Sunnylea is a well-treed mature neighbourhood that is bisected by the pretty Mimico Creek, and is popular with young families. The land was first settled by Alexander Thompson in 1803 which developed into fruit orchards and market gardens. The community was named Sunnylea in 1907 when its first school was built. Sunnylea's old farms were subdivided in the 1930s and 40s for new homes. Some of the original farmhouses can be found along Prince Edward Drive and Islington Avenue.
Motorists commute into Toronto via Lake Shore Boulevard or the Gardiner Expressway. TTC bus routes on Prince Edward Drive, Royal York Road and Islington Avenue connect to stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
The community is served by 3 public elementary schools a Catholic elementary, two public high schools, and a public library. University of Toronto is easily accessible via the Bloor-Danforth subway, and Humber College Lakeshore Campus is accessed via the 501/508 Lake Shore Blvd buses.
Sunnylea residents have close access to the Kingsway Village shopping district (on Bloor Street West) with its brick sidewalks, cast iron street lamps and flags on the boulevard median. This district has high-end specialty shops and restaurants, as well as professional services.
The community has lots of parks along the pretty Mimico Creek, and has access to the paved recreational pathways along the Humber River. The Norseman Community School, has an indoor pool with public swim programs. Park Lawn Park has an outdoor pool and a winter ice arena that converts to summertime tennis courts. Other parks provide children's playgrounds and there is a seniors centre.
Homes from the 1940s and 50s are typically bungalow, split-level, storey-and- a-half, and two-storey detached homes with a thirty foot frontage (or more) and a driveway. There are older and more elaborate Tudor style houses with riverstone exteriors, stone chimneys, and front porches. The Thompson Orchard Community Association, which represents Sunnylea, has convinced the city to pass site specific zoning by-laws which protect the neighbourhood's residential character. Homes in this community are in the low-middle to high-middle price levels.