In the 1870s St. James Town was a desirable upper-middle class neighbourhood with many picturesque Victorian houses. This neighbourhood remained popular until the 1900s.  In 1953 there were major zoning revisions placed by the city of Toronto which increased building coverage and became the prime target for private developers; the entire housing stock was demolished to make space for Toronto's first high-rise residential apartment towers. This location was intentioned for mobile singles and professionals but from the get go St. James has been populated by low to moderate income families.

St. James Town is the most dense spots in Canada, there are many buildings clustered around Parliament and Wellesley. In fact there are eighteen high-rise apartment buildings, almost seven thousand units, and over fifteen thousand residents in an area of 32.1 acres. Moreover, many new condos are planned along Bloor, Sherbourne and Linden. Due to the new residential buildings this location will see many more new cafes, bars and shops in addition to the Sri Lankan and Southern Indian joints. North St. James is home to many renters with the odd million dollar mansion here and there. There is very little room for large houses, the older houses that remain in the are will need significant investment to be turned into single-family homes.

In terms of recreation there is lots to do in St. James Town; there are many swimming pools, and children's playground sprinkled throughout the neighbourhood, there is the Rose Avenue Community Centre located in the Rose Avenue Public School which is open during the evenings and weekends. There are many city parks nearby by such as the; Wellesley Park, Riverdale Park West, Winchester Park, and Allan Gardens. There is a limited number of convenience type stores. However, drug stores, grocery stores, dry cleaners, clothing stores, banks and restaurants are all located on the main streets (Wellesley Street, Sherbourne Street, and Parliament Street) that border this neighbourhood.

According to the July 2015 TREB report the average selling price of all homes is $498,743.  The average selling price of a detached home is $2,050,000. The average selling price of a semi-detached homes is $1,450,000. The average selling price of a condominium townhouse is $562,425 and the average selling price of a condominium apartment is $456,016.

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