A Shared Vision and Commitment
Alexandra Park, the neighbourhood between Spadina and Bathurst, and Queen and Dundas, has long been a strong community. Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) and Tridel have partnered to undertake the revitalization of a portion of the neighbourhood, including the Atkinson Housing Co-op. Community organizations have maintained a strong voice in the revitalization through the Atkinson Housing Co-op and a number of resident-led organizations. The Atkinson Housing Co-op was the first social housing community to organize itself as an entirely tenant operated co-op. Deltera, our sister company, is the construction partner for the TCHC portions of the revitalization and a committed participant in the process.
So far, this shared purpose between TCHC, the community and ourselves has led to the completion of the first block of new townhomes, which officially opened in September 2016. The event was celebrated with a community street party and ‘open house’ of several of the new townhomes, which allowed other residents to see what their future homes would look like.
Looking to the Future
Now, as we approach occupancy for the second block of townhomes, we were happy to accompany TCHC, community residents, and representatives of three levels of government, for a tour of the next phase of the community. Led by Michael Lam of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the tour included a walk of Phase 1b of the Alexandra Park revitalization. This latest phase consisted of two blocks of TCHC townhomes and the tour included a walk-through of a furnished model home.
MP Adam Vaughan, City Councillor Joe Cressy, and MPP Chris Glover, also attended the tour. Both MP Vaughan and Councillor Cressy have strong ties to the community and have been working closely with community members over the years to ensure they remained a strong voice in the planning of this revitalization.
Commitment to Revitalization
It began with an idea. To revitalize an important neighbourhood in the heart of our city. Literally and figuratively breaking down walls and embarking on a major revitalization of Atkinson Co-op and surrounding areas of Alexandra Park. In the spirit of Sonny Atkinson, a community leader who first began demolishing physical barriers to help build a better community, the revitalization development is an opportunity to connect this vital community to the surrounding neighbourhoods, provide better housing and improve the quality of life for all of its residents.
A Storied Community
This is not the first time the neighbourhood has seen a fundamental change. The Alexandra Park community has a rich history that is in many ways reflective of the story of Toronto itself. The neighbourhood was first home to Sir Casimir Gzowski, a Polish engineer who immigrated to Toronto in 1841 and eventually built a large home, which he simply called “The Hall,” at what is now the southeast corner of Dundas St. W. and Bathurst St.* Eventually, a thriving community grew up around Sir Gzowski’s home. In 1904, the City of Toronto purchased “The Hall” and its surrounding land for use as a public park, which it subsequently named ‘Alexandra Park’.
In the 1960’s, the neighbourhood was again transformed, when the City of Toronto approved plans that saw the expropriation and demolition of many of the surrounding homes to make way for a public housing community, which became home to a generation of new Canadians and other Torontonians. It is a common story in our city and our country. And it is a story that Tridel, founded by Jack DelZotto on a commitment to build a better city by developing strong communities, shares.
More media on the Revitalization:
CBC News, ‘Alexandra Park residents ‘gaining a home’ as first phase of revitalization wraps up‘, September 24, 2016.
Toronto Star, ‘Street party greets opening of new Alexandra Park Homes‘, September 24, 2016.
Toronto.com, ‘Alexandra Park revitalization a success story in the making‘, December 8, 2016.