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Downsview area, including Downsview airport
Downsview area, including Downsview airport
Position of Downsview
Position of Downsview

Downsview is an area in the north end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located in the district of North York. Downsview was originally a farm located in the 1870s near the present-day intersection of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. It now extends beyond the intersection of Sheppard Avenue and Dufferin Street. The area includes several large post-WWII subdivisions. Within the area is Downsview Airport, the former site of Canadian Forces Base Downsview, which has since been largely converted following the end of the Cold War into an urban park known as Downsview Park. However, the airport is still used as a manufacturing and testing facility for Bombardier Aerospace.


  • Demographics 1
  • History 2
    • 2008 Propane Facility Explosions 2.1
  • Parks and recreation facilities 3
  • Education 4
  • Notable sites 5
  • References 6


Downsview has large Italian (14%), Black/Afro-Caribbean (11%) and Latin American (10%) populations.


The area is named for the farm settled by John Perkins Bull called Downs View in 1842 near Keele Street and Rustic Road.[1]

The military base and the de Havilland company, including the runway and all buildings, was closed and sold to Bombardier Aerospace in 1994. Bombardier has been manufacturing and testing commercial aircraft on the site since then.

Most of the houses were built immediately post-war and into the 1960s, though some houses and condos have been recently built near Downsview station. The subway ride south to downtown Toronto is approximately 30 minutes.

The east side of Dufferin Street is primarily residential, while the west side is industrial. This street has been relegated to a quiet service road in the adjacent neighbourhood of Bathurst Manor. Immediately beside Dufferin Street, William R. Allen Road brings large traffic volumes from the Ontario Highway 401 exit just a minute south.

2008 Propane Facility Explosions

On August 10, 2008, just before 4 a.m., massive explosions occurred at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases propane facility, at 54 Murray Rd., located immediately north-east of the intersection of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. An employee of the facility and a firefighter were killed as a result of the explosions. Mayor David Miller had publicly expressed his condolences to the families of the victims shortly thereafter.[2]

Parks and recreation facilities

Downsview Dells Park

Cummunity centres and larger City of Toronto maintained parks in Downsview are:

  • Ancaster Community Centre is small but actively serves the Ancaster community in the Wilson Avenue and Dufferin Street area.[3]
  • Chalkfarm Park is an 11 ha (27 acres) park in the area northwest of Wilson Avenue and Jane Street, that follows the Black Creek. Recreational facilities include tennis courts, bocce courts and a splash pad .[4] as well as the Chalkfarm Community Centre which is connected to the park. The community centre is located within the apartment complex on Chalkfarm Drive north of Sheridan Mall.[5]
  • Downsview Dells Park is a large 75 ha (190 acres) park which follows the valley of the Black Creek as it flows south and west from Sheppard Avenue mid-way between Keele and Jane Streets. The park features wilderness and wetland settings with picnic areas and fire pits. Car parking and washrooms are available within the park.[6] Within the park is Downsview Dells House, a municipal drug and alcohol treatment facility.[7]
  • Roding Park is an 8 ha (20 acres) park near Wilson Avenue and Keele Street. Recreational facilities in the park include a baseball diamond, two tennis courts, four bocce courts and a children's playground.[8] On the north side of the park is Roding Community Centre which houses many community groups and provides afterschool programs for children.[9]


The Toronto District School Board operates Anglophone and secular public schools. The Toronto Catholic District School Board operates Anglophone Catholic public schools. The Conseil scolaire Viamonde operates Francophone and secular public schools. The Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud operates Francophone Catholic public schools.

Public Catholic schools in Downsview include:

Notable sites

Jane-Exbury Towers
  • Jane-Exbury Towers is a large residential complex of five 19-storey high apartment buildings completed in 1969. Designed by architect Uno Prii, they are noted for their mid-century expressionist features.[10]
  • The Downsview Complex is a 30 ha (74 acres) provincial office complex located on the southwest corner of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. Redevelopment of the site began in 2011, and construction began on the Humber River Regional Hospital, which will be located there.[11]
  • Downsview Park is occasionally the host of large public events. On Sunday, July 28, 2002, over 800,000 attended a Papal Mass by Pope John Paul II for World Youth Day. Also, on July 30, 2003, a massive concert labeled Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto held in support of the City of Toronto after the 2003 SARS outbreak there was held on the site entertained half a million music fans.
Looking west over Downsview from Downsview Park
Looking west over Downsview from Downsview Park


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