Neighbourhood Stroll- Explore Humber Summit

Now is the time for residents to experience all that tourists have been raving about for years. Discover shops, stops, places and spaces on city main streets. Stay curious, Toronto.

This expansive neighbourhood at the north edge of the city stretches from the Humber River to Highway 400. The river played a central role in the historical development of the neighbourhood, initially attracting several mills, which were later followed by cottage properties. After Hurricane Hazel swept through in 1954, the area along the river has been transformed into beautiful parklands, and a bustling, modern suburban neighbourhood has developed nearby. Great local businesses can be found throughout the Emery Village BIA, which encompasses much of this neighbourhood, and is the largest BIA in Toronto.

Main Streets: Islington Avenue, Plunkett Avenue, Finch Avenue West and Steeles Avenue West[

Rowntree Mills Park155 Rowntree Mill Road This 92-hectare park along the banks of the Humber River between Finch Avenue West and Steeles Avenue West was named Rowntree Mills Park in 1969 in honour of Joseph Rowntree. Joseph Rowntree was an early settler in north Etobicoke in the Village of Thistletown and established two mills on the banks of the Humber River. In 1843, he built a sawmill on the east bank of the river. Five years later, he built a grist mill on the west bank. His mills were known as the Greenholme Mills and operated until the end of the nineteenth century. When the mills closed, the area became a green space known as River Bend Park, and was a popular summer retreat cottage community by the 1930s. Many cottages lined the sides of the river along Riverside Drive in the area during this time. When Hurricane Hazel hit in October 1954, several cottages were swept away in the floodwaters, and the land was converted to parkland afterwards.?

Plunkett Park188 Plunkett Road A small park featuring a drinking fountain, three outdoor bocce courts, a picnic shelter, and a playground.?

Emery Village BIA Historical Marker - Humber SummitNorthwest corner of Plunkett Road and Satterly Road This historical marker installed by the Emery Village BIA touches on the history of the Humber Summit area, which was settled by Pennsylvania Germans, Lutherans, and Mennonites, as well as people from England, and was a community based around mills constructed along the Humber River. There is also a panel on the marker which notes how Hurricane Hazel devastated the area, and another notes that hockey players Ron Atwell, Patrick Flatley, and Paul Higgins all hail from the area. Another panel describes how after 1950, a massive expansion of the area was fuelled by a wave of Italian-Canadians moving here around this time, with development centering around a strip of commercial properties nearby known as Italian Gardens.?

Toronto Public Library - Humber Summit Branch2990 Islington Avenue This Toronto Public Library branch originally opened in 1974, and was the first branch in North York to be shared with another community agency (the North York Parks & Recreation Department). It has undergone several renovations over the years, most recently in 2018, when the main area was revitalized and an accessible washroom was added on the main floor. One notable feature of this branch is a plaque located inside that commemorates the efforts of the Humber Summit Fire Brigade, whose monumental efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel in 1954 ensured that no one from this area perished. Another is that the branch has a small collection of material in Italian.?

Emery Village BIA Historical Marker - Italian GardensEast side of Islington Avenue, just south of Vanhill Avenue This historical marker installed by the Emery Village BIA notes how builder Camillo Domenico Milani helped transform the area into a successful residential, commercial, and industrial concern in the 1950s, and his role in creating a now-demolished recreational complex that the adjacent Italian Gardens shopping plaza is named after. Two other panels pay tribute to two sports stars who hail from the area: basketball player Sim Bhullar (the first player of Indian descent to play in an NBA game) and boxer Donovan 'Razor' Ruddock. Another two panels note the commercial development of the area which was known as Pine Ridge until the 1930s and the nearby cemetery that still bears that name.?

Pine Ridge Cemetery2920 Islington Avenue This small cemetery is the final resting place of almost all of the first European settlers to this area. The land was deeded to be used as a cemetery in 1848 to serve the burgeoning farming and milling town of Pine Ridge, which was later named Humber Summit in 1937. For many years, local residents have gathered at the cemetery every August to honour these first European settlers to help reflect on the past and preserve the history of the area for future generations.

Gord and Irene Risk Community Centre2650 Finch Avenue West Gord and Irene Risk Community Centre is located at the northeast corner of Islington Avenue and Finch Avenue. Founded in 1991, the centre serves a diverse community with preschool, fitness, swimming and general interest programs for all ages. To reach the needs of the greater community, after school and preschool programs are also offered at its satellite location, Venerable John Merlini CSS.

Gracedale Park176 Gracedale Boulevard This 3.2-hectare park is located beside Gracedale Boulevard Public School. It features three tennis courts, three lit bocce courts, a cricket practice wicket, splash pad, playground and plenty of open space for leisure activities.?

Ross Jaydjiev ArtboxNorthwest corner of Finch Avenue West and Weston Road The artist's signature style lives in the swirling of colour and line. Mirroring life, the swirls represent the state of flux that exists in life, a beautiful mess of movement and energy.

Emery Village BIA Historical Marker - Wood LotAlong the west side of Weston Road, south of Steeles Avenue West Installed here are another few historical markers from the Emery Village BIA. The Wood Lot panel notes how the land here was once a vast forest, and how logging became an important commercial activity in the development of the area. Additional panels nearby include the history of German migration to the area, including the Snider and Kaiser families.

Gord and Irene Risk Community Centre2650 Finch Ave W, North York, ON M9M 3A3 Poems For Your Path?Artists from various disciplines present messages of hope and resilience throughout the city in the form of text-based visual art installations.?Randell Adjei

Accessibility information: All points of interest on this stroll are viewable from either the street or a paved park path. While the Gord and Irene Risk Community Centre is viewable from the street and most of its interior is fully accessible, there is one area near the arena where access requires use of a narrow door.