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This area is a little piece of Riverdale that is tucked away, and is closed on three sides like a pocket. The only entrance is from Jones Avenue, Euston or Chatham. It’s a quiet little enclave in one of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods. Phin Park is the heart of the Pocket, with a playground and large green spaces.
Riverdale’s largest attraction is Danforth Avenue, or Greek town, North America’s largest Greek neighbourhood. Available on Danforth, east of Broadview, is many Greek restaurants, cafes, speciality food stores, bakeries and shops. Riverdale also has a mini Chinatown at Broadview and Gerrard, with numerous grocery stands and restaurants. At the corner of Pape and Gerrard sits Gerrard Square, an indoor shopping mall with over 70 stores. Riverdale has a large residential area, which is filled with family homes and green parks. There are three main parks in the neighbourhood: Riverdale Park East, which has an amazing view of the downtown skyline, Withrow Park and Jimmie Simpson Park, which all have tennis courts, baseball diamonds, wading pools and hockey rinks. Also in this area is Pape Recreational Centre and four public libraries, with regular programs for all ages.
Riverdale was a small community until the 1850’s when the Grand Trunk Railway started to pass through the area. This brought employment opportunities to the neighbourhood, which in turn brought development to the area. Riverdale actually used to be named Riverside but was changed to reference the city park of Riverdale, which had belonged to the area for a long while. The area’s development continued to boom when the city’s largest bridge, the Prince Edward Viaduct, was built in1918, directly connecting Riverdale to the rest of the city.
The Pocket started to become apparent about twenty years ago when young families started to purchase the older homes, which were built before WWI, and turned them into something unique. Ben Kerr Lane was named after a longtime resident of the area, mayoral candidate Ben Kerr.