Big cities often have districts, or official lines separating the Upper East Side from the Lower East Side, or uptown from midtown. What about Toronto? Unlike New York City, Chicago and other North American cities of its stature, Toronto has no official boroughs, no districts, nor any semblance of official “areas.”
Our city’s most sanctioned locations generally go by intersections: Yonge and Bloor, Yonge-Dundas Square, for example. Sure, we have small enclaves, like Yorkville, the Annex, the Financial District, or the Entertainment District. But what about the internal borders of downtown, midtown, and uptown? Do those exist in our city, or have we as a body of citizens defined our own unofficial borders?
In the absence of official boundaries, sometimes the lines can get blurry (literally) when one tries to conceptualize Toronto’s internal borders. Of course, when all claims are hearsay, who can say what’s right? As far as general consensus goes, most people believe that downtown is defined as the area between the water to Bloor Street, midtown is from Bloor Street to Eglinton Avenue, and uptown is anywhere north of that. What about east to west parameters? General consensus holds that downtown is bordered by Bathurst Street to the west and Sherbourne Street to the east.
Would you agree? Where does uptown end? Is York Mills too far north to still truly be considered uptown? According to official town lines, North York begins at York Mills, so it may be just the right location for the end of uptown. For those of you who think Toronto’s borders go farther than that, we ask: Standing at Yonge and Sheppard, are you really in the city anymore? That’s gotta be North York, right?
Other claims against the aforementioned borders argue that everything south of Dundas Street is downtown, the rest midtown. According to this argument, the University of Toronto would be located in midtown. Who else finds that hard to swallow?
Some also argue that everything north of Bloor Street should be uptown. That would make Yorkville uptown. Given that Yorkville is literally steps from the busiest subway station in the city, not to mention the best shopping, the U of T, the Royal Ontario Museum, etc., it seems a tad farfetched to label this booming neighbourhood “uptown.”
Of course, all of this is simply conjecture. No one can really say for sure that Yonge and Eglinton marks the end of midtown and the beginning of uptown. And, 50 years ago, Bloor may well have been a far cry from downtown territory. This just goes to show that as the city grows and changes, so too do its internal borders. Who knows, maybe one day Yonge and Sheppard will mark the end of downtown- imagine that!
What do you think should be considered downtown, midtown and uptown? Join in on the debate and let us know in the comment section below!