The neighbourhood known as Regent Park is home to one of Canada's oldest social housing projects. Built in the late 1940's, most of the centre of the neighbourhood of Cabbagetown was razed to make way for it. It has long been the victim of poor design choices and marginalisation and developed a reputation of being a transitional community that people pass through but rarely plan on staying at for very long. Aging rapidly, and in need of serious repairs, the City stepped in a few years ago with a billion-dollar plan for rebuilding the area over fifteen years, effectively doubling the residential units and adding much-needed new retail and community space. An architectural competition was held to design the first building and a new breath of life was given to the area. Long overlooked as the city of Toronto's development rushed on, Regent Park is now getting some much needed attention and is moving forward.
As a neighbourhood in progress, Regent Park's public housing blocks are being taken down and the plans are to rebuild with a larger variety of units including lofts, apartments and townhouses. There are many old Edwardians in various states of disrepair and could be better termed 'fixer-uppers'. The city as a whole waits to see if the area's revitalization will bear fruit and if it does, any investment made in the area could prove to be savvy but the jury is still out and some of the sections are not known as the safest in the city. That being said, effort is being made to open up the neighbourhood to the city at large and that is certainly progress.
The new revitalization of the area promises a new Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre, a new aquatic complex, a park central to the area and a new community as part of the plan. The existing Regent Park Community Centre has a gymnasium, games room, a weight room and an arts and crafts room. There is also a recreation centre that has a smaller gymnasium, meeting room and even an outdoor pool. There are two outdoor rinks in Regent Park, fully equipped for that most Canadian of past-times and they have allotted times for free-skates, shinny games and skating lessons. On Gerrard, The Parliament Street Public Library has many programs for both children and adults.
There are two schools in the area: Park Junior and Senior school and Regent Park/Duke of York Junior and Jarvis Collegiate is a quick bus-ride away. Regent Park is a neighbourhood that is quickly changing thanks to some well-needed attention and co-operation. It is a diverse area where almost sixty different languages are spoken. For some of these families, it is their first community in Canada and much effort is finally being made to ensure that the area befits the opportunities that they came here for.