Although the area is known to have a colourful past, the residents that live here enjoy the access to government social services, appealing location & sense of community. They want change but realise that keeping the character of the neighbourhood is important in order to move forward. “We have a commitment to make sure whatever will be redeveloped in that space will continue to serve the low-income community,” said Maura Lawless with the 519. “That neighbourhood is absolutely changing … this is an opportunity to think about the future growth.”
The Moss Park neighbourhood was originally part of a 100 acre Park Lot owned by William Allan, one of early Toronto's wealthiest citizens. In 1830, Allan built a huge mansion on his estate and named it Moss Park. In the early 1900's, much of Moss Park was used to supply homes for the workers of the industrial area located just south. In the 1960's, a large number of these buildings were demolished to make way for the Moss Park public housing project. The project consists of a group of three large towers located at Queen and Parliament Street which is run by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
The area became home to many rental properties & government run social services with a majority of its residents being low-income families. Toronto Life, a monthly newsletter covering daily news and based in Toronto, once reported that Moss Park has a notorious reputation among Torontonians as a dangerous neighbourhood. Jane Jacobs, the renowned urbanist, characterized the neighbourhood's access to social services as the cause of all the city's problems. Ironically, the same issue that has caused the detriment of the neighbourhood, has also been the support system for its residents.
In order to rid the neighbourhood of crime & self implosion, the Downtown East Action plan was initiated by the city to help improve the area. The residents are pleased that the city has taken notice and plans have been initiated. Gentrification is on the horizon and the residents of Moss Park are excited to see what the future holds.
Moss Park is centred around an area where social services and public housing is easily accessible.
The well renowned Eaton's Centre is within walking distance and transit is right outside your door.
Queen Street East is an eclectic mix of local stores, and design and decorating stores that draw shoppers from Toronto's more affluent neighbourhoods. Local shopping can be found on both Sherbourne and Parliament Streets.
There is a real sense of community that is apparent especially during the summer months when residents flock to the Moss Park market where locals can bring their fruits, veggies and home baked goodies. The market offers fresh produce at a much cheaper price than even the No Frills a few blocks away.
The Best Part
The farmer’s markets are often themselves a symbol of gentrification. The organic produce and hand-made soaps are priced to reach the many low-income families in the area. The best part is that the shipping container was largely donated and the Toronto Community Housing has agreed to pay for the power. Building Roots which is a group that pushes for an equitable and accessible food chain, helped to organize the space.
The Worst Part
With the idea of gentrification, comes the double edge sword, as this could reduce the opportunity for low income support. Many of the needed services that the locals have come to depend on, could be pushed out.
The Real Estate
Mixed use buildings dominate Moss Park which are typically three to five-storey low rises that have retail businesses on the ground floor and walk-up apartments on upper floors. Moss Park has three double wing high-rise apartment buildings and one single-tower apartment building. All the apartment buildings are well set-back from the street. They are surrounded both by green space and by an internal network of roadways that discourage outside traffic from entering the neighbourhood.
Moss Park is located in an appealing location that has given rise to an influx of new condos. Gentrification is key in order to clean up and rebuild the once crime ridden area.
The hope is that the middle class can own condos that will ultimately push crime out.
The public schools in the area include the Nelson Mandela Park Public School, Gabrielle Roy and St. Paul Catholic school with a number of specialty music schools.
Are you thinking about calling Moss Park your new home?
Contact us today, and we can get started on finding you a home in this one-of-a-kind Toronto neighbourhood