Yorkville, situated northeast of the University of Toronto, has transformed into a chic, high-end shopping district lined with luxury stores, art galleries, restaurants, and historic homes. Known in the 1960s as the "hippie capital of Canada," Yorkville was once home to cultural personalities, including Joni Mitchell and Margaret Atwood.
As one of Toronto’s historic neighborhoods, Yorkville is a stop on most hop-on hop-off bus tours, a convenient way for visitors to explore without the hassle of navigating on their own. Others opt for private tours, tacking a meal or visit to the high-end “Mink Mile” shopping strip onto their customized itineraries. A private guide provides context about historic landmarks that visitors often miss when exploring alone.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Yorkville is a must-visit for both history buffs and serious shoppers.
- Make restaurant reservations in advance to skip long lines during evenings and on weekends.
- The time limit for street parking is three hours unless specified otherwise.
How to Get There
Located northeast of the University of Toronto, Yorkville is easily accessible via Toronto’s comprehensive public transit system. The nearest Metro stops are Museum Station on the line 1 and Bay Station on the line 2, or take bus 300 or 6 to Bloor Street West and Bay Street. Alternatively, Toronto’s bike-share program offers a more scenic route. A bike dock is conveniently located on the southeast corner of Bloor and Bay streets.
When to Get There
As an upscale shopping and dining hub, Yorkville is busiest at dinnertime and on weekends. Visit during these hours to get a feel for the bustle and atmosphere of the neighborhood. For a quieter experience, go just as the shops open around 10am. Yorkville also hosts an annual summer car show, where locals and visitors flock to pedestrian-only streets for luxury car displays, as well as a winter ice festival that showcases elaborate sculptures.
Village of Yorkville Park
After 18 years of lobbying for public green space, residents convinced the city in 1992 to build Yorkville Park on top of a former parking lot. The park is divided into 11 sections that represent Canada’s distinct landscapes, from forests to prairies, and features a 1-billion-year-old rock from the Canadian Shield. Sandwiched between historic homes and upscale boutiques, Yorkville Park is an ideal spot to relax, eat lunch, or people-watch.