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Bordered by Bloor Street West on the north, south to Berry Road, Riverwood Parkway on the east, and west to Spring Garden Park, this desired neighbourhood was founded by Alexander Thompson who purchased 200 acres of land in the early 1800’s where he built and lived in a stone residence known as “Rose Bank Cottage” just south of Bloor Street West and Royal York Road. Thompson’s son, Archibald, lived in a farmhouse just south of his father’s called “Spring Bank Cottage”, which still stands today as a private residence on Meadowcrest Road. His estate was populated with numerous fruit trees; many of these plum, apple, cherry and pear trees still stand and are especially plentiful in the small pocket of Sunnylea known as The Thompson Orchard (west of Royal York Rd, south of Bloor Street West).
Over the decades, construction of bungalows and 1-1/2 storey homes would dominate the area, which are interspersed with the older Tudor-style cottages of an older vintage. Recently, many of the houses have been “topped-up” with second storeys, although many area-specific by-laws have been enacted to preserve the original character of the community. There are a handful of original Sunnylea farm houses on Prince Edward Drive that have been lovingly restored and maintained by current owners and add an air of whimsy and charm to the neighbourhood. Sunnylea’s bungalow, split-level, storey-and- a-half, and two-storey houses were built mostly in the 1940’s and 1950’s. All of these houses are detached and include at least a thirty foot frontage and a private drive. The Tudor style houses closer to Bloor Street are the older houses in this neighbourhood. Many of these houses feature handsome Riverstone exteriors, bay windows, stone chimneys, wrought iron railings and decorative front porches. Sunnylea residents in the area bound by Bloor Street, Royal York Road, and the Mimico Creek, have been progressive in forming the Thompson Orchard Community Association. This association has been successful in getting the city to pass site specific zoning by-laws designed to protect the residential character of this neighbourhood.
Sunnylea is one of Toronto’s most idyllic neighbourhoods. It is especially popular with young families. There is a country charm here with no sidewalks on many of the tree-lined streets. The Humber River forms the eastern boundary of the neighbourhood and Mimico Creek gently meanders through the centre of this neighbourhood. The exclusion of sidewalks on many of the streets add to Sunnylea’s quaintness and charm. Sunnylea is known for its excellent schools which are a popular drawing card.
Sunnylea residents enjoy convenient access to Bloor Street West, Kingsway shops, restaurants, professional services and amenities. This well planned retail corridor boasts a pedestrian friendly atmosphere and features comfortable park benches, evergreen trees, and expensive looking cast iron street lamps. It is a commuter’s dream with easy transit/subway access, close to major highways and corridors, as well as being close to the Lake and the airport.