Research Bulletin 42, March 2008, 12 pages. Immigrants to Canada are increasingly concentrated in Canada’s three biggest metropolitan areas. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver accommodate 70% of those who arrived between 2001 and 2006. The three biggest gateway cities, however, exhibit important differences in the ethnic groups they attract, and the patterns of settlement. Toronto and Vancouver have some similarities (more Asians, more immigrants settling in the suburbs), while Montreal has a larger proportion of European and African immigrants, who still tend to cluster in the central city. The suburbanization of immigration in Toronto and Vancouver poses challenges for service provision and planning and raises questions about the pros and cons of suburban ethnic enclaves in enhancing immigrant integration.
Research Paper 203, April 2005, vi, 26 pp. Urban theory has historically viewed ethnic commercial strips as a more-or-less organic extension of nearby ethnic residential enclaves. This paper argues that some of these areas function as a branding mechanism (intended or not) to produce nearby residential gentrification. Certain forms of ethnic identity attract affluent professionals looking for an alternative to suburban life. Some neighbourhood institutions have recognized this attraction and begun to manufacture a saleable form of ethnicity to tourists and prospective residents alike. This paper explores the influence of ethnic packaging on the process of gentrification in Toronto, using the examples of four ethnically defined business improvement areas (BIAs) – Little Italy, Greektown on the Danforth, Corso Italia, and the Gerrard India Bazaar.
Research Paper 211, May 2008, viii, 109 pp. This report presents a method for determining the timing, patterning, and forms of gentrification and residential neighbourhood upgrading between the 1960s and 2001 in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, using census data. The resulting maps show a clear geography of gentrification in each city, whereby the process starts in a few core areas and moves outwards into adjacent neighbourhoods, as well as a “gentrification frontier” in each city, where gentrification is likely to occur in future. The authors also identify the main forms of gentrification (deconversion of older housing stock, new construction, and the conversion of non-residential buildings to housing) and the way in which these forms combine to produce gentrified neighbourhoods in each city. They note that although new construction presents an opportunity to mitigate the problems caused by gentrification, this opportunity has not been seized. If present trends continue, the inner cities of Canada’s three largest cities will become the preserve of elites, while low-income households are forced to occupy less accessible fringe locations, a situation that contributes to social exclusion
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.
Toronto’s Inner Suburbs: Investing in Social Infrastructure in Scarborough, by Deborah Cowen and Vanessa Parlette, Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, University of Toronto, June 2011
Changes in immigration policy and in labour and housing markets, the dismant]ing of the social welfare safety net, the closing of psychiatric institutions, and the rising costs of living in the city’s core have all affected the inner suburbs. These areas today are home to many poor households, including members of many racialized groups. At the same time, social services in the inner suburbs are few and far between.
The result: dramatically under-serviced inner suburban neighbourhoods characterized by large numbers of residents with low incomes, many of whom face physical and mental health challenges, as well as greater numbers of newcomers.
Deborah Cowen is a professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography and Programme in Planning. Vanessa Parlette is a doctoral candidate in geography at the University of Toronto. Both have been active in community projects in Kingston Galloway/Orion Park for the past five years.