Many Cultures

Our communities in St. James Town and Regent Park are home to many new immigrants to Canada.

The following information is revised from the East Downtown Toronto Local Immigration Partnership Council Report, which was produced by our partners at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture.

Key neighbourhoods in East Downtown Toronto Area

North St. James Town

An established immigrant-receiving area of great ethno-racial diversity, St. James Town shares similarities with several immigrant-receiving areas in other Canadian cities in the prevalence of aging high rises, limited open space, dense social networks, and convenient location.

St. James Town

St. James Town is the largest high-rise community in Canada; over 90% of the population live in high rise apartment buildings (5 stories or more), most of which were constructed in the 1960s. 43% of dwellings are in need of repair. St. James Town is Canada’s most densely populated community, and one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods anywhere in North America.

The population is 68% non-white. Due to its cultural and minority demographics, St. James Town is often thought of as “the world within a block”. It is also one of Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods. St. James Town is a so-called minority community, largely filled with immigrants – especially those who arrived in the 1990s. The largest cultural groups in this community are South Asians (making up 18.3% of the population), Filipinos (17.1%), Black (13%), and Chinese (8%). Other cultural groups include Korean, Latin American, Arab/West Asian and South East Asian. Overall, St. James Town’s population is made up of approximately 68.2% visible minorities. Recent immigrants account for 22% of the population.

Cabbagetown – South St. Jamestown

In this area, 34% of the population are immigrants and 26% are visible minorities. Cultural groups residing in this area include Chinese (5.1% of the population), Black (4.3%), Filipino (4.2%), South Asian (2.4%), Latin American (1.7%), as well as Korean, Japanese, Arab/West Asian and Southeast Asian. In this area, there are both residents who are very wealthy, with 39% of family incomes exceeding $100,000, as well as a large amount of people considered to have low income by Statistics Canada. In 2006, it was found that 15.6% of economic families, 39% of individuals and 26.5% of private households were low income. This disparity in wealth could be explained by the fact that, according to the Cabbagetown Preservation Association, this neighbourhood comprises, “the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in North America” – wealthy families purchase these restored Victorian homes and live along side people living in poverty in high density high rise buildings.

Regent Park

Regent Park is formerly the centre of the Cabbage town neighbourhood(…). It is an extremely culturally diverse neighbourhood, with more than half of its population being immigrants. 37% of the population living in Regent Park are children 18 years and younger, compared to a Toronto-wide average of 22%. The average income for Regent Park residents is approximately half the average for other Torontonians. The majority of families in Regent Park are classified as low-income, with 64% of the population living below Statistics Canada’s Low-Income-Cut Off Rate, compared to a Toronto-wide average of just over 20%. Regent Park’s residential dwellings are entirely social housing, and cover all of the 69 acres (280,000 m²) which comprises the community. Regent Park is Canada’s oldest social housing project, having been built in the late 1940s. (The Toronto slum neighbourhood then known as Cabbage town was razed in the process of creating Regent Park; the nickname Cabbage Town is now applied to the regentrified, upscale area north of the housing project). Visible minority populations of Regent Park documented by the 2006 Census are as follows: South Asian (26.8%), Black (21.5%), Chinese (15.9%), South East Asian (7.2%), Latino American (2.1%), and Arab/West Asian (0.8%).

Note from GTGK: Regent Park is now undergoing massive changes arising from the sale of the city-owned land to developer Daniels, who has begun to build condominiums on the “footprint”.