It seemed like a good idea in the 1950’s – tear down ramshackle Victorian-era houses and replace them with low-rise apartment buildings and a few tower blocks arranged around dead-end laneways and streets. <PHOTO ABOVE – Regent Park, 1950-60’s> The substandard housing, crime and social problems disappeared for a while, but then re-appeared. By the mid-1960’s Regent Park – and similar neighbourhoods across North America – had fallen on hard times. Sixty years later the City of TORONTO, working with a private developer and the provincial and federal governments, is two-thirds of the way through a massive rebuilding project. A new Regent Park is emerging, doubling the number of units, providing superb playgrounds, an aquatic centre and other sports facilities, old street patterns re-established, market-value and public housing mixed together.
The revitalization plan has 5 phases. With Phase 3 underway, a large swath of tired, old buildings between River and Parliament Streets are coming down. The plan is to finish the entire project within the next five years.