Cradled by curving Hillcrest Drive to the west and Tyrell Avenue to the north, Bracondale Hill is a tiny oasis of stately homes, a little enclave of exclusivity just east of Christie and north of Davenport. Stately brick houses with well-kept gardens on wide roads contrast with the rows of townhouses to the south and apartment buildings to the north.
Many residents of this affluent hamlet have lived here for decades. Stay-at-home moms and dads can be seen picking up their kids and waving to retirees on porches. Those who work from home can be seen tending to their flowers and chatting with neighbors walking their dogs. After school, the local tennis courts are filled with energetic teenagers, while little ones play in the adjoining parkette.
The people of Bracondale Hill are friendly, trusting and warm. This close knit community takes a kindly interest in new neighbours, and is happy to share tips about local schools and goings-on. It is very much a walking community, with its beautiful tree-lined streets making for a relaxing stroll, free of heavy traffic once off the main roads that border it. Bracondale Hill is well within the city but somehow distinct.
The neighbourhood has a mainly Anglo-Canadian flavour, although some of the Italian and Portuguese population that lives along Davenport has been here for generations as well. There are few new Canadians, as families who settle here tend to stay. Young families are everywhere, as are their parents and grandparents. Incomes range from lower-middle class to fairly well-to-do, but attitudes are welcoming rather than elitist.
This little spot-on-the-map maintains its self-sufficiency with a little of everything one needs to live: a library, a popular school, a senior's home, a park with tennis and basketball courts, a well-stocked convenience store that serves as a fruit and vegetable market, as well as a place to grab milk and eggs. Communal gardens and a playground are also part of the park, which is the heart of the community.
Bracondale looks like the kind of neighborhood where parents drive to work and children walk to school, but in fact it has access to public transit as well. Just to the north of Bracondale Hill is a streetcar along St. Clair Avenue, and St. Clair West Station runs along the Yonge-University line, which takes Spadina straight downtown. Davenport also leads quickly to Bathurst, Avenue Road or Yonge Street, any of which can make a commute to the city centre quick and easy.
Planes overhead make a bit of noise - so do fire trucks at a nearby station. Although long driveways filled with cars make Bracondale look like suburbia, public transit is not far away. There is not a lot of rental housing. For high-school aged kids, OakWood Collegiate is not too far. Wychwood Barns is just to the north of the area, as is busy St. Clair Avenue West.
Bracondale Hill is expensive but not ostentatious. The landscaping is tidy but homespun; many residents can be seen tending their gardens. Because there is almost no commercial activity with this miniscule patch of homes, people are free to frequent the expensive shops on St. Clair or the more economical family-owned shops south of Davenport or the farmers market at Wychwood Barns on the weekends.
The Toronto District Public Library on Davenport is a community hub, offering seminars and group activities for seniors and families. It has meeting rooms and computer workstations, as well as a pedometer-lending program.more info
Moms rely heavily on the local convenience store to stay within walking distance of school, grabbing milk on their way home. The nearest big grocer is driving distance, just off Christie at Dupont.
The Hellenic Home is a senior's residence that also offers an adult day-program from Monday to Friday. The weekday option provides senior care while adult children are at work.more info
Run by local volunteers, the Wychwood Tennis Club offers lessons, summer camps, a social doubles program and BBQs. Tennis is very much part of the social fabric of the community.more info
This small middle school shares a building with McMurrich Junior Elementary. Both schools pull from a wider area, bringing greater ethnic and economic diversity to the neighbourhood.more info
Hillcrest Park sits atop the Davenport escarpment, offering a clear view of the downtown core and Lake Ontario. It has a dog off-leash area, a basketball court, tennis courts, a community garden and a playground.more info