This community has long been one of Toronto's most prestigious areas, favoured for its close proximity to downtown, and its proximity to two elite private schools: Upper Canada College for boys, and Bishop Strachan School for girls. The community is gently sloped, well treed, and many small parks dot the community. The mansions in Lower Forest Hill are as prized as those in Rosedale. The First nations called the area "Ishapadenah", which means a hill or sudden rise in land, which was anglicized to "Spadina". Forest Hill was incorporated as a village in 1923, and was named for the 1860 summer residence of early resident John Wickson, though the forest has long disappeared. "Lower Forest Hill", south of Eglinton, was completely developed by the 1930s, and the area north of Eglinton ("Upper Forest Hills", also Allenby) was developed later once the railway tracks & adjoining industry were removed. In 1967, Forest Hill Village was annexed into the City of Toronto, along with the Village of Swansea, west of High Park.
Motorists are 15 minutes from downtown Toronto via either Mount Pleasant Road or Yonge Street. The city's major highways are 20 minutes away. TTC has regular bus service along Yonge and Eglinton, with rush hour service along Avenue Rd/Oriole Parkway. The community is adjacent to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway route, and within walking distance of the subway station.
The community is served by 4 elementary schools, 1 public high school, and 2 private schools, and 1 public library. De La Salle College is on Avenue Road at Farnham, George Brown College is just south of Davenport, St Michael's College is nearby at Bathurst & St Clair. University of Toronto and Ryerson University are accessed via the Yonge-University-Spadina subway.
The community shops locally in the Forest Hill Village shopping district, on Spadina at Lonsdale roads, and at the Eglinton West Village shopping district, which has lots of fine restaurants and food stores.
The paved Beltline Recreational Trail, which follows the route of the long-gone Beltway railway line, is popular with runners, cyclists and bladders and runs northwest toward the Allen Expressway before turn back southeast through Cedarvale to Casa Loma. The neighbourhood has a number of smaller parks and playgrounds.
Forest Hill's homes are subject to old building codes and bylaws that date to its early village days in the 1920s and 30s, which gave the community its brick and stone mansions, with majestic trees along the streets. The slightly smaller homes north of Eglinton were built in the 1940s and 50s. The area has a number of high-rises to the west of Spadina, and along Avenue Road between Lonsdale and St Clair Ave W. The homes here are priced in the low-medium to luxury price ranges.