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Facts

Jane and Finch developed as a "model suburb" in the 1960s, in response to the rapid urban growth that the city was experiencing during this period. The Modern "tower in the park" aesthetic, touted by architects such as Le Corbusier, had already taken hold in the United States as a model for social housing, and Toronto city planners decided that such a project should be built in that city. The community was envisioned as one that would accommodate a "higher need" population through the provision of low-income, publicly-subsidized and private housing. However, planners and politicians of the era did not give much thought to the social infrastructure needed to sustain community life.

Toronto planners quickly learned from the mistakes of their neighbours to the south; while the housing projects of the 1960s proliferated in (and eviscerated) many American cities such as New York City, Chicago, and Detroit, Toronto was left relatively unscathed.

Soon after Jane and Finch was constructed, and the city's "poor," who were mostly recent immigrants, began moving in, the area was already being portrayed as a hub for crime, drug dealing, gang activity, and other social ills. Its diverse population, representing over 80 ethno-cultural groups and over 100 different languages, were not provided with the necessary resources to cope with the challenges facing the community, including rampant unemployment, domestic violence, and teenage pregnancy.

Similar development and population patterns to Jane and Finch continue south along Jane past Wilson Avenue, and south of Highway 401 into the former City of York.

The Jane and Finch community continues to experience a variety of socio-economic difficulties. A number of non-profit organizations have been established over the years to deal with issues like housing, health, legal problems, parental support and, perhaps most importantly, employment. Education also continues to be a problem, with many teenagers from the area being unable to attend university or college, while still others are not able to complete high school. While the community has political representation, it continues to be under-represented on decision-making bodies such as the boards of governors of the local hospital and university.

Despite the progress made over recent years, many people describe real estate in the area as a very risky investment opportunity, due to the ongoing problems with crime, drug dealing, and gang-related activity.

 

Comments»

1. MS - October 8, 2006

I am writing a research paper on this area and I must admit that I surprised that academic research does not support the claim of a racialized ghetto along American lines, rather they stress the importance along socio-economic lines. I must admit I am fascintated by this area because many people in Canada do not know about this area, or its strong racialization in Toronto media. I only came to know of it because of its high profile on Toronto media, while I was living in Miss. for a almost a year. I had to ask around about what was meant by an area defined by an intersection that came up all the time. Oddly, I travelled through this area once and I did not know it was so close to my University (I did not find out until two years later!). I believe I even travelled in the area during my one time I was on the TTC. Had I known I was in the area my perception would have dramatically changed. I think the most useful thing the community needs to overcome is its stigma in society. That will be the greatest challenge. As a Canadian now residing on the other side of the country I can only sympathize with the residents plight as they attempt to overcome substantial obstacles.

By the way does anyone know the original source for the article. I am trying to track it down, so I can properly cite it. Thanks.


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