Toronto Walks: Lawrence Manor

Turns out, a lot of people explore Lawrence Manor and then write about it on the internets. In  cursory google, “Lawrence Manor History” gets more hits than I’m used to. Bounded by Bathurst Streeton, Highway 401, the Allen, and Lawrence Avenue to the south, the area seems to have a digital following of people just like me, who like walking in areas that have cultural significance and loads of local history. 

I’m impressed with “Doing Jewish in Toronto” and can’t do better than their research, so the following is from them:

Lawrence Manor was once farmland until the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a federal government agency, bought the deed in the 1940s and earmarked the land for residential development. The homes in Lawrence Manor are primarily two-storey houses, split-level dwellings and bungalows. Lots are a respectable 9.14 metres (30 feet) wide at minimum and backyards are often deep. Today, the area is being gentrified and the small mid-century homes are slowly being replaced by larger dwellings.

Bathurst Street in the Lawrence Manor is also lined with low and high-rise apartment buildings as well as a recently built luxury condominium apartment building.

Nowhere in Toronto can you find a more traditional Jewish area than along Bathurst St. between Highway 401 and Briar Hill Ave. Lining this corridor are many little Orthodox synagogues and schools, each one catering to a different branch of Orthodox or Chassidic Judaism. A stroll around the neighbourhood makes it apparent that this area is predominantly Orthodox. Gentlemen with black hats and payos, and ladies wearing long skirts and hats are seen throughout, often with young children trailing beside.

East of Bathurst St. towards Avenue Rd., the neighbourhood undergoes a noticeable transition. Lots and homes are larger and more ornately decorated, and recent renovations to the neighbourhood are visible by the spate of custom-built homes. While the Jewish population west of Bathurst St. is still high – it ranks as the number one ethnic group in census data – the density is lower than at Bathurst St.

If you’re interested in seeing another walk in the area from 2011 (and it’d be interesting to compare the landscape changes) I’d recommend looking into Toronto Neighborhood Walks who unfortunately seems to have halted their walking adventures around the same time Toronto Walk picked up ours.


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