Etobicoke-Lakeshore isn’t necessarily a neighbourhood you think about when looking to invest in Toronto. It’s not quite in the downtown core.
Its north-western corner is near the QEW and highway 427, and is bordered by the water on the east and the south. And it has a different name. I know what you’re thinking: isn’t Etobicoke, you know, far?
It’s not as far as you think. It’s also not quite a suburb. Etobicoke-Lakeshore used to be part of Toronto’s “Lakeshore Municipalities”; Mimico, New Toronto, and Long Beach. It’s essentially one-third of Etobicoke - the southern third - and it holds some of Toronto’s major arteries.
It’s also home to many Slavic residents. Etobicoke-Lakeshore has the highest percentage of Polish, Ukrainian and Serbian speakers in a single neighbourhood (15%) in all of Canada. You can find some of the best haluski, cabbage rolls and cold soup in the whole city in this undervalued, out-of-the way pocket.
More than half of Toronto’s major arteries run through Etobicoke-Lakeshore. It’s a commuter’s dream - quick, easy access to the Mimico Go station, the Islington subway station, the Gardiner Expressway, Lakeshore Blvd, the QEW and the 427. All of them. Living here means you can work almost anywhere with a no-fuss commute. That includes traffic!
That might be because it has the lowest population density out of any Toronto neighbourhood. Until the nineties, Etobicoke-Lakeshore was home to sawmills, small industry, factories and warehouses - and their surrounding employees.
It's what makes here feel like a community. Parks, the waterfront trails, community centres, and a high density of single-family homes; Etobicoke Lakeshore has a suburban vibe while still being an integrated, proximitous Toronto neighbourhood.
In the last two decades, waterfront condos and loft conversions have taken many of those formerly industrious spaces. And there’s still tons of growth happening.
Okay, okay: to some, it’s far out of the downtown core. To us diehard King-and-Bathurst west-enders, Lakeshore is far. Mimico is far. Even Dufferin is far. And that’s okay. Lakeshore isn’t the neighbourhood for everybody.
Except it is. The problem with Etobicoke-Lakeshore is that, unlike many of Toronto’s neighbourhoods, it doesn’t have a unified identity.
This isn’t a bad thing. I think it’s one of the neighbourhood’s greatest strengths.
Since the 2000s, an affluent working population has grown in Lakeshore for the area’s golf courses, waterfront properties, and vast green spaces. The area’s older bungalows and industrial architecture mean lots of families, from all walks of life, still live there. Immigrants, newer families, older generations, affluent couples, mobile seniors, and many unique racial groups all call it home.
But I would say that, for Toronto in particular, many people like to settle into neighbourhoods that feel uniquely them. Etobicoke is, instead, uniquely everybody. That’s why I love it. And it’s what makes it one of the most undervalued neighbourhoods in the entire city.
Even if I think it’s the most undervalued, what matters is whether tenants think so. Do tenants want to live there? And will you get a return on a property?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is probably.
You can’t ignore Etobicoke-Lakeshore’s arterial value. It’s just too great of a commuter neighbourhood to overlook. It’s close, suburban-ish, beautiful, and just a quick jaunt to the downtown core (in one of many different modes of transportation).
There’s a huge demographic opportunity here that I think we often overlook: professional couples with very young kids who currently live in the downtown core.
These families are looking for much more space than they can afford in the city - or even what they can find. But they don’t want to move to the actual suburbs. It’s a trend many Torontonians have noticed: where are the two- and three-bedroom condos?
You can provide that space. And Etobicoke-Lakeshore is the right neighbourhood to find it in.
As an investor, I’d recommend prioritizing for families: two bedrooms or more, higher square footage, and family-focused amenities. Aim for close proximity to grocery stores and even a school if you can hack it. You should be able to find a grateful tenant in no time.
Do you live in Etobicoke Lakeshore? Would you recommend living there? Let me know in the comments!