Located in the downtown west region of Toronto, Parkdale is bound by Lake Ontario and the railway, sitting between Roncesvalles Avenue and Dufferin Street. It is situated on the traditional territory the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. For many millennia, the bordering water offered portage routes between the Huron, Iroquois and Chippewa, and later those of the Senecas and Mississaugas. In the late 19th century, Parkdale became populated by European settlers and was established as a part of Toronto in 1889. It was largely an affluent residential area and a popular day trip destination due its proximity to the lake and beachy areas. The construction of the Gardiner expressway in 1955 however dramatically shifted the landscape and demographics of the neighbourhood. Following the Canadian government’s shift from a race-based immigration policy toward a “points system” in the 1960s, apartment construction and migration to Parkdale expanded significantly. Newcomers settled in low-income households concentrated in South Parkdale. Today, Parkdale is one of the last affordable downtown neighbourhoods in Toronto where nearly 87% of its population are renters. Its streetscape and housing stock are changing quickly, however, and calling its relative affordability to question. Parkdale is home to significant Tibetan, Filipino, Polish, and Southeast Asian people among other newcomer communities. Many of the social services, community organizations, and local businesses within the community were built specifically to serve the needs of those who live in Parkdale.
“Parkdale is a human place. It is a kind place. It is a place that has a soul and it’s about people.” – Rita Cox
LISTEN TO COMMUNITY MEMBERS TALK ABOUT PARKDALE:
Meet Our Parkdale Storytellers
Click on a storyteller to read their full biography detailing their migration history.