Toronto Neighbourhoods

These are publications resulting from the Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership based at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Cities Centre. The research is funded by peer-reviewed grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. These grants are described on this website at the ABOUT tab.

Liberty Village: The Makeover of Toronto’s King and Dufferin Area

Research Bulletin 32, January 2007, 7 pages. This short history of one of the neighbourhoods in west-central Toronto describes the stages of transformation of a formerly industrial area. The area first became a distinctive and diverse artists’ community on the margin of Toronto’s mainstream culture, but has more recently become an increasingly homogenized space that has been made safe, clean, and attractive for capital investment and new residents. The author argues that the gentrification of the area was municipally managed, as Toronto’s economic development corporation, in combination with Toronto Artscape, worked to attract investment to the area.


Toronto’s Little Portugal: A Neighbourhood in Transition

Research Bulletin 35, March 2007, 8 pages.

Little Portugal is located in the downtown west end of Toronto. Over the years, Portuguese immigrants have created an institutionally complete community that is also one of the most visible ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto. Little Portugal is, however, changing because of the movement of many Portuguese from Toronto’s downtown to the suburbs; the arrival of urban professionals, who seek to buy older houses close to the downtown core; and the arrival of immigrants and refugees from the Portuguese diaspora (including Brazil and Portugal’s former African colonies). This research bulletin, based on interviews with residents of the area, describes how these changes are altering the characteristics of the neighbourhood, for better or for worse.

The Three Cities Within Toronto: Income Polarization Among Toronto’s Neighbourhoods, 1970-2005

Research Report, Cites Centre, December 2010, 32 pages.

The City of Toronto is becoming increasingly divided by income and socio-economic status. No longer a city of neighbourhoods, modern-day Toronto is a city of disparities. In fact, Toronto is now so polarized it could be described as three geographically distinct cities. This study analyzed income and other data from the 1971 to the 2006 censuses, and grouped the city’s neighbourhoods based on whether average income in each one had increased, decreased, or stayed the same over that 35-year period. It found that the city’s neighbourhoods have become polarized by income and ethno-cultural characteristics and that wealth and poverty are increasingly concentrated.