South Parkdale


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Toronto Communities Profile: South Parkdale W01

Parkdale is a neighbourhood in Toronto, west of downtown, bounded on the west by Roncesvalles Avenue, on the north by the CP Rail line where it crosses Queen Street and Dundas Street. It is bounded on the east by Dufferin Street from Queen Street south, and on the south by Lake Ontario.

Parkdale is one of the most diverse areas of the city, with many new immigrants finding their first homes here because of the high concentration of low-rent apartment complexes and proximity to the downtown core. The presence of a large immigrant community has done much to create the vibrancy and personality that Parkdale is known for. This may be a fact of the streetscape in Parkdale, but it remains an area rife with substandard rental apartment buildings (a large percentage of Parkdale residents are renters). Perceived inaction by different levels of government has prevented the situation from improving; in fact, conditions are deteriorating as the buildings get older with each passing year. Unlike Regent Park, which is located on the east side of downtown, there is no urban renewal project in the works for Parkdale. However, Parkdale is seeing increasing signs of gentrification, as Queen Street West’s sphere of influence extends further westward. “Hipster” cafés, lounges, restaurants, condominiums, shops, and art galleries are cropping up, and former “dive” hotels such as the Drake and the Gladstone have recently been purchased and renovated in a trendy manner. Local taverns have begun receiving new patronage from artists and urbanites seeking refuge from the fashion boutiques farther east on Queen Street West. The area is also becoming a new gay village. The gentrification is in part fuelled by local area gay couples coming into the area to buy and renovate the properties. As a result, the area has the alternate nickname of “Queer West Village”.

The area that extends northward along Roncesvalles Avenue has seen a turnover to a mix of residents with a younger average age and higher proportion of families compared to the neighbourhoods to the west. A significant amount of renovation of the older homes has occurred and property values have risen accordingly. Some of the older, family-run businesses have closed, and new restaurants, bars and shops have opened up in their place.

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