The Annex is a neighbourhood in Downtown Toronto. The traditional boundaries of the neighbourhood are north to Dupont Street, south to Bloor Street, west to Bathurst Street and east to Avenue Road. It is adjacent to Yorkville areas.
Boarding the University of Toronto, the Annex has long been a student quarter, and it is also home to many fraternity houses and members of the university’s faculty.
Its residents are predominantly English-speaking and well-educated, according to Canada 2016 census, the neighbourhood has an average income above the average income in the Toronto census metropolitan area.
The Annex is mainly residential, and streets are lined with tall trees dwarfing the large Victorian and Edwardian houses, most of them built between 1880 and the early 1900s. The 1950s and 1960s saw the replacement of some houses with mid-rise (and a handful of height-rise) apartment buildings in the international style.
These were surrounded with landscaped green space in an attempt to better fit into the neighbourhood. Due to a government freeze on development in 1975 for buildings higher than 45 feet, most of the original houses still exist.
There are now over 500 buildings in the Annex that are protected by the Toronto Historical Board, so developers have less chance of maximizing their ventures by tearing down old mansions and developing low rises and townhouse complexes.
The Annex is home to many examples of a uniquely Torontonian style of house that was popular among the city’s elite in the late nineteenth century. Examples of this style survive in the former upper class areas along Jarvis and Sherburne Street, and also around the University of Toronto campus. Most of these buildings are found in the Annex, and the style is thus known by some as the ‘Annex style house’.
The Annex style house borrows elements from both the American Richardson and Romanesque and the British Queen Anne Revival. These houses originally built for some of the City’s wealthiest citizens, the houses are generally large. As the wealthy moved away from the neighbourhood, many of the houses were subdivided into apartments.
In recent years, many developers saw the potential of this neighbourhood and proposed new condo developments along Bedford, Davenport, and Dupont Street. Many of these new projects are under construction now.
The area is definitely becoming homes for many young professionals, entrepreneurs and new money.