Looking north from the top of the T. Eaton factory” (1910). Photo Credit: City Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 598


“The Ward” was situated in downtown Toronto, on the traditional territories of the Wendat, Anishinabek Nation, Haudenosaunee Confederacy and Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations. It was the first settlement destination for many newcomers to Toronto between the mid 19th and mid 20th centuries. A densely populated and ethnically diverse neighbourhood, the Ward was home at various points to African-Canadians, Irish refugees, previously enslaved African Americans, Russian and Eastern European Jews, Italian and Chinese migrants, and more. Under the auspices of slum clearance, numerous attempts were made to demolish the neighbourhood. By 1965 it was largely gone, replaced by new urban developments, including Toronto’s New City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square.

Côte-des-Neiges on the move. Photo: Phyllis Lewis


Situated on the unceded territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) First Nation, Côte-des-Neiges is a densely populated multicultural neighbourhood. Over 50% of the neighbourhood’s residents are first-generation immigrants, hailing primarily from Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa and Latin America. The neighbourhood boasts particularly large Filipino, Black anglophone and Jewish communities. Cultural diversity, low rents and strong community services have attracted newcomers to Côte-des-Neiges since the early 1900s. The deteriorating quality of housing stock in the neighbourhood is a particularly pressing contemporary issue.

Union and Gore Street, 2017. Photo Credit: Richard Liu


The Strathcona neighbourhood is in East Vancouver on unceded Coast Salish land, including the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. The oldest residential neighbourhood in Vancouver, it has been a key settlement area for migrant labourers since the mid 19th century and the area has been home at various points to strong Indigenous, African-Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, Eastern European, Jewish and Vietnamese communities. In the late 1960s Strathcona residents challenged urban renewal plans that threatened to significantly alter the neighbourhood. Hogan’s Alley, which was home to Vancouver’s first Black community, was demolished. The rest of the neighbourhood was ultimately saved. Strathcona continues to be a culturally diverse area but is more socio-economically mixed than it once was. Gentrification and poverty are simultaneous challenges in the area.