Welcome to the neighbourhood / Where is Liberty Village?
Often touted as a shining example of neighbourhood regeneration done right, Liberty Village has gone from abandoned industrial town to yuppie enclave in under a decade. Nestled a pinch west of Toronto’s core, at the crossroads of the city’s trendiest areas (from the likes of West Queen West, Trinity-Bellwoods and Parkdale), Liberty Village is now home to a bevy of new condos that tower over its more historic red-brick buildings.
A neighbourhood teeming with young professionals; common sights include TTC streetcar riders heading to and from work, cyclist commuters, earphone-clad joggers and proud dog owners. Minivans and families are decidedly few and far between. In fact, of the few strollers in Liberty Village, most are used to push around furry four-legged pets rather than toddlers.
Alongside the countless condos bound between Liberty Village’s closed-knit borders is a collection of hip cafes, brunch spots and trendy restaurants. Liberty Market Building, the area’s primary retail spot, is anchored by a mix of lifestyle stores from rejuvenating spas, boutique furniture shops and a dance studio. The neighbourhood also offers a variety of workout studios (a big step up from cookie-cutter condo gyms) while Lamport Stadium is a regular destination for soccer and ultimate frisbee teams alike.
Further west into Liberty Village is a flourishing start-up culture, where tech and media companies squeeze into former warehouses turned shared office spaces. Large Toronto-based brands such as Kobo and Achievers are headquartered here, along with numerous smaller tech companies who are disrupting industries at a more intimate scale.
While Liberty Village openly embraces its industrial roots, preserving aged factories and warehouse buildings, many view the neighbourhood as an example of full-force gentrification gone unchecked, where “soulless” condos have swept through. But Liberty Village does have character, attracting young like-minded working professionals, entrepreneurs and a burgeoning restaurant culture while offering residents their pick of contemporary (and generally affordable) condos.
For a quick overview of Liberty Village, watch our video below:
The 43-acre neighbourhood stretches from King Street West on the north, Dufferin Street to the west, Strachan Avenue on the east and the Gardiner Expressway down south. In terms of Toronto Real Estate Board’s formal boundaries, Liberty Village is located in the MLS community of Niagara in MLS district C1.
Liberty Village, Toronto, Map
Liberty Village population
Liberty Village’s rapid rise into a sprawling condo hub has attracted one demographic in particular – young working professionals. Drawn into the neighbourhood for its proximity to Toronto’s downtown core and the allure of modern high rises (primarily the perks of private amenities and a low-maintenance condo lifestyle) the overwhelming majority of Liberty Village residents are 20 to 30 somethings.
More of a “business casual crowd” expect plenty of plaid shirts and blazers and fewer suits. Simply put, afternoon get-togethers likely revolve around a laid-back brunch rather than an intense power lunch.
Few young families lay claim to the neighbourhood, with the population skewing toward singles or dating couples who either rent or are first-time condo buyers. An active crowd – joggers, cyclists and gym-goers are all common sights in Liberty Village. Also, if you’re a dog lover, you’ll find plenty of company, as it’ll quickly feel like every second person has a squish faced pug or french poodle tugging along at a leash. A few baby boomer downsizers reside here too, but the sheer majority of residents are young professionals.
Aside from the small arts community, few in Liberty Village have deep roots in the area. Most people who live here moved in sometime during or after the initial condo boom of the early 2000’s, as the population in the general area jumped 83 per cent between 2001 and ‘11.
The Lifestyle: Liberty Village shops and restaurant culture
A magnet for urbanites who subscribe to the fast-paced downtown lifestyle but still embrace a touch of hipsterdom, Liberty Village has quickly emerged as one of Toronto’s trendiest condo and dining districts.
Just west of the city’s core, the influx of young professionals over the past decade has attracted a critical mass of brunch places, cafes and restaurants. Needless to say, social life in Liberty Village primarily revolves around drinks, delectable food and great company. The neighbourhood isn’t exactly a retail hub where chain stores and mainstream brands set up shop – so window shopping isn’t a regular time killer.
The restaurant culture is more hip and casual than overly preppy. Popular dining spots in Liberty Village that regularly roll off people’s tongues include the newly opened Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery, Local Public Eatery (a trendy sports pub and restaurant) and School Toronto, a breakfast joint famous for its buttermilk chicken and waffles.
For those times you peek into a nearby store, it’ll likely be in one of the area’s boutiques. Specifically, the handful of high-end furniture stores specializing in designer, custom and offbeat home decor pieces. Stores such as casalife, West Elm Toronto and EQ3 are a must visit for interior design enthusiasts and those looking to steer away from cookie cutter IKEA bookshelves.
At the heart of the neighbourhood is the Liberty Market Building. Once an ammunitions factory, a multi-million dollar renovation has turned the structure into the area’s seminal shopping and dining destination. Home to the Brazen Head pub, a regular local gathering place, the building also features a few lifestyle stores. Spas, a delectable bakery, dance and yoga studios are all located around the landmark.
Just steps away is a cluster of convenience stores and fast food restaurants including a large Metro grocery outlet, an LCBO, pet stores and a Panago Pizza.
In the warmer times of the year, dog walkers, cyclists and joggers come out in full force. While the few parks in Liberty Village are small and dominated by dogs playing catch, the 36 acre Trinity Bellwoods Parks is easily in strolling distance. A perfect place to fold out the lawn chairs, throw around the frisbee, people watch or practice your pitch at the baseball diamonds – Trinity Bellwoods is always buzzing with young professionals looking to escape the urban jungle for a few hours.
For gym rats and fitness buffs, there are a variety of exercise studios in the area, including a rock climbing gym Joe Rockheads, a GoodLife and Lamport Stadium (a field open to ultimate frisbee and soccer teams).
The neighbourhood has an active nightlife thanks to the handful of bars to hop between, including Locus 144 and Forty2 Supperclub that open late. But many in Liberty Village flock to nearby Queen West or further east toward the core for their late night escapades.
Getting around Liberty Village: TTC Streetcars and GO Station
While Liberty Village is situated just off the subway line, numerous streetcar stops are dotted nearby – all of which are easily reachable on foot, transporting riders right to the city’s core in a brisk 20 minutes or less.
The bulk of Liberty Village commuters hop onto the 504 King streetcar. The route operates 24 hours, so you’ll never be left hanging in the wee hours of the night. 504 also sees a high frequency of service, with a streetcar arriving every five minutes or so during peak hours. It’s worth noting however, the King line is Toronto’s busiest streetcar route, carrying an average of 60,000 people per day. Needless to say, finding an empty seat in rush hour is no easy task.
Alternative streetcar routes are also a minute’s walk away; namely 511 and 509. The 511 line climbs north along Bathurst Street while 509 Harbourfront heads eastward toward Union Station. Unlike 504 King, which is susceptible to slow-trotting stop-and-go traffic, the 509 doesn’t share its tracks with cars, making for a more streamlined ride.
The Exhibition GO train station is also within walking distance, so heading outside the bounds of Toronto to nearby Mississauga or Oakville without a car is made infinitely easier.
While the majority of people in Liberty Village are monthly TTC holders and regular streetcar riders, there are conventional car commuters. Traffic inside Liberty Village’s close-knit borders can get busy during rush hour, as most cars are funnelled through the neighbourhood’s one main arterial road – East Liberty Street. But recent traffic light additions and road changes have left a real positive impact. Not to mention the City of Toronto is looking into a new east-west street along the south end of Liberty Village between Dufferin and Strachan to relieve car traffic. Plans for a pedestrian bridge, while not set to improve vehicle traffic, is another noteworthy improvement that showcases infrastructure enhancements are on the way for the neighbourhood.
Lake Shore Boulevard and Gardiner Expressway are also both in close proximity, so linking to major highways is fairly straightforward.
Those who prefer the two-wheel option will be glad to hear there are plenty of cycling routes nearby. The newly revitalized Queen’s Quay offers a serene bike ride along the city’s waterfront, with dedicated, smoothly-paved cycling lanes and bike-specific traffic stop. Dedicated cycling lanes running along Adelaide and Richmond streets are a minute’s bike ride away too – but the lanes often experience heavy bike traffic on pothole ridden roads, so expect a bumpy trip.
Stretching less than two kilometers east-to-west, getting around Liberty Village itself is easily done on foot. Everything from grocery shopping to grabbing a bite to eat in the neighbourhood will rarely cross the ten-minute mark.
Schools and daycares in Liberty Village
While Liberty Village doesn’t exactly conjure up images of toddlers cozied up in strollers and packed yellow school buses, there is a small but growing community of young families settling in the area.
Drawn into the neighbourhood for its downtown locale and swayed toward condominiums due to soaring house prices, young families in Liberty Village have their pick of a handful of kid-friendly destinations. The most notable of which is the Children’s Discovery Centre.
The 20,000 square foot museum and activity space is catered to children from ages zero to six. Helmed by childhood educators, the centre is divided into ten “discovery zones” – each of which focuses on a different creative sphere: art, reading, music and so on.
A stone’s throw from the Discovery Centre is Liberty Village Park, which recently saw the addition of a playground complete with a set of swings. While just beyond Liberty Village’s borders is Stanley Park, which features a playground, wading pool and an outdoor basketball court.
The Exhibition Place is also situated within walking distance of Liberty Village and plays host to a variety of kid-friendly events like the CNE when it’s not busy with industry trade shows of course.
Regarding daycares, a few are dotted around, such as Liberty Village Tots. But truth be told, you’re likely to find just as many doggy daycares as ones made for kids.
No schools and libraries are available immediately in the neighbourhood or within strolling distance, so you’ll need to hop on a car or streetcar to arrive at the nearest one.
Liberty Village may work for city-loving new families with a toddler, but for growing families with young teenagers or a second child on the way, things won’t be as easy. From the lack of family-friendly infrastructure, schools and fellow youngsters, Liberty Village is first and foremost catered to young professionals.
The real estate market: Liberty Village condos, lofts and townhomes
Liberty Village’s mass, rapid-pace development, which kicked-off in the early 2000’s, has seen the 43-acre enclave quickly transform into one of Toronto’s premier condo hubs. In 2016 alone, over five hundred high-rise suites were sold in the neighbourhood.
The CanAlfa Group was (and still is) the developer responsible for spurring the condo boom – helming over half a dozen residences in the area.
Aside from subtle design nods to Liberty Village’s industrial roots, such as touches of red brick on building exteriors, condos tend to embrace convention over character. While not exactly boasting the most inspiring architecture, residences are modern and come chock-full of contemporary upgrades. Think stainless steel appliances, open-concept floor plans and amenities (so you can finally ditch the gym membership).
Situated just off the subway line, condo prices sit below high rise units closer to Toronto’s downtown core. Between January to April 2017, TheRedPin found condos in the MLS community of Niagara (which Liberty Village is a part of) sold for an average price per square foot of $728.
Prices for larger hard lofts tend to hover around the $700,000 mark and above.
Toy Factory Lofts at 43 Hanna Avenue is Liberty Village’s most notable loft residence. Built circa 1912, the landmark building once served as a paper factory before turning into Canada’s premier toy factory. Massey Harris and Candy Factory Lofts are other famous loft buildings located close to Liberty Village. Aside from conventional glass condos, Liberty Village is known for the collection of hard lofts dotted in and around the neighbourhood. Relics of the past, these warehouses turned apartments feature towering ceilings, large steel-framed factory windows and exposed brick walls.
Liberty Village is also home to an intimate collection of stacked and urban townhomes, ideal for buyers who prefer living in ground-oriented units than up in high rises. Prices for townhomes tend to edge higher than condominium apartments.