How Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village Came To Look The Way It Does (VIDEO)

A battle in Spain and Revue Cinema factor into its history.


Whether you've come to know this Toronto area as Little Poland, or simply recognize it from the movie Hairspray, the Roncesvalles Village in Toronto has a unique history that sets it apart from the city's other neighbourhoods.

In this edition of Then&Now, Toronto historian Morgan Cameron Ross traces the evolution of Roncesvalles from its early development to what it is today.

The origin of the area's moniker goes back over 200 hundred years to the Battle of Roncesvalles in Spain, for which the street that runs through the heart of the neighbourhood, Roncesvalles Avenue, was named.

While numerous cafes may be the reason one might pass through that street today, go back almost a hundred years and the reason might likely be to visit the Sunnyside Amusement Park located just below the neighbourhood.

But with the disappearance of this spot - where you'll now find the Gardiner Expressway - as well as others over the years, Toronto proposed late last year that numerous properties in the area be listed on the city's Heritage Register, which may help protect the charm that is Roncy Village.

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