Thinking about buying into the Regent Park revitalization? Here’s what you need to know

What you need to know about buying into the Regent Park Revitalization

The Regent Park neighborhood in Toronto is bordered on Eastby Parliament Street, on the west by the Don River, on the north by Gerrard Street and on the south by Queen Street East. It is located adjacent to the Cabbage town, Moss Park and Garden District neighborhoods. It was built in the late 1940s as a social housing project that offered transitional housing and community for low-income residents. Originally its inhabitants were predominantly Canadian; in recent years it has welcomed a large immigrant community, whose settlement appears relatively permanent. Most of the buildings in the region are owned and operated by Toronto Community Housing and the rents vary depending on the situation of the occupants. As is often the case in communities with these demographics, Regent Park experiences a higher rate of socially detrimental activities (e.g. drug use, crime, violence) than other parts of Toronto.

Regent Park is accessible by multiple TTC lines. The 65 Parliament bus is less frequent than the 501, 505 and 506 streetcars, which operate cumulatively 24 hours a day with frequent service. The streetcars afford access to the Yonge subway line. There are two Toronto Public Library branches that service the area: one in the northwest corner of the area, and one in the adjacent Riverdale neighborhood. The area also has two public schools: Nelson Mandela Park and Regent Park/Duke of York Junior Public.

The proposed revitalization plan aims to continue the tradition of Regent Park as a place for people in transition, while integrating members of the wider community as well. The revitalization plan would have over double the current number of living units, for both low-income and higher-income renters. Ideally, affordable ownership of Regent Park units would be within the grasp of all residents. A funding body exists to support this endeavor as well as a Down Payment Assistance Program called BOOST. The plans include amenities for families (e.g. a daycare, a learning centre, an indoor aquatic centre, and a hub for children and youth) as well as an employment office, a park, and an arts and cultural centre, which would be beneficial to all. Proposed retail outlets include Freshco by Sobeys, Rogers, Tim Horton’s, RBC and Main Drug Mart. The proposed plan encourages eco-friendly car-optional lifestyle. The ability of residents to be able to comfortably walk or cycle to destinations within the neighborhood is paramount. To this end, the proposal plans for extra wide sidewalks along major streets and beautifully landscaped green space as well as traffic calming strategies (e.g. street narrowing and special paving at crosswalks). The proposal also features “green roofs” rooftop gardens that simultaneously create a beautiful space for residents to enjoy and help combat the urban heat island effect. Rooftops that aren’t chosen to be green roofs will be covered with reflective materials to deflect radiant heat. The proposed revitalization of Regent Park would rejuvenate and green an area that would benefit from these changes.

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