Governor's Bridge: The Neighbourhood in the Park
In 1912, Toronto lawyers William Douglas and Wallace Nesbitt subdivided the area that was to become Governor’s Bridge. Development began after 1923, when a bridge spanning Moore Park Ravine connected the subdivision with the rest of the city. The bridge and the neighbourhood were named “Governor’s Bridge” in honor of the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario’s nearby residence at Chorley Park. Approximately one hundred and fifteen homes were built, many of them in the then-popular Spanish architectural style. For this reason, the new development was nicknamed “Little Hollywood”.
In 1959, a developer named Harry Frimerman began constructing a set of apartment buildings on the east side of Governor’s Bridge. Outraged local residents demanded that the area be preserved as parkland. When the city refused to provide water and sewage service to the apartments, construction was stopped. The half-constructed six-storey buildings, known as the “Bayview Ghost” stood abandoned for the next twenty years. In 1981, the area was rezoned for single family housing and is now home to a new development called Governor’s Bridge Estates.
Governor’s Bridge is located in the north-east section of Rosedale. It is bordered by Moore Park Ravine to the west and Don Valley Brickworks Park to the south. The Canadian Pacific railway tracks and Bayview Avenue form its north and east borders respectively. Governor’s Bridge is reachable from the west by the Governor’s Road bridge. Bayview Avenue can be accessed from Nesbitt Drive, leading to the Don Valley Parkway and downtown. From Rosedale subway station, the no. 82 bus travels to Summerhill Avenue and Douglas Drive, a short walk from the Governor's Road bridge.
The original Spanish-style bungalows have been renovated or replaced by newer homes in a variety of architectural styles. However, the neighbourhood’s generous lot sizes and mature trees enable the new homes to sit comfortably with the old. Since Governor’s Bridge consists of just five streets, only a few homes are on the market at any given time. This exclusivity is reflected in the prices, which in 2013 reached from over 1 million to nearly 2.5 million dollars.
Governor’s Bridge is served by Bennington Heights Elementary School, Bessborough Drive Elementary and Middle School, and Leaside High School. Leaside offers a French Immersion and an Extended French program. Nearby private schools include Branksome Hall, which has an International Baccalaureate program, The York School, The Linden School, and Upper Canada College.
A small shopping strip located on Summerhill Avenue east of Mount Pleasant Road includes a supermarket and a bank branch. Further north, both Mount Pleasant Road and Bayview Avenue, between Davisville Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East, are home to restaurants, bookstores, antique stores, bakeries, and cafes.
Governor’s Bridge is surrounded on two sides by green space. To the west is Moore Park Ravine, including the Belt Line nature trail. To the south is the Don Valley Brick Works Park. The park is a 40-acre naturalist’s paradise, serving as home to many species of wildlife. A summer walk may include sightings of duck, heron, songbirds, turtles and fish. Inside the park, The Evergreen Brick Works is located on the site of the former Don Valley Brick Works. This complex of restored heritage buildings offers a year-round farmer’s market, children’s day camps and activities, exercise classes, and a bicycle repair workshop.
Governor’s Bridge is an ideal choice for those who wish to combine the peace of a small, parkland community with the advantages of city life.
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The Toronto neighbourhood map displayed on this website was published in “Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods”, is copyright Maple Tree Publishing and has been reproduced by the Toronto Real Estate Board under license.