The Annex

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The Annex

The Annex is a neighbourhood located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The area is generally considered to be bounded by Bathurst Street to the West, Avenue Road to the east, Dupont St. to the North, and Bloor Street to the South. It is an affluent neighbourhood with well-educated residents and it borders the University of Toronto. It has traditionally been home to many of the university's faculty, as well as housing the University's student body.

European settlement of this area began in the 1790s when surveyors laid out York Township. The area east of Brunswick Avenue became part of the village of Yorkville, while the region west of Brunswick was part of Seaton Village. In 1883, Yorkville agreed to annexation with the City of Toronto. In 1886, Simeon Janes, a developer, created a subdivision which he called the Toronto Annex.

It is mainly residential, with quiet, tree lined one-way streets lined with beautiful Victorian homes and mansions, most of them built between 1880 and the early 1900s. During the 1950s and 1960s, an influx of Hungarian immigrants moved into the neighborhood after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution was suppressed, and many of the businesses and properties along Bloor are owned by Hungarian-Canadian families.

Many of these homes have been converted into buildings that offer multi-tenant apartments. However, the stretch of Bloor Street between St. George and Bathurst is a vibrant social and retail area, offering to Toronto a wide range of services from upscale dining to discount retailers like Honest Ed's. When someone says that they are "going to the Annex," this stretch of Bloor St. is usually what they are referring to.

The Annex is one of Toronto's more expensive neighbourhoods in which to rent or own a home. Because of its proximity to the university it has a high rate of seasonal tenant turnover, and its residents range from well established and wealthy families to university students and long-time residents. The surrounding areas often refer to themselves as being in the Annex even if they aren't, and the area to the west between Bathurst St. and Christie St. (the next major street), Seaton Village, is now considered by some to be the "West Annex", though that area is more commonly called Koreatown and also has a large population of first and second-generation Latin Americans and Jamaicans. The area between Bloor and College Street is also sometimes referred to as the "South Annex" (most often by realtors).

The neighborhood has a thriving cultural scene, with the Tranzac (Toronto Australia-New Zealand) Club, the Bathurst Street Theatre, the Bloor Theatre (repertory cinema), the Jewish Community Centre, and, until recently, the now closed Poor Alex Theatre at Bloor and Brunswick. Stores are open late and some restaurants are open well past midnight.

The Annex is well served by public transit, including four Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway stations: Bathurst, St. George, Spadina, and Dupont. Bus services operate on Bathurst north of Bloor and on Spadina Road; streetcars operate on Spadina Avenue, Bathurst Street south of Bloor, and College Street.

The Annex is in the political riding of Trinity--Spadina.

The Annex is also home to the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, former Governor General and broadcaster Adrienne Clarkson and noted urban theorist and activist Jane Jacobs.

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