Roncesvalles, or “Roncy” as the locals call it, is the neighbourhood of the hip, trendy, and young at heart. A friendly community spirit is welcoming to people of all types and in all age groups! Expect to rub shoulders with fashion enthusiasts, dining aficianados, happening singles, and many couples with and without strollers.
The neighbourhood architecture is as interesting and diverse as the people in Roncy. Bustling shops, eclectic art galleries, and a long list of unique restaurants lend an energetic vibe to the community.
Yet in the midst of all of the action, numerous relaxing parks and scenic trails are just moments away, with the lush green space of High Park a little to the west. All of these benefits make Roncy the place for those who want to have and experience the best of Toronto life. Read on to discover the many reasons Roncesvalles real estate is one of the most dynamic markets in the GTA!
The History of Roncesvalles
In Spanish, Roncesvalles translates to “valley of thorns.” Yes, there is a story there. Of course there is! This is Roncesvalles we’re talking about, which is a treasure trove of stories both told and untold.
Roncesvalles Avenue was once part of a network of native trade routes for up to 11,000 years, some of which are still in use to this day. The founder of the neighbourhood as we would come to know it was Colonel Walter O’Hara. Once a soldier in the British army, he was wounded in battle and taken prisoner in the Roncesvalles Gorge in northern Spain, which is how our thriving neighbourhood got its name.
O’Hara’s sons began dividing the lands along Roncesvalles Avenue into separate lots in 1856, making the neighbourhood older than Canada itself. Driving or walking the streets is a little like taking a tour through the past. History buffs will recognize the streets as named after O’Hara’s family members, Geoffrey, Constance, Marion, Sorauren Ave, and of course, O’Hara. As you can imagine, Roncesvalles Avenue was named after the Battle of Roncesvalles. Fermanaugh Avenue is named after the province in Northern Ireland that the O’Haras once called home.
Roncesvalles started out primarily as a commercial area and didn’t see significant residential growth until the early 1900s when construction began in earnest. Today, the Roncesvalles real estate market is on fire, with some of the most enviable dwellings in Toronto.
Types of Homes for Sale in Roncesvalles
A diverse mix of residents means you’ll find houses in various styles and structures throughout Roncy. The housing stock mostly consists of attached and semi-detached homes, with the odd Victorian and Edwardian houses sprinkled in. Then there are the lofts!
Since Roncesvalles began as an industrial area, lofts are plentiful. First, there are the hard lofts, former commercial buildings that have been converted into residential apartments. Hard lofts are often characterized by the exposed utility pipes in the ceiling. All of this only adds to the unique design and spacious feel to the home, which makes them one of the most sought-after property types in Toronto.
Roncesvalles real estate also has offers soft lofts, which were fashioned to resemble hard lofts, but were intended for residential living all along. What’s better? It depends on the person living there. Some people scoff at soft lofts (yes, we are being poetic), arguing that they are less authentic than hard lofts. But what they may lack in authenticity, they make up for in comfort and luxury. Modern and cozy, these elegant suites are generally energy efficient and geared for convenient, open-concept living.
Throw a few new condo buildings and custom-built homes into the mix, and now you can see why Roncesvalles boasts one of the most interesting and desirable real estate markets in Toronto.
Who Lives in Roncesvalles
As a safe, scenic community filled with parks and every imaginable convenience, Roncy is home to many families with young children, as evidenced by the abundance of strollers along the wide, tree-lined streets. A highly desirable housing market attracts many people looking to upgrade to homes with more space and better access to schools and services.
However, families aren’t the only ones who have fallen head over heels for Roncy. A thriving nightlife and abundance of independent boutiques, coffee shops, pubs, and restaurants make Roncesvalles a popular choice for entertainment lovers, shopping enthusiasts, and fitness buffs of all ages and family structures.
Though dual-income families are predominant, Roncy is also popular with young professionals and high-earning singles who love the trendy vibe of the neighbourhood and can afford the cost of living in one of Toronto’s greatest hotspots. Because of the welcoming community, first-generation immigrants often settle in Roncesvalles, and many stay for generations. There is a significant Polish population here, and the European influence cannot be denied!
Things to Do in Roncesvalles
What is there to do in Roncesvalles? What isn’t there to do is a better question. A stroll down Roncesvalles Avenue leads to countless bakeries, fruit stands, cafes, and independent little shops, gourmet food stores, and restaurants. The smell alone is enough to drive you wild!
The main strip also leads to beautiful parks and green spaces, so why not grab your coffee and bagel to go and sit on a bench while you take in the scenery and watch the world go by?
A strong community and great food may be the backbone of Roncesvalles life, but there is much more to the neighbourhood than what you can smell and taste! For example, let’s talk about nature. With High Park bordering the neighbourhood, you’ll never be without a serene and beautiful escape from your busy schedule. In the spring, thousands of cherry blossoms begin to bloom, a sight that can only be described as pure magic. And you don’t even have to go that far to bask in the peacefulness of nature.
Looking for even more ideas to keep you busy in Roncy? Check out a few of our blog posts below:
- Our Favourite Boutiques in Roncy
- The Where To Do It All In Roncy
- Our Favourite Patios In Roncy This Summer
Roncesvalles Avenue leads to Winchester Avenue, and Sorauren Avenue Park is moments away. With a bustling farmer’s market, off-leash dog park, multiple sports fields, and a skating rink, this park could rightly be called the heart of Roncy as it brings the community together. Naturally, Roncy is home to several exciting events throughout the year. The annual Pumpkin Parade takes place every November, where families drop off their jack o’ lanterns for one last hurrah. There’s nothing quite like the sight of hundreds, or even thousands, of lit up pumpkins lining the trail, allowing residents to say “goodbye” to Halloween and “hello” to the festivities that lie just ahead.
The Roncesvalles Polish Festival is North America’s largest celebration of Polish culture, drawing thousands of visitors each year. The streets come to life with music, family-friendly activities, and dancing. But let’s not kid ourselves; the real highlight of this event is the food, where attendees have the chance to sample delicious Polish fare, including pierogi, kielbasa, bigos, cabbage rolls, and more.
Community Services in Roncesvalles
Roncy is beloved for its convenience almost as much as for its culture. With easy access to public transit, excellent schools, and other community services, it’s easy to see why this is one of Toronto’s most sought-after neighbourhoods. We’ve already talked about Sorauren Avenue Park, but there are many other parks and playgrounds where families can gather to socialize and unwind, including Charles G. Williams Park, Grafton Avenue Park, and Columbus Parkette.
Need to cool off on a hot summer day? High Park Outdoor Pool might be just what you’re looking for. With an epic waterslide, this is a great place to splash your cares away. And did we mention that Toronto’s outdoor pools are free to use? There’s no need to sweat the day away ever again!
The Keele Community Centre is also nearby, offering recreational programs for people of all ages. There is even an indoor pool where your family can swim even when the snow begins to fall.
When it comes to healthcare, Roncesvalles has your whole family covered, with numerous medical clinics and various practitioners right in the neighbourhood, including several veterinary hospitals.
Roncesvalles falls under the Toronto District School Board, and has many highly rated secondary and elementary schools in its catchment area. In addition, you will find several private schools, Montessori programs, and Catholic schools conveniently located nearby. Access to quality education is just one more reason why many affluent families put down roots in Roncy.
How to Pick the Right Roncesvalles Real Estate Agent?
With thousands of real estate agents in Toronto alone, choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging. You want a professional who is knowledgeable, hardworking, and committed to a high degree of service. However, that is just the beginning.
When buying a home in Roncesvalles, intricate knowledge of the neighbourhood is essential. You don’t need anyone to tell you that Roncy is a great place to live. Instead, you want someone who knows exactly what and where the best shops, playgrounds, and restaurants are, all while taking your individual preferences into account. When you find the right agent, it’ll almost feel like they are a Roncy resident themselves. If your agent is from Nested, they probably are.
Discover how we can help navigate the Roncesvalles real estate market to buy your next home in Roncesvalles.
Are you planning to sell your home? A Roncesvalles real estate team with local expertise combined with years of experience can help you enjoy a successful sale with as little stress as possible. Whatever your goals are, your local expert is there to develop a strategy that allows you to meet and exceed them.
Discover how we can help you sell your Roncesvalles home below.
As a family-friendly community, it’s hard to find a Toronto neighbourhood safer than Roncy. The combination of bustling activity and community spirit means everyone watches out for each other. There aren’t many exciting places to live where you can also feel safe and secure, but Roncesvalles is one of them. In fact, we have an entire blog post on the topic, which you can see right here.
As the neighbour of High Park, Roncy is full of greenery. It’s not just the beautiful parks and scenic trails either, although you’ll find plenty of both. Even the busy, bustling streets are lined with mature trees, and residential gardens can make you feel like you’re walking through a natural paradise. The fresh air and foliage make strolling through the neighbourhood a pleasure at any time of the year.
Interesting story, that. To an outsider, the proper name for the neighbourhood is Roncesvalles. However, if you want to walk and talk like the locals do, you’ll start referring to this vibrant, bustling, exciting community by its much loved nickname, “Roncy.” The only thing up for debate is the spelling, which you will sometimes see as “Roncey.”
When you see the number of strollers out and about on any given Saturday, you might start to think that Roncy is a pretty family friendly place. And you’d be right! It is safe, beautiful, and the whole community is welcoming and supportive. Add in the long list of rich and exciting experiences, and it’s hard to imagine a better environment to raise a family.
Though any licensed real estate can assist you, there’s no question that you will benefit immensely from the local expertise of someone who lives and works in the neighbourhood. If you want to find a house that checks off most, or even all of your boxes, this hyper-focused knowledge will be invaluable.
Ah yes, the most important question of all, and one that we are thrilled to answer! With many independent and popular eateries, Roncy offers one of the best dining scenes in Toronto. Just the aromas you’ll experience walking down the street is enough to get your mouth watering, with bread, treats, and other goodies fresh out of the oven at the local bakeries. Plus, there is also a strong Polish presence in the community, which means delicious pierogis and other well-known delicacies are a few steps away.