Riverdale is the gateway to Toronto's east end neighbourhoods. It is a large and diverse community that is especially well known for its colourful shopping districts and quaint Victorian homes.
North Riverdale from Gerrard to the Danforth is very popular with young affluent professionals, while South Riverdale has traditionally attracted a wide mix of people looking for affordable homes close to downtown.
Riverdale was a small rural community until the Grand Trunk Railway began steaming through here in the 1850's. The railway brought industry and employment opportunities to Riverdale. It also attracted a pool of labourers who built the first homes in Riverdale, south of the railway tracks.
North of Queen Street Riverdale remained largely undeveloped until 1884 when it was annexed by the City of Toronto. At that time Riverdale was called Riverside. The name was probably changed to Riverdale as a reference to the city park of the same name, that has long been a landmark in this area.
Riverdale's development was accelerated in 1918 with the building of Toronto's largest bridge, the Prince Edward Viaduct. The Viaduct provided Riverdale with an important link to the City of Toronto, west of the Don River, and marked a coming of age for this popular Toronto neighbourhood.
**The Toronto neighbourhood text profiles, sketches and maps displayed on this web site were originally published in “Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods”, are © Maple Tree Publishing Inc. and have been reproduced by Toronto Real Estate Board under license.