Harbourfront is a downtown Toronto neighbourhood that is comprised of an amalgamation of residential buildings, commercial establishments, and recreational spots. Defined by Lake Ontario to the south, the Gardiner Expressway to the north, Yonge Street to the east, and Bathurst Street to the west, the area stretches along Queen’s Quay and is a popular attraction for both Torontonians and visitors to the city.
Harbourfront’s history dates back to the mid-1800’s when it was becoming the site for Toronto’s industrial activity. The area’s prime location at the edge of a large body of water made it ideal for producing and quickly shipping products via waterways. However, available unencumbered land along the shoreline was scarce, so a process of lake filling began which steadily pushed the waterfront further south. The process continued until the 1950’s creating the shoreline along Toronto’s downtown that we know today.
For decades, Harbourfront served as home to a number of factories, warehouses, silos, and railway tracks, which essentially made it inaccessible to Toronto’s residents. However, in 1972, following the establishment of the Harbourfront Corporation by the federal government, virtually all factories and industrial activities were ordered moved out of the confines of the area, which gave birth to the neighbourhood that is currently cherished by all Torontonians.
In 1991, the Harbourfront Centre, previously the Harbourfront Corporation, was tasked with providing internationally renowned programming in education, culture, the arts, and recreation in York Quay and John Quay south of Queens Quay West. For over 30 years, the organization has done a spectacular job in rejuvenating Toronto’s waterfront and turning it into a veritable must-see.
Today’s Harbourfront is an outstanding neighbourhood that seamlessly incorporates a mix of culture, recreation and commerce. The area is also home to a number of lavish condominium buildings, such as the Tip Top Lofts at 637 Lakeshore Blvd and the Water Club Condos at 8 York Street, with breathtaking views of both Lake Ontario and the downtown core.
During the summer months, many Torontonians converge onto the neighbourhood to engage in leisure strolls along the shoreline, attend a cultural events, enjoy its boardwalk, or get a bite to eat at one of its many casual or fine dining restaurants. The neighbourhood also plays host to a number of festivals including the South Asian Food Festival, the Electronic Culture Music Festival, and the Canada Day Festival.
For boating enthusiasts, Harbourfront is home to sailing and powerboat schools, as well as 2 marinas where boat owners can dock and enjoy the neighbourhood.
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