One of the best things about the City of Toronto is its superior— and plentiful — post secondary institutions. This is especially good news for real estate investors because it means there are always plenty of willing tenants in the city. Thanks to the GTA’s integrated transit system, nearly every neighbourhood is within reach of one of the universities or colleges — but they’re not all created equal.
Students are attracted to certain neighbourhoods because of their proximity to campus, but also because of their culture and character. Of course, you need to consider that some neighbourhoods are within actual walking distance to school, adding even more value to a location.
These are the places investors should look if they aim to capitalize on the city’s student population:
- Nearby schools: University of Toronto, George Brown Casa Loma Campus
- Nearby subway stations: St George, Spadina, Bathurst, Dupont
- Developments: 316 Bloor St W, 300 Bloor St W, Designers Walk
- Total Enrollments: 150,000 students
This is known to be one of the most valuable areas in the city, and it’s the ideal place to live for students. The Annex's name comes from the subway lines’ intersection, putting University of Toronto, Ryerson University, OCAD University, and George Brown Casa Loma Campus in close reach. Even York University can be easily reached thanks to the recent Line 1 subway extension.
The neighbourhood is also loaded with an eclectic group of cafes, which makes it an even better place for students. No matter the vibe they’re looking for, students will be able to find a coffee shop where they can feel comfortable doing school work, or catching up with a friend.
- Nearby schools: Ryerson University, University of Toronto, OCAD University
- Nearby subway stations: College, Dundas, Queen
- Developments: Garden District Condominiums, Prime Condos, 225 Jarvis St, 60 Queen St E
- Total Enrollments: 150,000 students
This is another downtown neighbourhood that’s a great fit for students. Ryerson University is actually a part of this neighbourhood, so students will definitely be within walking distance if they live here. U of T and OCAD University are also within walking distance, making a great fit for numerous students.
The Garden District is named after the Allen Garden, which is a free botanical garden in the northeast section of the neighbourhood. In addition to showcasing beautiful flora from all over the world, it’s a tranquil place to visit if you need to read or study. It’s always temperate too, offering a warm respite from the cold winter months.
- Nearby schools: George Brown St James Campus, Ryerson University
- Nearby subway stations: King, Queen
- Developments: East United Condos, St. Lawrence Condominiums
- Total Enrollments: 120,000 students
This well preserved neighbourhood is located in the southeastern part of downtown, and it has a truly unique feel compared to the rest of the city. It was once filled with a slew of factories and warehouses, but today they’ve been restored as charming live/work lofts. St Lawrence is the location of George Brown St. James Campus, and Ryerson is within walking distance too. Students can also reach U of T and OCAD thanks to King Station.
The wide variety of bars and restaurants here translate into a vibrant nightlife, and students will also love to buy fresh produce at St. Lawrence Market.
- Nearby schools: York University, University of Toronto
- Nearby subway stations: Yorkdale, Lawrence West
- Developments: The New Lawrence Heights, The Yorkdale Condos, Oasis Townhomes
- Total Enrollments: 92,300 students
Leaving downtown, Lawrence Heights is emerging as a notably great place to live if you’re studying at York University. The Line 1 extension puts it only a few stops away from York University Station, and students can even reach U of T in under 20 minutes.
Condos in this part of town cost significantly less than their downtown counterparts, which translates into cheaper rents for the money conscious student. They’ll also enjoy having Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Lawrence Square nearby for convenient shopping. The schools are just one reason investors should be looking at the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood.
- Nearby schools: York University
- Nearby subway stations: Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
- Developments: Transit City Condos, CG Tower, EXPO Condos, The Met Condos
- Total Enrollment: 52,300 students
This neighbourhood is the hidden gem on the list. There are numerous new developments coming to this neighbourhood, and they’re mostly centred around the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. With most of the GTA’s schools being located along the western side of Line 1, the VMC is minutes away from York, U of T, George Brown Casa Loma Campus, and OCAD.
Soon, the VMC will be transformed into a haven of mixed-use high-rises that will house a diverse mix of people. Shops, cafes, restaurants, and a park will change the area into a vibrant community.
- Nearby schools: Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo
- Nearby transit: Ion rapid transit, GO Transit
- Developments: ONE28 King St N, Sage X Condos
- Total Enrollments: 55,000 students
If you’re looking to invest in areas close to campuses, you’ll definitely want to take a look at the other schools in Southern Ontario. Kitchener-Waterloo is particularly exciting because it has two world-class universities, and they’ve recently catalyzed some major developments in the city.
Thanks to Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, the city’s been attracting a mix of employers who are looking to hire young professionals directly out of school. Kitchener-Waterloo is also getting a new Light Rail Transit system called Ion rapid transit, which will greatly improve public transit in the region.