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Forest Hill, Toronto

Coordinates: 43°42′00″N 79°25′00″W / 43.70000°N 79.41667°W / 43.70000; -79.41667
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Forest Hill
Streetscape of Warren Road in Forest Hill
Streetscape of Warren Road in Forest Hill
Location of Forest Hill
Forest Hill, Toronto is located in Toronto
Forest Hill, Toronto
Location within Toronto
Coordinates: 43°42′00″N 79°25′00″W / 43.70000°N 79.41667°W / 43.70000; -79.41667
Incorporated1923 (Village)
 • Total23,155

Forest Hill is a neighbourhood and former village in Midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located north of Downtown Toronto. The village was amalgamated into Toronto in 1967 and the area has retained its name as a neighbourhood. Along with other neighbourhoods such as Rosedale and The Bridle Path, it is one of Toronto's wealthiest neighbourhoods, with an average income, among income recipients 15 or older in private households, of $157,600 in Forest Hill South and $89,700 in Forest Hill North,[1] compared to the $59,250 average income in Toronto's Census Metropolitan Area and $54,450 in Canada as a whole.[2]


Forest Hill was originally incorporated as a village in 1923, and later amalgamated by the province into the City of Toronto in 1967, along with the Village of Swansea. The village was named after the summer home of John Wickson, the father of Toronto architect Frank Wickson; previously, it had been known as Spadina Heights (a name that continued to be applied to the neighbourhood into the twentieth century). Spadina Heights is a derivative of the First Nations (namely Ojibwe) word ishapadenah, meaning a hill or sudden rise in land. Rather than electing a mayor as in a city, the leading municipal official was the reeve of the village.[citation needed]

In the late 1960s, the City of Toronto planned to construct a highway that would run from Highway 401 to downtown Toronto via the Cedarvale Ravine and Spadina Road. Forest Hill and the Annex would be bisected by the proposed route, and numerous local houses would be sacrificed for the new expressway. This prompted local residents to rise to protest and raise the awareness of the greater public. The provincial government was forced to withdraw its support for the so-called Spadina Expressway in 1971.[citation needed]

The Forest Hill War Memorial was erected by Page and Steele Architects at Eglinton Avenue and Vesta Road in 1980, in memory of those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.[3]

When the Village was amalgamated into the City of Toronto, the agreement granted local residents the right to have their garbage picked up from their doorstep rather than from the curb. It wasn't until 1993 that the public learned that this extra service cost $420,000 a year and was paid for by the municipal government. This time, the public opinion of other Torontonians forced the city to discontinue this favour to Forest Hill residents.[4]

The neighbourhood's original[clarification needed] boundaries were Bathurst Street to the west, Upper Canada College to the east, Eglinton Avenue to the north, and Lonsdale Road and a portion of Montclair Avenue to the south (the original boundaries of School Section 30). Neighbourhoods north of Eglinton are sometimes though not unanimously regarded as Forest Hill. In 1999 Robert Fulford compared Forest Hill to Rosedale, the other traditional home of Toronto's elite: "While Rosedale has remained stable for half a century, Forest Hill's prestige has been growing steadily. There's a key tonal difference in the architecture of the two places: where big Rosedale houses shout 'history,' big Forest Hill houses shout 'grandeur.' More than any other district in the central city, Forest Hill has become the site of spectacular new 'neo-traditional' homes built on a grand scale, usually with lawns to match."[5]


Currently, for the purposes of social policy analysis & research, the city of Toronto's Social Development, Finance & Administration division divides Forest Hill into two neighbourhoods: Forest Hill North and Forest Hill South.[6]

Forest Hill Village is the commercial part of Forest Hill, a short block along Spadina Road, on either side of Lonsdale. Forest Hill extends roughly from Briar Hill Avenue in the north (the Upper Village, officially part of Forest Hill North) to Heath Street in the south (the Lower Village, officially the major part of Forest Hill South along Spadina Road between Bathurst Street/Cedarvale Ravine (whichever is further east) and Avenue Road. The designations Upper and Lower are based on height of land and not on positions on a map or along a watercourse.

Forest Hill is home to extensive residential development, including apartments.

Forest Hill Village was completely developed by the 1930s[4] and is known for its upscale shopping and dining, although the actual mix of stores includes several modest enterprises. Forest Hill Village has attracted extensive residential development (especially of apartments), both within the original boundaries of Forest Hill and in adjacent neighbourhoods to which developers have now extended the Village and Forest Hill names.

The Upper Village was slower to develop because it had previously been occupied by the old Belt Line Railway, and then by industry.[7] Its houses were built mostly in the 1940s and 50's. Many homes have been, or are being significantly renovated, with some being torn down completely to make way for monster 'neo-classical' homes.[4]

Forest Hill North extends from Briar Hill Avenue in the north to Eglinton Avenue West in the south, and from Latimer Avenue in the east to Allen Road and Marlee Avenue in the north-west and south-west, respectively. For administrative purposes, Forest Hill North is Toronto neighbourhood #102.[6]

As the name would imply, Forest Hill South (designated as Toronto neighbourhood #101) is directly south of Forest Hill North. It extends from Eglinton Ave West in the north to Tichester Road in the south, and from Bathurst Street in the west to Elmsthorpe Road in the northeast and Avenue Road and the Oriole Parkway in the east. There is an additional stretch of Forest Hill South between Bathurst Street and Spadina Road, north of Lonsdale Road. South Hill borders Forest Hill South to the south.[citation needed]

For administrative purposes, Forest Hill North is Toronto neighbourhood #102. Politically, the residents of Forest Hill North are represented either in the Eglinton-Lawrence ward or in the St. Paul's (west) ward.[8] Meanwhile, Forest Hill South is neighbourhood #101. Similarly, the residents of Forest Hill South are represented in either the St. Paul's (west) ward or the St. Paul's (east) ward.[9]


Like many neighbourhoods found within Toronto, there is always a correlation between districts as well as nodes. In other words, where there are nodes, then there most likely will be a district. In further depth, a node can be defined as strategic foci into which the observer can enter, typically either through junctions of paths, or concentrations of some characteristic.[10] On the other hand, districts can be defined as areas that have some common character.[10] They can be recognized internally, and occasionally be used as a reference point. In the case of Forest Hill, this is one primary characteristic of the neighbourhood.[citation needed]

Unlike many neighbourhoods, where interaction of people and the overall community is spread throughout, such as Riverdale, Forest Hill is unique in that a lot of its interaction is observable in clusters (most noticeably around nodes).[citation needed]

The intersection of Bathurst Street and Eglinton Avenue is a major community node for the neighbourhood.

The notable nodes found in the neighbourhood include the intersection of Lonsdale and Spadina Road, St Clair Ave West and Bathurst Street, as well as Eglinton Ave West and Bathurst Street. In further analysis, the node of Lonsdale and Spadina Road is enhanced with the cluster of small independently owned stores and various services such as banking, fitness, etc. Similarly, the intersection of Eglinton Ave West and Bathurst Street is strengthened with high end retail shops. Finally, the node of Bathurst Street and St Clair Ave West is further reinforced with the establishment of a Loblaws as well as the accessibility to the subway, St Clair West Station.[citation needed]

Subsequently, these nodes have led to the development of many well known districts within the area, such as Forest Hill Village, located in the intersection between Lonsdale and Spadina Road. Secondly, the commercial strip line on Eglinton Ave West, as a product of the Eglinton Ave West – Bathurst Street intersection. Lastly, the development of low-rise apartments district found along the corner of Bathurst Street and St Clair Ave West. Ultimately, beyond these clusters of interaction, Forest Hill is a quiet residential area.[citation needed]


Characteristics of housing as well as streetscapes are dominant in providing the outsider a simple yet strong image of the Forest Hill neighbourhood. In other words, neighbourhoods in Toronto are sometimes characterized by their housing types and/or streetscape. For instance, the Leaside neighbourhood is noted for its many trees or the Rosedale neighbourhood being noted for distinct and large lot housing.[citation needed]

Throughout Forest Hill, the conventional suburbs housing style (without the aspect of homogeneous households), makes up the majority of the area. In simplicity, Forest Hill housing has dominant traits of the conventional suburbs housing type. In further analysis, characteristics of low density, large lots (being car-oriented), as well as having segregated land uses are all evident in the neighbourhood.[citation needed]

A significant amount of the residential housing is based on the conventional suburbs type. However, its characteristics of singularity make it distinct from housing in other parts of Toronto.[10] In other words, houses, schools, places of worship and other building types are all architecturally built with different styles. Each building is distinct from one another. For instance, the town houses located in the East York neighbourhood or the semi detached housing in Davisville, are more or less homogeneous in design compared to the housing style of Forest Hill.

The Upper Village is dominated by Tudor and Georgian styles, but the architectural styles range from French Colonial with terra cotta tiles to English country manors with sweeping lawns. Luxurious details such as sculpture gardens, porte-cochères, and imposing gated entrances are quite widespread. For example, Old Forest Hill Road hosts "a style of domestic architecture that's often been described as Stockbroker Baronial".[11] Forest Hill also contains a fair number of luxury condominium buildings located west of Spadina on Lonsdale Road.[4]

In 2007, the average sale price for a Forest Hill South home was $4,320,000, although renting a place in the neighbourhood was still relatively affordable as of 2011.[4] Like much of Toronto today, that is no longer the case.

The density in Forest Hill is fairly low as composed of mainly low-density housing. The housing is predominantly detached houses with several semi-detached and town homes. Although it is mainly low-density housing, the lots are not as large as the ones found in suburban Richmond Hill. Forest Hill detached homes are mostly on smaller lots with houses closer to each other. Higher-density and mixed uses are found at the major roads and nodes of the neighbourhood mainly on Eglinton Ave, St Clair West and Spadina Ave. At those major roads, it is the only place we see different uses other than residential. here are grocery stores, convenient stores, coffee shops and offices in those areas.[citation needed]


Timothy Eaton Memorial Church is a notable landmark in Forest Hill.

Several elements that contribute to the unique character of the area are its sidewalks and local roads, as well as landscaping and natural environment. A majority of the area does not have sidewalks. Streets are often very wide within the residential interior of the neighbourhood. Additionally, the streets of the area are littered with many stop signs as well as a fair number of speed bumps.

Along with sidewalks and streets, landscaping and the natural surroundings are also a large part of the character of the neighbourhood. First and foremost, landscaping is frequent at many homes. More often than not, properties have unusual trees and plants as well as intricate designed pieces of foliage that run along the front, sides as well as back of the houses. Further, simple yards are also well maintained at most homes. Overall, explicit landscaping and good maintenance of yards are indicators of economic status and with regards to Forest Hill. It reinforces the idea of a neighbourhood with higher incomes.[10]

St. Clair Avenue West is the major east-west road to the south of the village and it is lined with commercial and retail buildings. Spadina Road has a variety of uses ranging from coffee shops, fitness and independent retail stores along the road. Spadina Road is the only transit route running through the neighbourhood, while St. Clair Avenue has a streetcar line connecting to the Yonge-University_Spadina subway. Notable landmarks and structures in Forest Hill include Eglinton Theatre, Grace Church on-the-Hill, and Timothy Eaton Memorial Church.



2011 census[edit]

Forest Hill North top 5 ethnic and cultural groups (by ancestry) in 2011:[12]

Forest Hill South top 5 ethnic and cultural groups (by ancestry) in 2011:[13]

The numbers add up to more than 100% due to people of mixed ancestry.

2021 census[edit]

Forest Hill North top 10 ethnic and cultural groups (by ancestry) in 2021:[1]

Forest Hill South top 10 ethnic and cultural groups (by ancestry) in 2021:[1]

Family profile[edit]

2006 census[edit]

Couple Family Structure Forest Hill North 2006[14]

  • 89.9% - Married
  • 29.8% - Without children at home
  • 60.0% - With children at home
  • 21.8% - 1 child
  • 26.4% - 2 children
  • 11.4% - 3 or more children
  • 10.1% - Common-law couples
  • 8.0% - Without children at home
  • 2.1% - With children at home
  • 0.6% - 1 child
  • 1.1% - 2 children
  • 0.0% - 3 or more children

Couple Family Structure Forest Hill South 2006[15]

  • 88.2% - Married
  • 37.6% - Without children at home
  • 50.4% - With children at home
  • 13.7% - 1 child
  • 26.4% - 2 children
  • 11.4% - 3 or more children
  • 15.4% - Common-law couples
  • 11.8% - Without children at home
  • 10.3% - With children at home
  • 1.1% - 1 child
  • 1.1% - 2 children
  • 0.0% - 3 or more children

2021 census[edit]

Family structure, Forest Hill North:[1]

  • Total couple families in private households: 2,710 (100%)
  • Married couples: 2,390 (88.2%)
  • Married couples with children: 1,470 (54.2%)
  • Common-law couples: 315 (11.6%)
  • Common-law couples with children: 95 (3.5%)
  • Children in a two-parent family: 2,950
  • Children in a one-parent family: 765
  • Average number of children in census families with children: 1.8

Family structure, Forest Hill South:[1]

  • Total couple families in private households: 2,540 (100%)
  • Married couples: 2,155 (84.8%)
  • Married couples with children: 1,100 (43.3%)
  • Common-law couples: 380 (15.0%)
  • Common-law couples with children: 80 (3.1%)
  • Children in a two-parent family: 2,305
  • Children in a one-parent family: 510
  • Average number of children in census families with children: 1.9

Jewish community[edit]

Wealthy Jews began moving into the village in the 1930s. Holy Blossom Temple relocated to 1950 Bathurst Street in 1938, just outside the boundaries of Forest Hill, as a majority of its "uptown" membership had moved north of St. Clair Avenue. By 1941, Forest Hill village had 1,295 Jewish residents (11% of the population).[16] With the mass suburbanization of the Toronto Jewish community after 1945, the Jewish population of Forest Hill grew to 11,000 by 1961.[17] Forest Hill has a number of businesses catering to the Jewish community along Eglinton Avenue West. The 2021 census figures show 8,925 people who gave their religion as Jewish, 38.5% of the total; in answer to the census question about cultural or ethnic origin, 5,125 said Jewish, which is 22.1% of the total (these figures are for Forest Hill North and Forest Hill South combined, as compiled and published by the City of Toronto).[1]


Reeves of the Village of Forest Hill[edit]

  • 1924–28 Lawrence H. Baldwin
  • 1929–30 A.H. Keith Russell
  • 1931–32 Andrew Hazlett
  • 1933–35 Dr. Hugh M. Cook
  • 1936–37 Arthur S. Leitch
  • 1938–49 Frederick Goldwin Gardiner - became the first Metropolitan Toronto Chairman (1953-1962)
  • 1950–51 Bruce Pettit Davis - lawyer[18]
  • 1952 Stewart Robertson - investment broker[19]
  • 1953-55 Charles O. Bick - resigned to become the first chairman of the Metropolitan Toronto Board of Police Commissioners (1955-1977)[20]
  • 1956–62 Laurie T. Simonsky - a merchant, and past president of Holy Blossom Temple[21][22]
  • 1963–67 Edwin J. Pivnick - a professional engineer and a lawyer, was a physics lecturer at University of Toronto before attending law school. He was one of the founders of law firm Minden Gross in 1950. Was first elected to council in 1959. As reeve and a Metro Toronto Councillor, served on Metro's executive committee in 1964 and 1965. Considered running for Mayor of Toronto in 1969 as an official Liberal Party candidate but withdrew his name from consideration at the nominating convention.[23][24][25][26]


Forest Hill Collegiate Institute is a public secondary school operated by the Toronto District School Board.

Secular English-oriented public schools in Forest Hill are operated by the Toronto District School Board. In addition to the Toronto District School Board, three other publicly funded school boards operate in Toronto. The publicly funded English-oriented separate schools in Toronto are operated by the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Secular French-oriented public schools are provided by Conseil scolaire Viamonde, whereas French-oriented public separate school are provided by Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. However, the latter three school boards do not operate a school in Forest Hill. Public schools in the area include:

  • Forest Hill Collegiate Institute
  • Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School (Formerly South Preparatory Public School and Forest Hill Senior Public School)
  • West Preparatory Public School
  • North Preparatory Public School

In addition to publicly funded institutions, Forest Hill is home to three private school which provide primary and secondary levels of education. They include:

Notable residents[edit]

Sharon Fichman
Zach Hyman
Colby Rasmus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Neighbourhood Profiles". City of Toronto: Social Development, Finance & Administration. October 6, 2023. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  2. ^ "Census Profile. 2021 Census of Population. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-X2021001". Statistics Canada. November 15, 2023. Retrieved February 15, 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  3. ^ "Forest Hill War Memorial". National Defence Canada. 2008-04-16. Archived from the original on 2014-05-23. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f The history of the Forest Hill neighbourhood by Elli Davis, accessed on June 30, 2011.
  5. ^ "1999 real estate guide." Fulford, Robert. Toronto Life. Toronto: March 1999. Volume. 33, Iss. 3; pg. Insert
  6. ^ a b "About Toronto Neighbourhoods". City of Toronto. Retrieved 2024-02-15.
  7. ^ History of Forest Hill Archived 2019-09-08 at the Wayback Machine by Torontoneighbourhoods.net, accessed on June 30, 2011.
  8. ^ City of Toronto: Neighbourhood profiles - Forest Hill North
  9. ^ City of Toronto: Neighbourhood profiles - Forest Hill South
  10. ^ a b c d Lynch, Kevin A. (1960). Image of the City. Chicago: MIT Press.
  11. ^ Harris, Marjorie (1984). Toronto: the city of neighbourhoods. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-09-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-09-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Social Profile #3 - Neighbourhoods Families & Dwellings" (PDF). 14 July 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 17, 2012.
  15. ^ "Social Profile #3 - Neighbourhoods Families & Dwellings" (PDF). 14 July 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2012.
  16. ^ "Canadian Jewish Review | Multicultural Canada". Archived from the original on 2014-07-08. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  17. ^ "Number of Jewish Residents in Toronto Decreases; Increases in Suburbs". Jta.org. March 20, 2015.
  18. ^ Acclaim Council In Forest Hill The Globe and Mail (1936-2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]18 Nov 1950: 5.
  19. ^ Former Reeve Of Forest Hill Served Overseas Robertson, Stewart. The Globe and Mail (1936-2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]11 Sep 1954: 8
  20. ^ He May Be Bad Omen, New Reeve Warns Metro The Globe and Mail (1936-2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]16 May 1956: 5.
  21. ^ Reeve Acclaimed In Forest Hill The Globe and Mail (1936-2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]20 Nov 1956: 9
  22. ^ Laurie T. Simonsky The Globe and Mail (1936-2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]21 Dec 1951: 5
  23. ^ Lawyer last Forest Hill reeve The Globe and Mail (1936-2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]17 June 1980: 11.
  24. ^ Edward Pivnick Forest Hill reeve, Toronto Star (1971-2009); Toronto, Ontario [Toronto, Ontario]17 June 1980: A15.
  25. ^ 'Ouf to beat Old Guard': No party split: Clarkson, Enright, Michael. The Globe and Mail (1936-2016); Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]25 Sep 1969: 5.
  26. ^ "Toronto law firm Minden Gross plans to wind down operations following high-profile departures and failed merger talks". Globe and Mail. December 22, 2023. Retrieved January 17, 2024.
  27. ^ Sharon Fichman and her quest for court glory - Post City Magazines - August 2013 - Toronto, Ontario
  28. ^ "House of the week: $12 million worth of charm in Forest Hill". torontolife.com. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Gilmour trades hockey for homes". Archived from the original on May 30, 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2018 – via The Globe and Mail.
  30. ^ "Rising son". Toronto Life: 50–58. May 1993.
  31. ^ "Sundin unloads lavish Forest Hill digs - Toronto Star". thestar.com. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2018.

External links[edit]