries. This modern, affluent community stretches from York Mills in the north to Eglinton in the south.
Banbury Don Mills isn’t as fast-paced as downtown neighbourhoods, but this is no sleepy suburb. It’s an active and vibrant community that takes the business of good living seriously. A google “search nearby” for any address in the area will turn up an amazing array of lessons on offer: foreign languages, art and design, music, fencing, chess and swimming schools are all doing a booming business in the area.
Half a century after its founding, the neighbourhood has aged beautifully, and many of the homes’ unique era-specific features (carports and flat roofs) add a character that’s fairly unique to this part of Toronto. The layout of this community was so successful that it’s considered the go-to model for new suburban development to this day.
This is a truly diverse Toronto neighbourhood, with many first and second generation Canadians. The population’s not only ethnically diverse: with just over 23% of its residents in the 65+ category, there are more seniors here than a lot of other Toronto neighbourhoods. However, the largest population growth category is in the 0-14 range. This means lots of multigenerational households and family togetherness!
Families are spoiled for choice when it comes to schools. In addition to 13 private schools, Banbury Don Mills has several public schools: Rippleton, Denlow, Norman Ingram, Greenland, and Don Mills Middle School. Secondary students can attend York Mills and Don Mills Collegiates. The Toronto Public Library has a large branch adjacent to the Shops at Don Mills. Sunnybrook and North York General hospitals are both close by.
Mere blocks away from the 401 and the 404/Don Valley Expressway, Banbury Don Mills is a great area for those who commute to work by car. The oft-maligned Sheppard line provides the community with much-needed subway access, and there are four main bus routes (95 York Mills, 54 Lawrence East, 32 Eglinton East and 34 Eglinton West) for the convenience of TTC riders.
It’s hard to find fault with such a pleasant and comfortable community. Other than its relative lack of walkability, there’s not much not to love about Banbury Don Mills. If not being able to stroll your groceries directly home from the store without crossing a ravine or river is a problem, it’s one more and more Torontonians seem eager to surmount.
There’s an interesting inconsistency to Banbury Don Mills, in that it’s actually not particularly expensive by Toronto housing standards – coming in at slightly below the average city-wide home price. These savings seems to translate directly into disposable income for residents, who are more than happy to spend $4 for a single scoop of ice cream, or splurge on valet parking at the Cineplex VIP movie theatre.
Shoppers Drug Mart’s Murale opened its first Toronto location at the Shops at Don Mills rather than downtown, and it’s paid off! Dozens of husbands can be seen outside while their wives peruse its wonders.more info
McEwan is the gourmet grocery store of local celebrity chef Mark McEwan. This playground for foodies offers specialty items unavailable anywhere else in Toronto, prepared meals from the chef’s line, a personal shopper, and more.more info
Featuring 17 beautifully and utterly distinct themed gardens, set across four acres of greenspace, the Toronto Botanical Garden also offers “a complete range of innovative indoor and outdoor learning experiences for all ages.”more info
This casual (but not really) dining establishment features a “globally inspired” menu. Reservations are crucial on weekends and most summer weeknights, but cannot be made for the coveted patio seating a storey above street level.more info
Ice ‘n Cake is the place to go for dessert. On summer evenings the line snakes out the door. There’s a patio where parents can sit and watch their offspring play on the astroturf “field.”more info
This community centre is known for its banquet facilities in a breathtaking woodland setting. It’s home to the Banbury Tennis Club, which offers youth classes on its courts. There’s a giant sandbox, playground, and sports fields.more info