The University area is highly characterized by the architecture and community of the University of Toronto. South of Yorkville and The Annex, and north of Kensington, it’s an affluent, well-connected neighbourhood, filled with established eateries, and dotted with independent bookshops and patisseries. Dissected by Harbord Street, it is super bike-friendly and serviced by the Yonge and University subway line, and east-west by the 94 bus and College streetcar.
The grounds of the University themselves are well manicured and filled with joggers and passersby strolling through the greenery. A combination of Romanesque and Gothic Revival buildings constructed from 1858 to 1929 also capture the attention of those meandering through. In summer the gardens serve as a performance space for Shakespeare productions at Philosopher’s Walk.
University of Toronto, 172 St George
Housed in a huge, awe-inspiring building that opened in 1914, with the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition in 2007, there are tons of things to see and do at the Royal Ontario Museum. It’s home to exhibits based on world culture and natural history, from dinosaurs to astrology and ancient civilizations. A little west, The Bata Shoe Museum takes a look 4,500 years back in time from the shoes up, offering a day camp for kids and mixed events including improvisational dance.
Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park
Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West
Harbord Street, just west of the University of Toronto, is home to a string of well-established and well-loved restaurants. From the fancy Splendido, to great gastropub fare at Harbord House and Canadian classic The Harboard Room, you can’t make a wrong turn. Or stop at the charming Harbord Fish & Chips for takeout and perch on the picnic benches outside, or in one of the areas parks, and dig in. (Nearby patisseries Chabichou and Harbord Bakery have you covered for dessert.)
Splendido, 88 Harbord Street
Harbord House, 150 Harbord Street
The Harbord Room, 89 Harbord Street
Harbord Fish and Chips, 147 Harbord Street, 416-925-2225
Relax and Refresh
Two popular yoga centres also inhabit this end of the University area, offering classical Hatha yoga, guided mediations, yoga classes for mothers and children, and weekend courses, encouraging locals of all ages to unwind at their leisure.
Sivanda Yoga Centre, 77 Harbord Street
Lotus Yoga Centre, 100 Harbord Street