Palmerston-Little Italy


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Toronto Communities Profile: Palmerston-Little Italy C01

Palmerston–Little Italy is a neighbourhood in central Toronto. Its boundaries, according to the City of Toronto, are by Bathurst Street to the east, Bloor Street to the north, Dovercourt Road to the west and College Street to the south. It is a mature downtown neighbourhood. Within this official neighbourhood of the City of Toronto are two neighbourhoods, Palmerston and Little Italy and the commercial enclave of Mirvish Village.

The neighbourhood is primarily residential, consisting mainly of residential side streets full of semi-detached homes, mostly built in the early 20th century. The major streets are Bloor Street to the north, running east-west, and has many commercial storefronts and businesses. To the east is Bathurst Street, running north-south, with mostly residences along both sides. Running east-west is Harbord Street, with a mix of residences and commercial storefronts and restaurants. Also running east-west is College Street with a vibrant commercial strip named Little Italy, one of the original ethnically-Italian districts of Toronto. To the west, north-south streets include Ossington Avenue, mainly residential and Dovercourt Road, entirely residential. In the north-east corner of the neighbourhood is “Mirvish Village”, a one-block long enclave of businesses, mostly of arts, immediately west and extending south of the “Honest Ed’s” discount department store at Bathurst and Bloor.

Mirvish Village is a commercial enclave on Markham Street, which is one block west of Bathurst Street, and encompasses the two sides of the street for one block south of Bloor Street. Made up of a series of Victorian homes on Markham Street which now house independently-owned shops, art studios, cafes, bookstores, boutiques and galleries. Between 1959 and 1963, the late Ed Mirvish of Honest Ed’s bought up the east side of the block, immediately south of his store, with the intention of tearing down the houses and building a customer parking lot. Toronto’s municipal government refused to issue a building permit; therefore, Mirvish converted the buildings into art studios and galleries with the help of his wife, Anne, a sculptor. Later, he purchased the houses on the other side of the street.


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