City Place is one of those neighborhoods that popped up overnight, filling in the industrial area along the rail yards with condos and parks. While it lacks the soul and charm of older neighborhoods, it makes up for in how accessible it is to downtown and the waterfront.
Things to do
To the East are the Rogers Center, Ripley’s Aquarium, Roundhouse Park, Powerplant Gallery, and the Convention Center. Oh yeah, and the CN Tower.
To the West are Exhibition Place, Ontario Place, and everything Trinity Bellwoods has to offer.
To the South are the Toronto Islands.
The Bentway has brought the area under the Gardener Expressway and brought it to life. In the warm months there are art installations and regular events. During the cold months there’s the skating rink.
Fort York provides historic reenactments and hosts events. Part of the green is open to the public, although most of the site requires admission.
The area has great parks. In the summer there are events all along the waterfront. June Callwood Park is small, but very instagrammable (and don’t miss the Queens Wharf Lighthouse just outside the park). Canoe Landing Park has great views of the skyline. HTO Park has great views of the Islands. Coronation Park has a large waterfront dog run and athletic fields.
There aren’t very many cafes, bars, or restaurants in the neighborhood. The ones that are there tend to be mobbed with tourists, especially in the summer. Being on the waterfront will do that.
Depending on where you are in City Place, you can easily be a 20 minute walk from downtown, Queen West, the Entertainment District, Liberty Village, and Trinity Bellwoods.
It might not feel that way, though, since crossing the Gardener Expressway and the train tracks makes it feel much farther. The streets in City Place are oversize, so even going a few blocks to the waterfront might involve crossing 20 lanes of speeding traffic. The sound of cars, trains, and drunk tourists echoes off the glass towers. There’s also the sound of the airport, although I hardly noticed that.
Streetcars have dedicated lanes along Queens Quay, Spadina, and King, making them very reliable. There’s also the streetcar along Bathurst and a number of bus routes. Union Station is either a short walk or a short streetcar ride away.
The incredible proximity to Billy Bishop Airport is a huge draw if you’re a frequent flyer.
If you have a car, you’re starting off right downtown and can easily hop on the Gardiner to get out of town.
While it feels a bit out of the way — I was really tired of walking the same routes in and out of the neighborhood — friends were happy to come meet me. People who would never dream of taking the subway a few stops down the Danforth were eager for an excuse to come to the waterfront, check out The Bentway, or meet me on King Street.
There’s easy access to downtown for shopping. The little bit of retail in City Place offers plenty of dry cleaners and other small neighborhood service providers. The only pharmacy is the Shoppers on Queens Quay and Spadina, which is a hike from most of the neighborhood.
What City Place lacks is a real grocery store. There’s a little Sobey’s Urban Fresh with a Wine Store inside. If you want something else, you’ll be trekking to the Loblaws on Queen West or the Metro in Liberty Village.
The only thing you’re at risk of in City Place is getting hit by a car while crossing one of those extra wide streets.
City Place is a land of glass towers. Glass towers with fantastic views and fancy amenities. There are a few older buildings right on the water or hard lofts, but the vast majority of housing has popped up in the past few years. There are more projects in the works, but at this point it’s pretty built out. Hopefully as more buildings are finished the retail situation will improve.
It’s more than just condos and the occasional townhouse. You can live-aboard seasonally at the National Yacht Club or year round at Queens Quay West Marina.
City Place is as affordable as anywhere downtown. Prices are kept down by the sheer number of virtually identical condos on the market. However, many of the condos have been designed for maximizing units, not making them comfortable. Many layouts are just plain weird and the bedrooms are often at or near the legal minimum. Ask for a floor plan of the unit before you waste your time looking at a place that’s not going to work for you.
The lack of a proper grocery store nearby can drive up your cost of living. All of the shops accessible without a car are upscale, so your grocery bill would be significantly higher here than in other parts of the city.