For many, Regent Park is the community that they are happy (and proud) to call home, and this simply wasn’t the case about 10 years ago (or even 5). All one has to do is take a drive along Dundas and you can’t help but be amazed by the development and gentrification. There seems to be a new condo building everywhere!
The traditional landmark boundaries include River St, Parliament St, Shuter St and Gerrard St East. This neighbourhood is comprised of 69 acres located near the eastern boundary of the city. Originally christened Cabbagetown, the land included homes primarily consisting of social housing structures which were intended for lower-income individuals. Today Regent Park is identified as the social housing area (which gets smaller and smaller by the day) and the name Cabbagetown has been bestowed on a nearby upscale community.
The development of modern-day Regent Park was intended as an answer to the slums, and unacceptable houses that were quickly deteriorating in the community. The first of the government approved public housing units were begun in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Changes and modernization in this area continued during the 1960s but it was only during the early 2000s that new housing development programs were begun in earnest.
Regent Park has a prime location, being situated close to the heart of Toronto’s downtown district. Real estate should have a much higher property value (amazing given this red hot seller’s market), but the community’s past reputation for crime, vandalism and other undesirable actions has kept the area from realizing its full potential. Thgis is, however, changing slowly, but for the time being there is still excellent value to be had here for those that don’t mind a bit of a grittier vibe.
The city has set a mandate of creating a mixed neighbourhood profile in the hopes of changing the reputation of this community. Development began in 2005 with the firm goal of upgrading and modernizing Regent Park. With new homes, condos, historical architecture and a commitment to revitalization of the neighbourhood, Regent Park has begun to take on new character and charm. The area will be redefined with better housing and new streets. At the end of the extended development phase Regent Park will be fully poised to transition into a neighbourhood that is both desirable and affordable.
Today the architecture is becoming a welcome mixture of historical treasures and modern aesthetics. Residents can avail themselves of such resources as libraries, a Media Arts Centre, Community Health Centre and the breathtaking Regent Park Aquatic Centre. There are parks, shops and restaurants that are all easily accessible to anyone living in the Regent Park area. Transportation options include buses and streetcars.
This is primarily a younger area with almost half the population listed as 21 and younger. A vast majority of residents are identified as low-income wage earners. although this trend is beginning to shift as higher-income families are now actively choosing to make their homes in this community. Numerous apartments and condos are present but single-family homes and business complexes are beginning to help transform the landscape.
There is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities all living in Regent Park. These residents have been drawn to the area by the location, affordable housing options and an improving family-friendly environment. An abundance of children, recreational activities, revitalization projects and other perks are creating interest and excitement among today’s home buyers. The fact that the real estate values are expected to rise substantially in the future is merely an added bonus.