rAs someone who has traveled extensively around the world, I’ve seen the best and worst of many cities. Toronto, a city I hold dear, is no exception.
While it boasts many safe and vibrant neighborhoods, there are areas that have garnered a reputation for being less than ideal.
Based on my personal experiences and extensive research, here’s a countdown of the 15 neighborhoods in Toronto that have some challenges.
Riskiest Places In Toronto
Leslieville, also known as South Riverdale, is situated east of the Don River. While it has its charm, certain parts of this neighborhood have reported higher crime rates.
- Around Eastern Avenue and Leslie Street, the crime rate per 1000 people is 13.55.
- For 1000 properties, the rate is 22.22.
- Coxwell and Greenwood areas have similar rates.
Leslieville, with its proximity to the Don River, has seen a mix of development and challenges. While some parts are thriving with new businesses and homes, others face issues related to crime and safety.
Located east of the Don River Valley, Riverdale is another neighborhood with a mixed reputation. While it’s home to many families and parks, certain areas have reported high crime rates.
- The area bounded by Bain Avenue, Gerrard Avenue, Don River Avenue, Hampton Avenue, and Danforth Avenue has a crime rate of 16.87 per 1,000 people.
- The property crime rate stands at 32.34 per 1,000 properties.
Riverdale’s diverse community and beautiful parks make it a sought-after location. However, like many urban areas, it faces challenges related to safety and security.
Also known as Emery, Humbermede is located near the River Humber. This neighborhood mainly consists of single-family homes and schools, but certain areas have reported higher crime rates.
- The Lanyard Road, Finch Road, and Rumike Roadshow areas have an average crime rate of 10.71 per 1000 people.
- The region surrounded by St. Lucie Park, Sheppard, Finch, and the River Humber has a crime rate of 6.53 per 1000 people and 12.88 per 1000 properties.
Humbermede’s proximity to the River Humber and its family-friendly vibe make it a popular choice for many. However, residents and visitors should be aware of the areas with higher crime rates and take necessary precautions.
Situated on the east side of High Park, Roncesvalles is a neighborhood known for its vibrant community and cultural events. However, certain parts have reported higher property crime rates, even though crime against people remains relatively low.
- The North-Western region has a crime rate of 4.4 per 1000 people and 19.15 per 1000 properties.
- The Southern Region reports a crime rate of 5.85 towards people and 14.69 against property.
Roncesvalles, with its charming streets and community events, is a favorite for many. But, as with many urban neighborhoods, there are pockets where crime is a concern, and residents need to be vigilant.
Located in Downtown Toronto, between Bloor and Dupont Streets, the Annex is a bustling area close to the University of Toronto campus. With a mix of students, professionals, and families, it’s a highly populated area that has seen its share of crime.
- Annex reports a crime rate of 8.16 per 1000 people.
- Property-related crimes stand at 23.75 per 1000 properties.
The Annex, with its historic homes and proximity to the university, is a hub of activity. While it’s a hotspot for culture and nightlife, residents and visitors should be aware of safety concerns in certain areas.
10. Casa Loma
Casa Loma, named after the famous castle in its vicinity, is a neighborhood known for its affluence and architectural beauty. However, certain parts have reported higher crime rates, especially related to property.
- The area experiences an average crime rate of 5.93 per 1000 people.
- Property-related crimes are at 29.23 per 1000 properties.
Casa Loma, with its grand homes and scenic views, is undoubtedly one of Toronto’s jewels. But, as with any urban area, there are challenges related to safety and security. It’s always a good idea to be informed and cautious.
9. Forest Hill South
Forest Hill South is a neighborhood known for its luxurious single-family homes and affluent residents. While it’s a sought-after area for many, the presence of large homes has made it an attractive target for burglars.
- The Western Region shows an average crime rate of 4.04 against people and 12.49 against properties.
- The Eastern region reports a crime rate of 2.32 per thousand people and 16.29 per thousand properties.
Forest Hill South, with its tree-lined streets and grand homes, exudes opulence. However, residents need to be vigilant and invest in security measures to protect their properties from potential threats.
8. Little Portugal
Located in the west end of Toronto, Little Portugal, sometimes referred to as ‘Old Toronto,’ is a vibrant neighborhood known for its cultural events and festivals. However, certain pockets have reported higher crime rates.
- The area surrounding College, Brick, Landsdowne, and Dundas reports a crime rate of 8.69 against people and 23.22 against properties.
Little Portugal is a testament to Toronto’s multicultural fabric, with its festivals and community events. While it’s a hub of activity and culture, residents and visitors should be cautious in certain areas, especially during late hours.
7. The Beaches
Situated on the east side of Queen Street, The Beaches is a neighborhood known for its scenic beachfront and community events. However, certain parts have reported higher crime rates, especially related to property.
- The commercial district has a crime rate of 7.8 per 1,000 people and properties.
The Beaches, with its sandy shores and community vibe, is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. While it’s a place of relaxation and fun, it’s essential to be aware of one’s surroundings, especially during the busy summer months.
6. Bay Street Corridor
The Bay Street Corridor is a bustling region in Toronto, characterized by its high-rise buildings, office towers, and apartments.
The heart of this area is filled with restaurants, stores, and bars. While it’s a hub for business and nightlife, certain parts have reported higher crime rates.
- Bloor Street, Queen’s Park Avenue, College Street, and Yonge Street areas have shown a crime rate of 4 per 1,000 people and 12.51 against properties.
The Bay Street Corridor, with its skyline-defining buildings and vibrant nightlife, is a testament to Toronto’s urban growth. However, like any major business district worldwide, it faces challenges related to safety, especially during late hours.
Weston, with its diverse streets, was once an independent town known as the Town of Weston. Over the years, it has been integrated into Toronto and has seen varying crime rates based on different streets and regions.
- Lawrence Avenue reports a crime rate of 7.49 per 1000 people and 33.72 per 1000 properties.
- Humber River area has rates of 9.35 per 1000 people and 11.19 per 1000 properties.
- Roman Way Crescent and Clouston Avenue also report higher crime rates in specific categories.
Weston, with its rich history and community vibe, offers a mix of urban and suburban experiences. While many parts of Weston are safe and family-friendly, it’s essential to be informed about areas with higher crime rates.
4. Moss Park
Moss Park, located south of Dundas Street and around Parliament Street, is a neighborhood that has seen significant challenges over the years. While there are efforts to rejuvenate the area, it still holds a high record in terms of property crime.
- The average crime rate is 20.81 per 1000 people.
- Property-related crimes stand at 45.94 per 1000 properties.
Moss Park, with its parks and community centers, has the potential to be a thriving neighborhood. However, ongoing challenges related to crime and safety have made it essential for residents and visitors to be cautious.
3. Flemingdon Park
Situated in the former city of North York, Flemingdon Park is a neighborhood that has seen its share of challenges over the years. Some high schools in the area have even reported higher crime rates, making it a concern for residents.
- The crime rate stands at 4.19 per 1000 people.
- Property-related crimes are at 6 per 1000 properties.
Flemingdon Park, with its mix of residential and commercial areas, has been a focal point for development initiatives. While there are concerns related to safety, there are also community efforts to improve the neighborhood’s overall well-being.
2. St. James Town
St. James Town, one of the most densely populated areas in Toronto, is known for its high-rise community. Once considered one of the best places to visit in Toronto, it has seen a shift in its reputation over the years.
- The average crime rate per 1000 people is 10.44.
- Property-related crimes are at 24.97 per 1000 properties, with most crimes related to theft, robbery, and assault.
St. James Town, with its unique architectural design and close-knit community, has faced challenges related to overcrowding and safety. However, community initiatives and development projects aim to rejuvenate the area and improve the quality of life for its residents.
1. Regent Park
Topping our list is Regent Park, located in downtown Toronto. Initially developed to provide housing for low-income residents, it has faced multiple challenges over the years, from inadequate housing to educational concerns.
- Around Gerrard Street and Dundas Street, the crime rate is 11.97 per 1000 people, with property crimes at 18.53.
- South of Dundas to Queen Street reports a crime rate of 12.99 against people and 22.39 against property.
Regent Park, with its rich history and diverse population, is undergoing significant redevelopment to improve living conditions and opportunities for its residents. While it faces challenges, there’s hope and determination within the community to transform it into a thriving neighborhood.
Safety Tips for Toronto
Toronto, like any major city, requires visitors and residents to be aware of their surroundings and take necessary precautions. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Stay Informed: Familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods you plan to visit. Some areas might have higher crime rates, especially during nighttime.
- Public Transportation: While Toronto’s public transportation system is generally safe, avoid empty subway cars during off-peak hours.
- Secure Your Belongings: Petty thefts can occur, especially in crowded areas. Always keep an eye on your belongings and avoid displaying expensive items.
- Stay Vigilant at Night: If walking at night, stick to well-lit areas and avoid shortcuts through alleys or parks.
- Travel in Groups: There’s safety in numbers. If possible, travel with friends or family, especially during late hours.
- Avoid Confrontations: If approached by an aggressive individual, it’s best to walk away and avoid escalating the situation.
- Stay Sober: If you plan to consume alcohol, do so responsibly. Being intoxicated can make you an easy target.
- Use Reputable Taxi Services: If using a taxi, ensure it’s from a reputable company. Alternatively, use trusted ride-sharing services.
- Emergency Numbers: Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers. In Toronto, dial 911 for emergencies.
- Stay Updated: Check local news or community bulletins for any recent incidents or areas to avoid.
The Most Horrific Crime in Toronto’s History
One of the most chilling crimes in Toronto’s history is the case of Bruce McArthur, a serial killer who preyed on men from 2010 to 2017. McArthur targeted men from Toronto’s Gay Village, a vibrant community in the heart of the city. His victims were primarily men of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent, many of whom had been reported missing for years.
McArthur’s crimes came to light in 2018 when he was arrested and subsequently charged with the murders of eight men. The investigation revealed a gruesome pattern, with McArthur dismembering his victims and hiding their remains in planters at a property where he worked as a landscaper.
The case sent shockwaves through Toronto, especially within the LGBTQ+ community. It raised concerns about how missing persons cases were handled, particularly those involving marginalized communities. The city grappled with the horror of the crimes and the realization that a serial killer had operated undetected for years.
The Bruce McArthur case serves as a somber reminder of the importance of community vigilance, the need for thorough investigative work, and the challenges faced by marginalized groups in society.
Why is Toronto so popular?
Toronto is popular for a myriad of reasons. It’s Canada’s largest city and serves as a major hub for finance, arts, culture, and entertainment. Its multicultural fabric means a rich tapestry of cuisines, festivals, and traditions.
The city boasts iconic landmarks like the CN Tower, world-class museums, and a vibrant arts scene. Additionally, Toronto’s proximity to natural wonders like Niagara Falls also adds to its appeal.
Where do rich people live in Toronto?
Toronto has several affluent neighborhoods where the city’s wealthy residents often reside. Some of the most upscale areas include Forest Hill, Rosedale, Bridle Path, Yorkville, and Lawrence Park.
These neighborhoods are characterized by luxurious homes, manicured lawns, and proximity to high-end amenities and shopping districts.
What is downtown Toronto known for?
Downtown Toronto is known for its bustling urban environment, iconic skyscrapers, and a plethora of attractions. It’s home to the Financial District, the Entertainment District with theaters and music venues, the historic Distillery District, and shopping hubs like the Eaton Centre.
The CN Tower, one of the world’s tallest freestanding structures, is also located in downtown Toronto. The area is a melting pot of cultures, offering a diverse range of restaurants, bars, and entertainment options.
What is the best month to visit Toronto?
The best month to visit Toronto largely depends on personal preferences. However, many consider late spring to early fall, specifically May through September, to be ideal.
During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the city hosts a variety of festivals and outdoor events. For those who enjoy winter sports or want to experience a Canadian winter, December to February offers snowy landscapes and winter festivities.
What is the most popular food in Toronto?
Given its multicultural nature, Toronto offers a vast array of cuisines. However, some popular dishes and snacks that have become synonymous with the city include peameal bacon sandwiches (often referred to as “Toronto’s signature dish”), butter tarts, and poutine.
Additionally, due to its diversity, foods like dim sum, roti, and shawarma have also become staples in the Toronto food scene.
Toronto, a city of contrasts and cultures, offers a unique blend of experiences for both residents and visitors. While it’s essential to be aware of the challenges in certain neighborhoods, it’s equally important to celebrate the city’s resilience, diversity, and spirit.
As with any major metropolis, Toronto is ever-evolving, and its neighborhoods reflect its dynamic nature. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, Toronto promises a journey of discovery, growth, and connection.