Roncesvalles Village was founded in 1850 by colonel Walter O’Hara, an Irishman who fought in the British Army before immigrating to Canada. O’Hara was wounded and captured by the French in the Roncesvalles Gorge, hence the neighbourhood’s name. Many of the streets in the area are named after his family and various locations in Ireland.
Roncesvalles began to boom when streetcars came to the area in the early 1900s, attracting visitors from across the city. It was a family-friendly neighbourhood from the start, with many immigrating from across Europe to the West Toronto area. After the Second World War, many Polish families came to the Roncesvalles area, where they built St.Casimir’s Church, in honor of Casimir Gzowski, a polish patriot who settled in Toronto in the early 1850s and contributed to the city’s roads and railways.
The Real Estate
Roncesvalles’s real estate has seen a rise in popularity over the past few years. The neighbourhood’s quaint streets are lined with well-preserved Victorian homes ranging in size, with charming smaller houses that are perfect for first time homebuyers. In the west side, there are larger detached homes that have been converted into multiplexes and are popular with renters.
Thousands of people flock to Roncesvalles every September for its annual Polish Festival that celebrates the culture with Polish dancers, games, polka bands, and food. High Park’s trails, picnic areas, mini zoo, and other attractions are just a short trip away. Also close by is the waterfront, which has great trails for rollerblading, jogging, and biking. Sorauren Park, Charles G. Williams Park, The Keele Community Centre’s indoor pool, and the High Park Library provide even more recreational possibilities. Roncesvalles has respected French and English public, private, elementary and secondary schools, catering to the multi-cultural community of young families that live here
This tight-knit community boasts more independent, owner-operated shops than chain stores, emphasizing its small town atmosphere. Friendly and inviting boutiques, specialty stores, restaurants, and cafés line the main strip with wide sidewalks that encourage a stroll through the charming streets.
Convenient access to public transit is abundant here, with streetcars on Queen Street, Dundas Street and Roncesvalles Avenue that lead to both the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth subway lines. Motorists are just a fifteen-minute drive from the downtown core for an easy commute.