Backgrounder: Regent Park then and now: Canada's first social housing complex reimagined

Backgrounder: Regent Park then and now: Canada's first social housing complex reimagined

December 16, 2019

Regent Park then and now: Canada's first social housing complex reimagined

  • Regent Park, one of Toronto Community Housing's revitalization communities, was Canada's first social housing complex, built in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • By the early 2000s, it was time to replace the aging mid-century buildings. In a unique partnership, TCHC, the City, TCHC's developer partner and its many community partners began to rebuild and reimagine Regent Park.
  • New amenities, sports facilities, an art and cultural hub, and businesses have been added to the community, and the original mix of housing has been expanded to encompass a wide range of housing types. More than 4,000 homes have been built to date, helping to shape a vibrant, mixed-income new neighborhood in Toronto's downtown east.
  • Regent Park location: Downtown community bordered by River Street (east), Queen Street East (south), Gerrard Street (north) and Parliament Street (west).

By the numbers (October 2019)

RGI units to be replaced: 2,083 (more than 1,800 in Regent Park and over 274 in new buildings nearby).* RGI is rent is geared to household income.

New Affordable Rental Units: 400

New Market Condominium Units: 5,400

Project Start Date: 2005

Anticipated Project Length: 15-20 years

Total Size: 69 acres

Amenities: New amenities include arts and cultural centre Daniels Spectrum, the Regent Park Aquatic Centre, the new Regent Park, and the Regent Park Athletic Grounds

Retail Space: Freshco by Sobeys, Rogers, Tim Hortons, RBC, Toronto Birth Centre, and Main Drug Mart have moved into newly created retail space

Employment for tenants generated directly from the revitalization:  582

Affordable housing

  • In addition to market rent, and rent-geared-to-income homes (where TCHC residents pay about 30 per cent of their income toward rent), other homes in Regent Park offer an affordable rental option. These desirable downtown homes are made available for rent to families and individuals whose household income is no greater than four times the average market rent of their homes.
  • The revitalization will provide some 400 affordable rental units in Regent Park and the downtown east where tenants pay reduced market rents. Affordable rental housing enables residents with more modest incomes to live in the downtown core. The City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and federal government support this mixed income approach to neighbourhood planning and have provided substantive funding to the Regent Park affordable housing initiative.

Vibrant community 

  • Regent Park households that were relocated at the beginning of the revitalization project to allow for construction of new buildings have moved back into new homes in Regent Park. More than half the original social housing units have been rebuilt. New homes for Toronto residents have also been added to the downtown east neighbourhood.
  • The new Regent Park is now a vibrant mixed-income community of townhouses, rental apartments and condominiums in the heart of Toronto. It is supported by a network of community services and enhanced by spaces for both the arts and sports..
  • Urban planners encourage mixed-income communities in urban settings as a way to support vibrant, creative downtown cores and contribute to the desirability and livability of urban centres.
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About Toronto Community Housing: 

Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider. Toronto Community Housing provides homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in neighbourhoods across the city. Toronto Community Housing is wholly owned by the City of Toronto and its 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset. 

Media Contact: 

TCHC media line, (416) 737-1352 or media@torontohousing.ca