Palmerston-Little Italy Real Estate and Neighbourhood:
The neighbourhood name of Palmerston-Little Italy was officially adopted in 1985 and these days, is less of a current description of the demographic and more of a tribute to the area's key role in the beginnings of most Italian immigrants' Canadian journey. Many of these families arrived in the 1920's and flocked to the area's affordable Edwardian homes. Businesses were started around College Street and many found work in the construction and railway industries. Many Italian-Canadians born in the post-WWII boom have migrated north to the Corso Italia section of St. Clair and Dufferin and in their place have come many different cultures and backgrounds, but one can still get a good and authentic cappuccino at a street cafe and feel like you're a little bit closer to the old country.
Large and elegant Victorian homes are commonplace on streets like Palmerston and Dovercourt with the majority being built in the late 19th century and early 20th. It should be noted however that very few have retained their original moulding. They are set on Palmerston Little-Italy's narrow tree-lined and serene streets with parking and rear access through the laneways that run in the middle of most blocks. Side-streets contain many detached and semi-detached family-sized homes from the Edwardian period that have front porches and smaller lots as was the fashion in that era. Many homes require some tender loving renovations but this is a great option for people wanting to put the time and investment in.
The West End YMCA on College Street has a gymnasium, swimming pool and meeting rooms for the community. The College/Shaw Public Library also serves as a community meeting place and offers books in many different language to reflect the neighbourhood's diversity. It would be easy to just focus on the Italian delights that one can take part in along the strip and yes, pizza, pasta and gelato, among other things, are here in legion but one can also find pad thai, tacos, tamales and sushi. The historic art moderne Royal Cinema has been a fixture in the area since 1939 and shows new films and old classics alike. It was thankfully saved from closure in 2007 and was renovated and retro-fitted for the digital age.
Being an area with a long Italian history, there are two catholic schools in the area, St. Lucy and St. David. Central High School of Commerce and Harbord Collegiate are both secondary schools and Givins/Shaw is a combined junior and senior school and Charles G. Fraser and Grace St. are both junior schools. The neighbourhood was built from working class roots and there is a charming european feel along College Street. It's an important area that has played a great part in the history of Toronto.