Welcome to a new series on the different communities throughout the city of Toronto. In this feature we’ll look at iconic Toronto neighbourhoods from east to west and north to south, all across this vast metropolis we call home. Whether you’re a resident or visitor there’s something for everyone, from the mellow treed Beaches or High Park, to Uptown Yonge or the downtown core (Financial District) and neighbourhoods like the Annex, Bloor Yorkville, and Southcore, featured in this post.
Let’s get started and explore this fast rising star downtown.
What’s in a name? Southcore explained
Located just south of the financial district and adjacent to the Harbourfront neighbourhood, Southcore takes its name from its proximity to the traditional “core” and its similar collection of imposing skyscrapers.
On the north-south axis of the city, which is defined in part by Yonge St, there is no location further south than Southcore, which is right beside the waters of Lake Ontario.
Rail History and Rapid Growth
The South Core occupies the eastern portions of the Railway Lands. According to Wikipedia, “The remodeling and restoration of Union Station and the construction of a new wave of business and condominium towers is central to this area’s forecast growth.”
The rail aspect of this neighbourhood is a key feature, and we highly recommend making sure to check out the rail museum!
How to explore Southcore
An easy way to immerse yourself in this hood is to travel by transit to the downtown hub known as Union Station. Exit the underground system south of the rail yards and beside the famous Scotiabank Arena you’ll find Maple Leaf Square, a good starting point for exploration.
Art and Architecture, Sculptures and Sports
The public art and skyscrapers surrounding Maple Leaf Square are impressive. This part of Southcore is akin to a second entertainment district, which almost rivals the traditional one found north a few blocks on King St. West. There are lots of restaurants and eateries and shows are a constant at the arena, along with sporting events featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club and the Raptors basketball team.
Check out these images from around Maple Leaf Square – hockey is important here, as the square is named for the famed Toronto hockey team.
Iconic CN Tower and Rogers Centre
There is really no other destination as well known and iconic as CN Tower, which sits beside Rogers Centre aka Skydome (as locals have historically called it). A bonus is that Ripley’s Aquarium is also a first rate attraction and it sits alongside, creating a trifecta of places to visit.
Of course Rogers Centre would need to be visited during a baseball game or concert, so it’s more likely you’ll spend time going up CN tower or wandering around the incredible aquarium. If you are tight for time we recommend doing one or the other, as both the tower and Ripley’s are worth spending a few hours in. If you do both in one day, perhaps hit one of the parks outside for a rest before doing the second. For a chill alternative, see our next section for a suggestion about low key railway museum and brew restaurant across the street.
Rail Museum and Steam Whistle Brewery
One highlight is the historical aspect of the area. Amid the rising towers and star attractions like CN tower or the aquarium is the quaint and fun Toronto railroad museum. You enter another world when you arrive at this spot which is home to the Steam Whistle brew pub and a giant railway switch known as Roundhouse Park.
Kids of all ages can clamber atop freight and passenger engines and cars from bygone eras. Go into the Toronto Railway museum for a glimpse at the area’s storied history and grab a drink and lunch in the Steam Whistle brewery, the name of the establishment a nod to the rail-themed history of this place.
On a sunny day, almost any time of the year, this neighbourhood offers world class attractions, restaurants and urban views that are unparalleled. It’s a hop, skip, and jump away from other cool neighbourhoods like Harbourfront / Waterfront and the aforementioned Entertainment District.
I hope you enjoyed this photographic tour around Southcore, and next time you’re in downtown Toronto, consider stopping by and exploring this gem.
Alternate Neighbourhoods close to Southcore
You can also check out:
- Financial District / Yonge St (Eaton Centre shopping)
- Harbourfront / Toronto Islands (Centre Island)
- King St. West / Entertainment District
Links and Resources
Check the official websites of the attractions for notes on opening hours and admission rates.
Toronto Railway Museum
Southcore at Wikipedia
Credit: these images by @thelandofdustin