Block by Block
Building a more inclusive city through storytelling, one neighbourhood at a time.
Welcome to Block by Block. Since 2018, we have been documenting stories of civic life and placemaking in four Toronto neighbourhoods. All of them have historically served as landing spots for newcomers. And all are now changing rapidly — with rising rents and new developments.
Our city-wide team of young, diverse leaders have worked to document both past and present in these neighbourhoods. We have conducted over 100 in-depth oral history interviews with newcomer, immigrant, racialized and Indigenous community members. Through them, we’ve heard stories of displacement, migration, arrival and survival. We’ve learned about informal community networks, grassroots organizations and places that matter. We’ve reflected on the sights, sounds, smells and relationships that make these neighbourhoods feel like home.
Now, with this exhibition, we turn the conversation over to you. How are these stories like your own? How can they guide future city-building? What do you hope for the future of your neighbourhood?
A Walking Tour of Parmacourt
A Walking Tour of the Golden Mile
Block by Block: A Human Library in Parkdale
Block by Block at Artscape
In 2020, we installed poster exhibitions at 25 sites across the city, including small businesses, community centres, settlement agencies from November 12-30, 2020.
The posters explored feelings of home, community care, and leadership rooted in the oral histories we collected in each neighbourhood. You can view our posters here.
Use your imagination to colour in these pages!
FIND STORY BY NEIGHBOURHOOD
Toronto’s rapid development is altering the social fabric of its neighbourhoods. From the razing of low-rise malls in Scarborough, to the redevelopment of Regent Park, to rising rental costs in Parkdale, neighbourhoods that have been landing points for migrant communities are in intense flux. This rapid change particularly impacts first-generation newcomers, who rely on local networks, services and economies when putting down roots.
From 2019-2021 Block by Block focused on four Toronto neighbourhoods that are in the midst of redevelopment. They are: Agincourt, Victoria Park, Parkdale and Regent Park. In each neighbourhood we start locally. We hire teams of young people with community connections to learn from the lived experiences of local residents. Each team is supported by at least one neighbourhood-based partner organization. These local collaborations culminated each year with Block Parties—events that share and celebrate community stories and connections. Altogether, we have documented 100 oral histories, created 12 local exhibitions and 12 Block Parties, and co-curated an evolving online exhibition.
Read and hold the stories preserved within each neighbourhood by clicking below.
FIND STORY BY THEME
Meet Our 2020 Storytellers
Click on each photo to learn more