Elia is a culturally diverse community with many new Canadians. The area has a lot of high rises along Jane and along Finch, giving the area a high population density. The neighbourhood has strong infrastructure being close to York University and the Humber River Regional Hospital. The community is named for the First Nations tribe that lived here, dating back to roughly 1400 AD. The first pioneers were Pennsylvania Germans who arrive in the 1790s after the American Revolution, and were joined by British settlers in the 1820s who congregated around the school, post office, and general store located roughly Keele & Finch. The area's farms were sold to developers in the 1950s, and the area grew quickly in the 60s.
Motorists are five minutes from Highways 400 and 401, providing fast access to all parts of the city and to Pearson Airport. TTC buses that run east-west along Sheppard, Finch and Steeles Avenues connect to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway, and the north-south Keele and Jane Street buses connect to subway stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.
The community is served by 13 public elementary schools, 7 Catholic elementary schools, 2 public high schools, and 2 public libraries. York University just to the north on Steeles Ave. Humber College's North Campus is west of the community via Finch Ave.
The area has shopping plazas along all major north-south and east-west throughfares. Three shopping malls are clustered at Jane Street & Finch Avenue: Jane Finch Mall, York Gate Mall, and Norfinch Shopping Centre. Jane & Sheppard plaza also has several large stores.
The community is bisected by Black Creek, which has a 4.7 km paved recreational pathway running along it, from Black Creek Pioneer Village through Derrydowns Park, south to the Downsview Dells park. Black Creek Pioneer Village is a historical attraction featuring 35 restored 1800s pioneer buildings with period-costumed interpreters, and special events and festivals throughout the year. The area also has 2 outdoor pools, 4 indoor pools, 6 tennis courts, 4 ice arenas, 2 community centres, and the Rexall Center for tennis, sports fields at Norfinch Park, and nearby is the Oakdale Golf & Country Club (private). There is also an outdoor Fun Park located next to York Gate Mall, with mini golf, batting cages, and bumper cars. The York Woods Library also as a multi-purpose theatre. York University also has a number of sports and cultural facilities open to the public.
The houses in this neighbourhood are 1960s and 70s, and consist of split-level and 2-torey semi-detached homes, with some single family detached homes. There are a few rental apartment towers around the intersection of Jane Street & Finch Avenue. The area has a number of Ontario Housing apartment and townhouse complexes with income-based rents. House prices here are in the low to medium price ranges.