These communities are west and northwest of High Park, on both sides of Bloor Street West and its popular shopping district. The first European to set foot here was Etienne Brule in 1615, who met with the area's First Nations. In the 1850s, the land of Bloor West Village was owned by William Smith Durie, the first commanding officer of the Queens Own Rifles, and for whom Durie Street is named. In 1909, after the area was annexed by Toronto, the roads were paved and the community was developed, and largely completed by 1923. Many of the early residents were from Easter Europe. Swansea, south of Bloor, is bounded by The Humber River, Lake Ontario, and Grenadier Pond in High Park. Incorporated as a village in 1926, Swansea was amalgamated into Toronto in 1967 along with Forest Hill.
Motorists are minutes away from downtown via the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard. TTC transit users can take the #77 Windermere/Morningside bus to either the Runnymede station (Bloor-Danforth subway line) or to Lake Shore Blvd and the King St West streetcar line.
The community is served by 1 public elementary school, 2 Catholic elementary schools, 2 secondary schools and 1 public library. University of Toronto is accessed via the Yonge-University-Spadina subway, and Ryerson University is accessed via Lakeshore/Kings Street streetcar going east and Humber College's Lakeshore campus is accessible via the Lake Shore Blvd bus westbound.
The Bloor West Village shopping district has not only great shopping by a cultural mish-mash of European restaurants, bakeries and delis. More shops are found north of Bloor along Jane and on Annette Street.
The area is on the west side of 161 hectare (399 acre) High Park, which has a large pond, picnic areas and gardens, an outdoor amphitheatre, a restaurant, an outdoor pool, various sports facilities (tennis, baseball, soccer, lawn bowling), and for the kids, a trackless train, a small zoo, and a playground.
The paved recreational pathways along the Humber connect to the Martin Goodman Trail along the city's waterfront. The community also has a gym, baseball diamond, tennis courts, outdoor pool, playgrounds & a wading pool. On Bloor street is the Village Playhouse performance theatre.
Bloor West Village homes were built for immigrants between 1912 and 1923, and most have porches overlooking tree-lined streets. Swansea's homes, built from 1950 to 1935, are larger and many have views to Grenadier pond or the Humber River, Swansea's smaller homes are away from the attractive edges, and include bungalows, semi-detached homes and some workers cottages. There are also some rental apartment buildings in the community. Homes in the community are priced in the low to high-medium price ranges.