Observatory History:The neighbourhood of Observatory, Richmond Hill, consists of the land bounded by Sixteenth Avenue in the south, Weldrick Road East to the north, Bayview Avenue to the east and Yonge Street to the west.
Upon looking at a map of the community, it appears that almost half of the land is made up of the original David Dunlap Observatory property that once belonged to the University of Toronto. It has been sold, however, and much of the property may, well, become the site of new home construction. Many residents and interest groups have lobbied to all levels of government, and it appears possible that the David Dunlap Observatory telescope and Administration Building could even be preserved as a Canadian Heritage site.
Lots 41, 42 and most of 43 were the three original Markham parcels of land that today form the Observatory neighbourhood. Lot 41 on the north side of Sixteenth Avenue was sold to Robert Marsh in 1815, and, it remained an active farm during the nineteenth century.
Beautiful Dunlap Observatory
Robert Marsh, also, purchased Lot 42 on the north side of this parcel in 1802. The Marsh farm became 400 acres in total with Yonge Street frontage. The Marsh home, built in 1844, still stands on the property, and was once used as the residence for thr Director of the David Dunlap Observatory. At present, the main entrance to the Observatory is off Hillsview Drive on the north side. But, the original entranceway to the farm came off Yonge Street directly to the Marsh home. This laneway crossed the Canadian National railway tracks, and was the original entrance to the Observatory well into the 1950's. Today, this laneway is called Observatory Lane, but it no longer crosses the tracks. When I visited the Observatory in 1956 with my aunt, we arrived by bus from Toronto along the laneway and over the tracks to the Administration Building.
Most of Lot 43 is, also, part of the Observatory neighbourhood. When Elizabeth Fulton and her husband Richard Vanderburgh owned the property, they built a frame home about 1833. It, now, stands on the southeast corner of Church Street South and Weldrick Road East, just a little east of its original location. It has a Heritage Designation by the Town of Richmond Hill, and is home to the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce.
Observatory Real Estate: Wycliffe
Observatory Real Estate:The various neighbourhoods are, somewhat, spread out around the central Observatory lands. At the northwest corner of Sixteenth Avenue and Bayview Avenue lies a development of detached homes initiated by Wycliffe Homes. They were constructed in the early 1980's, and have, generally, between 2,500 and 3,500 square feet of living space each. They are situated on beautiful, mature streets, and are very well accepted by home buyers wanting the prestigious Bayview Avenue locale.
23 Observatory Lane, Richmond Hill
On the east side of Yonge Street are the two and three-bedroom Euro-style condominium townhouses of 23 Observatory Lane dating from the year 2000. As of May, 2011, a development proposal by Zancor Homes for two condominium towers on the parcel of land between Yonge Street and the townhomes has been submitted to the Town of Richmond Hill. "Xpression Condos," if built as the submission requests, would include two towers with a total of 463 residential units, several "live and work" suites and 22,000 square feet of retail space. Finally, two highrise condominiums built by Tridel Group of Companies, also, share the Yonge Street landscape with the businesses and townhouses of Observatory. The addresses of 33 Weldrick Road East and 100 Observatory Lane are, easily, remembered by Richmond Hill condominium buyers and sellers.
Toward the east end of Observatory Lane are the older townhomes and detached homes on streets like Constellation Crescent, Nightstar Drive and Moonlight Lane. When they were built, they provided reliable home living within easy walking distance to Yonge Street and public transit.
Observatory Real Estate: Townhomes
The stacked, condominium townhomes of 75 Weldrick Road East provide diversity to the neighbourhood. Here, properties are one or two levels, with the higher level models featuring roof top terraces.
The condominium townhouses at 95 Weldrick Road East are larger and more expensive. The sales are fewer here, relatively speaking, as the home owners are, generally, more satisfied with living in their own exclusive enclave.
Observatory Real Estate: Detached
Between Weldrick Road East and Hillsview Drive on the north side of the community are found a newer grouping of detached homes. Their styles and features are very attractive to home buyers, and until now, seem to have been buffered from the rest of Richmond Hill by the Observatory Lands to the south and the CN tracks to the west. The original, older homes with the large lots on the north side of Hillsview Drive have almost all been demolished and replaced by newer, more substantial, estate homes.
As well, that part of the Observatory Lands at the southwest corner of Bayview Avenue and Hillsview Drive, as well as other less prominent parts of the Observatory Lands, is slated for new home construction. Already, boreholes for wells to monitor the hydrogeological and geotechnical conditions (underground water levels and soils consistency) have been installed. The present development proposal for the site called "Observatory Hill," calls for 833 residential units over 177 acres, not including the 12 acres for David Dunlap Observatory Park and Elvis Stojko Arena. This proposal contains areas for "Cultural Heritage Blocks, Woodlots, Parks and Stormwater Management Ponds."
Overall, the real estate selections in the Observatory district are varied in style and price, and provide many attractive properties for home buyers and sellers, alike.
Price Range of Observatory Homes: 2013
Observatory Real Estate MLS Listings:
Schools In the Observatory Neighbourhoods:
Adrienne Clarkson P.S. (F.I.)
Sixteenth Avenue P.S.
Alexander Mackenzie H.S.
St. Joseph C.E.S.
Jean Vanier C.H.S.
For More Information on MLS Listings in Observatory Neighbourhoods in Richmond Hill
Observatory Richmond Hill Real Estate Property Values