Roncesvalles is known for its European ambience and small-town feel. This neighbourhood is popular with young families who appreciate the convenience of the location just west of downtown. The close proximity to High Park, Toronto waterfront bicycle and walking trails, easy access to public transit, and the Roncesvalles shops and restaurants are also popular drawing cards.

The Roncesvalles Polish Festival, which takes place annually in September, attracts thousands of visitors. Roncesvalles Avenue is closed off for this festival that includes Polish dancers, children’s games and rides, polka bands and lots of food and refreshments.

Roncesvalles Avenue is said to be a favourite among streetcar enthusiasts, who relish the fact that the stops are distanced far enough apart for the streetcar to build up some speed, and who appreciate the picturesque and lively atmosphere along the route.


History of Roncesvalles


Roncesvalles was originally settled by Colonel Walter O’Hara in 1850. O’Hara was a soldier in the British army prior to immigrating to Canada.  O’Hara was wounded and captured by the French in the Roncesvalles Gorge in northern Spain; hence the name Roncesvalles. O’Hara, who was originally from Ireland, named the streets here after family members including: O ’Hara, Geoffrey, Constance, Marion and Sorauren. Fermanaugh is the province in Northern Ireland where the O’Hara clan originated.

The development of the present-day neighbourhood was spurred on by the street-car, which came to this area in the early 1900s. Roncesvalles was a family-oriented neighbourhood right from the start. Nearby industries offered employment to the many British immigrants that settled here. The landmark St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church on Roncesvalles was the spiritual centre of these first residents.

Following the Second World War an influx of Eastern Europeans, predominantly Poles, settled in Roncesvalles. They built their own church: St.Casimir’s. Sir Casimir Gzowski, a Polish patriot, settled in Toronto in the early 1850s and was instrumental in the building of Toronto’s roads and railways


Homes in Roncesvalles


Roncesvalles Village is brimming with beautiful turn-of-the-century homes that are accented with whimsical architectural details. Pretty front porches and well tended gardens compliment the pretty houses. A lush and mature tree canopy make for a very pleasing streetscape. Most of the houses are attached or semi-detached with a sprinkling of detached houses. Garages are tucked away out of sight at the rear of the house off laneways.


Lifestyle in Roncesvalles


Roncesvalles Village, called “Roncy” by the locals, is more than just an up and coming neighbourhood in Toronto’s West End — It has arrived! The neighbourhood is known for its European influence, warm and inviting ambience and tight-knit community. While hoards of young professionals and families are moving into Roncy, the neighbourhood is an increasingly popular destination for Torontonians who are finding new ways to explore their own city. The oversized Roncesvalles sidewalks beg to be strolled upon. We stroll from Dundas West to Queen Street and I find myself drawn to the local fresh produce markets, delighted by the people watching opportunities as we dodge a few dogs and kids, finally coming full stop at one of the many enticing European cafes, for a pastry and a pause. Who knew you could find your favorite health food products, reasonable gift options, great kids’ clothing, old-school hardware goods and the best Schnitzel dinner in town, all on one street? That’s Roncesvalles for you and we think it’s worth a visit.


Recreation in Roncesvalles


High Park is a short walk west of this neighbourhood. Visitors to this park can engage in a myriad of sport opportunities, from tennis to fishing in Grenadier Pond. There is also a popular children’s playground and a zoo. Walkers, joggers and nature enthusiasts will enjoy the many trails that traverse this park.Local parks include Sorauren Park, at the northeast corner of Sorauren and Wabash, and the Charles G. Williams Park at the southeast corner of Sorauren and Wabash. The Keele Community Centre on Glenlake Avenue has an indoor pool. High Park Library on Roncesvalles Avenue offers programs for children and adults.


Transportation in Roncesvalles


Streetcar service is available on Queen Street, Dundas Street and Roncesvalles Avenue, with stops at numerous subway stations along the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth lines.The Lansdowne bus stops at the Lansdowne subway station on the Bloor-Danforth line. Go Transit has a station at the Crossways, on the north-east corner of Bloor Street West and Dundas Street West. Commuters can access Union Station from this line. Motorists are approximately a 15-minute drive from the downtown core.


Schools in Roncesvalles



Fern Avenue Junior and Senior Public School (GR. JK-08)
128 Fern Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 1K3

Parkdale Collegiate Institute (GR. 09-12)
209 Jameson Ave, Toronto, ON  M6K 2Y3

Bloor Collegiate Institute (GR. 09-12)
1141 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M9

Western Technical-Commercial School (GR. 09-12)
125 Evelyn Cres, Toronto, ON M6P 3E3

Karin Kain School of Arts (Gr 6 – 8)
60 Berl Ave Etobicoke, ON   M8Y 3C7

Etobicoke School of the Arts (Gr 9 – 12)
675 Royal York Rd Toronto, ON M8Y 2T1


St. Helen Catholic School (Gr JK – 08)
1196 College Street Toronto, ON, M6H 1B8

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School (Gr JK – 08) Regular Program (Gr 5 – 8) French Immersion
116 Fermanagh Avenue Toronto, ON M6R 1M2

James Culnan Catholic School (GR 1 to 6) – French Immersion
605 Willard Avenue Toronto, ON M6S 3S1

St Josaphat – Eastern Rite (Gr JK – 08)
24 Tenth St Toronto, ON M8V 3G1

St Mary Catholic Academy (Gr 9 – 12)
66 Dufferin Park Avenue Toronto, ON M6H 1J6

Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton – Regional Arts Centre (Gr 9 – 12)
1515 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON M6P 1A3

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