This also applies to the neighbourhoods of Baby Point, Rathnelly, Brockton, Seaton Village, the Distillery District, Christie Pits and others.
The confusion arises in the wake of a decision by the Board in July to replace its old district map to simplify searching for properties on the Multiple Listing Toronto Real Estate Service (MLS) and its public site, www.realtor.ca.
As a result, there are now at least four different authoritative sources for naming and defining Toronto neighbourhoods and none of them completely agrees with any of the others.
The Realosophy terminology uses area names that are in common use by real people — not ones invented by a TREB committee or municipal bureaucrats.
Not only are we now left with four different lists ranging from 140 to 167 neighbourhood names, no one seems to agree on the names or boundaries of the neighbourhoods.
This results in what I refer to as “neighbourhood creep.” (I’m not, of course, referring to the strange guy in the trench coat who hangs out at the local doughnut shop.) I mean the tendency of real estate agents, homeowners and developers to expand the traditional limits of upscale neighbourhoods into adjacent but less desirable areas for marketing purposes.
Neighbourhood creep occurs when the commonly accepted boundaries of trendy areas like Rosedale, Moore Park, the Beach, the Annex or Forest Hill creep outwards when nearby homes go on the market. It’s far more desirable to advertise a home as being in Rosedale than it would be to say it’s “just six blocks” from Rosedale.
This also happened when Forest Hill Lofts was built in an area considerably west of the limits of Forest Hill.
Areas next to the traditional limits of Cabbagetown, too, have morphed into names like South Cabbagetown and West Cabbagetown due to neighbourhood creep. Areas known by these names, of course, do not exist, except in some fanciful listings.
Invented names like North,Beach, Upper,Beach, Upper West Annex, North Bloor, West,Village, North East York, and South Leaside are designed to give homes the cachet of their trendier and more expensive neighbours.
“It’s all aspirational,” says Pasalis.
Similarly, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, South Riverdale has expanded and absorbed what everyone calls Leslieville, which seems to have disappeared.
Even when the authorities agree on the neighbourhoods, not everyone agrees on their names. The City and TREB, for example, call the east waterfront The Beaches, while the locals call it The Beach. Forest Hill North and Forest Hill South are used instead of the local usage of Upper,Village and Lower,Village.
Maybe it’s time for a stakeholder consultation group to agree on standardizing the names for the areas and boundaries of all Toronto neighbourhoods. Right now, it’s just too confusing.
Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer and frequent speaker to groups of home buyers and real estate agents.
He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818.
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