The Annex is an urban neighbourhood characterized by grand houses that are in close proximity to the downtown core. Many of the houses in the area have been subdivided for multi-family use – which creates living/income opportunities.
The traditional boundaries of the neighbourhood are north to Dupont Street, south to Bloor Street, west to Bathurst Street and east to Avenue Road. The City of Toronto recognizes a broader neighbourhood definition that includes the adjacent Seaton Village and Yorkville areas.
The Annex is mainly residential, with tree-lined one-way streets lined with Victorian and Edwardian homes and mansions, most of them built between 1880 and the early 1900s. The 1950s and 1960s saw the replacement of some homes and mansions with mid-rise and a handful of high-rise apartment buildings in the International style. These were surrounded with landscaped green spaces in an attempt to better fit into the neighbourhood. The houses here are closer to each other, with long lots. Many of the homes here feature lane way access to garages that enclose their back yards, creating private gardens in back.
The stretch of Bloor Street between St. George and Bathurst is vibrant and social, offering a wide range of services – from moderate-priced dining to independent retailers in buildings which often include residential space in upper floors. Just west of the Annex proper, between Bathurst and Christie, street signs on that stretch of Bloor call it Koreatown, although the neighbourhood north of Bloor Street is usually called Seaton Village or the “West Annex”. During the 1950s and 1960s, an influx of Hungarian immigrants moved into the neighbourhood and some of the businesses and properties along Bloor are owned by Hungarian-Canadian families.
As a downtown residential area, it tends to attract professionals, intellectuals and (with its proximity to University of Toronto and OCAD University) students. The proximity to Downtown and Downtown West gives residents a strong sense of connection to the city.