The Downtown was originally settled by some of early Toronto's most prominent families. The street names in this neighbourhood are clues to its rich history. For instance Jarvis Street is named after the family of William Jarvis, the former provincial secretary of Upper Canada. Homewood Avenue is named after the estate of George Allan, a former mayor of Toronto. McGill Street is named after Captain John McGill, and Sherbourne Street commemorates the ancestral home of the Ridout family who came to Canada from Sherbourne, Dorsetshire, England.
When the aforementioned families subdivided their large estates in the mid 1800's, the current neighbourhood was born. The mansions on Jarvis and Sherbourne streets set the tone for the Downtown which up until the early 1900's, was considered Toronto's most fashionable suburb.
Downtown Toronto residents come from a myriad of different backgrounds, and span the entire spectrum of the socio-economic scale. There is a large number of rental accommodations in this neighbourhood. This reflects the mobility of the population, which is comprised mostly of singles and couples.
Ryerson University is helping to reshape Toronto’s downtown east core having recently purchased landmark buildings to expand their campus. One of these is the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens.