Corktown Toronto - Historic Urban Area

Corktown is a small neighborhood that's situated just east of Old Toronto. Once home to large populations of Irish immigrants, the mixed-used district has several historic properties that date to the middle of the 19th century. You can ride the Toronto Transit Commission streetcars to more than 10 different points in the community. Click to book your Corktown and Distillery Historic District Food Tour.

Attractions and History

Corktown in Toronto
Corktown in Downtown Toronto
Standing on Trinity Street, the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is the most important historic landmark in Corktown. Originally built as the Ward School in the late 1840s, this property has been preserved and updated through private and public efforts. Operating a successful brewing venture in the middle of the 19th century, Enoch Turner built the one-room schoolhouse with his own money. The local philanthropist was eager to educate the community that mostly consisted of working-class families. Built in the early 1840s in the Tudor Gothic style, the neighboring Little Trinity Church allowed Turner to acquire some land for the educational facility at no cost. The brick school had an enrollment of more than 200 students in its first year. Turner fully covered the costs of tuition for all enrolled students in the first three years. Therefore, the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse is officially known as Toronto's first free school. Just more than a decade after its opening, the Enoch Turner School was acquired by an adjacent church. Consequently, the schoolhouse was primarily used for religious studies for generations. After a successful run as a Sunday school for nearly a century, the building was in danger of demolition due to major structural problems. Fortunately, concerned citizens established a fund and saved the historic property. The Ontario Heritage Trust has played a key role in managing the renovated schoolhouse since 2008. Today, the nearby Little Trinity Anglican Church is also one of the most important architectural landmarks in Corktown.
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Originally built in the 1820s, St. Paul's Bascilica is another prominent religious institution that still operates in the neighborhood. Standing on Power Street, this Roman Catholic church has a beautiful interior design with Italian-style decorations, such as frescoes on the vaulted ceilings. St. Paul's Bascilica mostly served the large Irish Catholic population of the district in the 19th century and early 20th century. In fact, the neighborhood is named after the large influx of immigrants from County Cork, Ireland. Click to book your Corktown and Distillery Historic District Food Tour. Located in the community's southeastern corner, the Corktown Common is the most popular local recreational hub. This beautiful park has meandering trails, splash pads, picnic facilities and grassy lawns for the public. The redeveloped park is flanked by curved rail tracks that follow the natural bend of the Don River.

Visiting Corktown (Neighborhood Boundaries)

Corktown in Toronto
Corktown Toronto a Historic Urban Area
The mouth of the Don River defines the eastern border of Corktown. This narrow river flows into the Keating Channel and Lake Ontario. Having a bridge that crosses the river, Queen Street marks the district's northern end. The TTC 501 streetcar runs along this major thoroughfare during the day. The daytime route is substituted by the TTC 301 streetcar line at night. King Street runs through the center of the neighborhood in a diagonal configuration. You can take the TTC 503 and 504 streetcars to various points along this busy street. Additionally, the TTC 304 streetcar line serves the short stretch of King Street that cuts through the community. Served by the TTC 508 streetcar and several bus routes, Parliament Street is perfectly aligned with the neighborhood's western edge. Additional streetcar service is available on Cherry Street, which runs north and south. Having more than 10 TTC stops, this relatively small district has some of the best accessibility in terms of public transit. The Don River Parkway also merges with the Gardiner Expressway just south of the neighborhood. Click for pictures of yesteryear Corktown. By: Denise Marie
Published On: 2019-10-16
Updated On: 2019-10-16

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Corktown and Distillery Food Tour
Corktown

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