Rathnelly is a picturesque little enclave of homes, situated at the bottom of the Avenue Road Hill. It is home to a large number of artists, academics, writers, and media people.
Rathnelly residents organize a one-of-a-kind street festival, held either every year or when the mood strikes. The highlight of the festival is a much anticipated pancake breakfast that Rathnelly residents literally flip over.
Rathnelly's history revolves around the former Rathnelly house built in 1830 by Senator William McMaster. McMaster's home was named after his birth place in Rathnelly, Ireland. The McMaster estate remained intact until the 1880's, when it was sold to developers. The present day neighbourhood began shortly thereafter.
The Rathnelly neighbourhood made headlines in 1967, while celebrating Canada's 100th birthday. During the celebrations Rathnelly residents playfully declared themselves as an independent republic of Canada. To mark their independence, the "Republic of Rathnelly" elected a queen, organized a parade, formed an "air farce" of 1,000 helium balloons, and issued Republic of Rathnelly passports to everyone in the neighbourhood.
The Republic of Rathnelly celebrations continue to this day with an annual street party. Long live the Queen.
Rathnelly's impressive Victorian homes are shaded by a canopy of silver maple trees. These solid brick detached and semi-detached houses were built between 1880 and 1910.
Rathnelly residents are within walking distance of a small pocket of exclusive shops and restaurants, clustered around the south-west corner of Davenport and Avenue Roads.
South of Davenport Road, and east of Avenue Road is the Bloor-Yorkville shopping district. This prestigious shopping mecca features an impressive array of international retailers, antique shops, art galleries, and a myriad of coffee shops, cafes and restaurants.
The Brown Community Centre and School on Avenue Road, south of St. Clair Avenue, features an indoor pool, a gymnasium, a baseball diamond and two tennis courts. Access to the Nordheimer Ravine and Nature Trail is available off Boulton Drive. This ravine trail cuts through Sir Winston Churchill Park, which has ten floodlit tennis courts, a wading pool and a children's playground.
The Avenue Road bus has rush hour service to and from downtown. The Davenport Road bus connects passengers to the Bay Street station on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. The St. Clair streetcar takes passengers to the St. Clair subway station on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line.
Motorists are minutes from Toronto's business and entertainment districts. It is approximately twenty minutes south to Lake Shore Boulevard, and the same distance north to Highway 401.