Map 3: Rooming houses in South Parkdale in the context of population change

Building on the previous entry that documented the change in the number of rooming houses in North Parkdale, let’s also look at South Parkdale (the south of Queen St W). As the maps in the previous entry showed (please click here; the previous entry will open up in a new window), seemingly there is little change between 1997 and 2012. Yet, the total number of rooming houses in South Parkdale increased by 8 from 95 in 1997 to 103 in 2012.

This increase is explained partially by the results of the Parkdale Pilot Project which legalized a number of then-existing bachelorettes in the area that had not been captured in the 1997 data. And of course, the City has discovered more rooming houses that were not documented in the records. It is fair to say, therefore, that the increase is not necessarily new additions.

The following map shows the block-by-block counts of rooming houses in South Parkdale, which actually reveals a complicated picture – some blocks have experienced decreases, and these are concentrated close to Queen St W.

To some extent, the Parkdale Pilot Project may have contributed to this loss through its legalization process, as some landlords did not meet the standards or/and did not participate in the project. But a more reasonable explanation may be that gentrification pressures – manifested as the conversions of rooming houses into single family houses – have become more and more evident in South Parkdale as well. In fact, if you walk around in South Parkdale, it is difficult to miss many renovations and ‘for sale’ signs.

So if we understand the increase of the total number of rooming houses in South Parkdale is not new additions (because they had been there; they were just not counted in the official record), then South Parkdale has also experienced a net loss of rooming houses about 12 from 1997.

The Table below shows the population change from 2001 to 2011 in Parkdale.(Source: City of Toronto’s ward profile; Stats Canada)

The population in South Parkdale has consistently declined since 2001. On the other hand, North Parkdale has seen the population decrease between 2001 and 2006, which is explained partially by the significant rooming house losses, but in 2011, the population in the north has increased again. This population increase has been contributed by new-built condominiums in the north.

(Source: City of Toronto’s ward profile; Stats Canada)

If we look at the population change in Ward 14 that includes other parts in the north of Queen as indicated in the above map, then it is revealed that the population growth has concentrated in the north, as more condo developments have taken place in the north part of Ward 14.

South Parkdale has also started to see development pressures. A new eight storey-residential condominium (66 units) with retail at the ground level is being constructed at Dufferin and Queen St W (1205 Queen St W). The population change in terms of number may not be significant. But, as the staff report suggests “this is the first project proposed for the area west of the rail corridor and represents a form of development that is consistent and compatible with its surroundings” (City of Toronto 2010), this certainly sets up a precedent. It may not be overstating that more development applications would be put forward in the south as development opportunities become ripe.

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