The West Bend neighbourhood sits in the curve of the railway line that links Toronto to the rest of Canada, east and west. In the days when railways ruled the transportation networks, the West Toronto Diamond, northeast of Annette and Dundas, was one of the most significant railway junctions in Canada. Today, GO commuter trains and the national fibre-optic spine still run along the same route.
Many West Bend homes originate from the late 1800s and early 1900s when people flocked to the West Toronto Junction to work and live. Some were built later, as ravines were filled in, creating more building lots. As you walk from street to street, the different building styles tell a story of the great and small, of merchants and industrialists, builders and professionals, labourers and factory workers. There is a place for everyone in the West Bend.
The West Bend also sits on the seam that stitches together the fabric of the original City of Toronto and the town of West Toronto Junction. In 1909, the Junction was annexed to the city, bringing with it the 1904 “Local Option Bylaw” that forbade the selling of alcohol within its boundaries. While the south-eastern part of The West Bend has always been “wet,” the area from Humberside north and from Indian Road west remained “dry” until the bylaw was overturned in the 2000 municipal election. The southern part of the neighbourhood still looks toward Bloor Street and the city core, while the northern part of the neighbourhood has very strong links to the old Junction.