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Corso Italia

Skeezix

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Maybe we could change the name of this thread to "Corso Italia retail", or something similar, rather than having a thread name based on a 2007 newspaper article (which is a bit confusing, since the article was largely about the commercial strip, but the quote referencing the Annex was actually in relation to home buyers being attracted to the area rather than comparing the Bloor and St. Clair retail strips).

ETA: @interchange42 (apologies for tagging you, but you're the one admin who has commented here). Also to consider, if you think a rename makes sense, whether this thread best belongs in the retail or neighbourhood forums.
 
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King of Kensington

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I wonder how Bensonhurst, Brooklyn compares to Corso Italia these days in terms of Italian-ness. It too received a lot of Italian immigrants in the 50s and 60s, but the Italian population has shrunk significantly as many have moved to Staten Island and New Jersey and now the area is more Chinese and Russian while still retaining an old school Italian presence.

As for Corso Italia, it's probably hit the bottom in terms of its decline, but it's hard to say what its future will be. The area is actually more Portuguese than Italian now and also has a sizable Latin American community.
 

iDANIEL

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Most of the Italians (like my wife's parents and grandparents) are seniors. It's true that most of the BIA is controlled by Italians that used to live in the neighbourhood but now live in Vaughan, Etobicoke, or near Yorkdale but still own buildings/ businesses in the strip.

What has become interesting is that we aren't seeing much Latin Americans moving in as much anymore (I believe that peaked in 2009-11) and now we are seeing Asians, Canadians, WASP (ish) along with professionals moving here. They all work downtown or there abouts.

I own a few homes in the area that I rent out and all of them attract college kids, etc also.

I am dead serious about the fact that gentrification is/ will cross Dufferin and we are seeing this everywhere in the pre-amalgamated old city and Corso Italia is no different. We have the dedicated 512 streetcar and healthy running mom and pops. The entire area along the St Clair W corridor is seeing condo redevelopment and as the density increases so will the quality of retail.

For people who want a city home but are forced out of blue chip neighbourhoods have to look at emerging under the radar areas that are either pre-gentrified or gentrifying.

Cesar has to go. Once he is gone we will see more changes.

Let me put it this way... I live south of St Clair in Corso Italia. My neighbour is a conservatist at the ROM. My other neighbour is a heritage consultant for the Government. The house across the street is student rentals (all from small town Ontario) and the house across diagonally from me has an architect and urban planner (husband/ wife) and next to them is a musician (teaches at George Brown) and his wife is a lecturer at Ryerson for Enviornmental Studies. None of these people have been here for longer than 7 years. None would vote for Ford. Ward 17 is very crappy in the northern and northwest boundary.

Long story short... Things are changing. Everywhere else is expensive. It's inevitable.
 

ShonTron

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@iDANIEL - you might be interested in the poll-by-poll maps from the last election. You can see the Tory/Chow/Bravo voters versus the Palacio/Ford voters split quite well. West of Dufferin, you have strong support for Bravo and for the not-Ford mayoral candidates, with Chow leading in most of those not-Ford polls. It's when you get northwest of St. Clair and Dufferin, when you start bumping up against Wards 11 and 12, that you see the pro-Ford showing.

The progressive vote is strong in advance polling here.

https://seanmarshall.ca/2014/12/10/mapping-the-results-of-the-2014-election-ward-17/

2014-election-ward-17-mayor1.jpg


2014-election-ward-17-cllr.jpg
 

iDANIEL

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That is a great resource. I live in the 016 pocket (Lansdowne-Dufferin, St Clair-Davenport) and can tell you confidently that the feel is much more progressive (not Ford). There is more density north of St Clair in Corso Italia because the lot sizes are generally smaller (south of St Clair in Corso Italia has many 25' detached homes) so the north side is heavily weighted and skews the votes.

I am slightly worried about how this ward boundary will change in the next election. 019 is adding substantial density and so things could change. There is a sizable amount of infill housing being built in 001, 002, and 003 which is obviously changing the neighbourhood dynamic.

What is clear to me is that Cesar and Ford's base is shrinking while Bravo and Tory/ Chow's base is growing with each passing year. This is just another sign of gentrification and the changing of the landscape in this area.
 

Mithras

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I think change will bleed in from the East but major change will leapfrog Corsa with the Caledonia to Weston strip having the potential for more significant change.

What happens to the Oakwood to Dufferin strip will be very interesting as well.

And for the record I live in section 14 in the above maps and feel zero association with the majority of my ward on the city, provincial and national level. That little portion south of St. Clair and East of Oakwood should be a part of St. Paul`s...
 
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iDANIEL

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@Mithras

I agree with your suggestion that St Clair Gardens (Caledonia-Old Weston) will change quickly. Graywood Developments has purchased 492' of frontage for the purpose of building 3x developments. The first of these developments is SCOOP Condos. I have been telling locals about what your saying and I have a feeling that after the dust settles on St Clair, Corso Italia could become even more Euro in feel and perhaps more quaint then it is now. Part of the reason is that east of Dufferin and West of Prospect Cemetery lies many large parcels of land which is not available in Corso Italia. There really is no large parcels to assemble here.

We shall see :)
 

Mithras

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You also don`t have long term owners who are no longer involved with this area like you do in Corsa Italia. Absentee landlords and a Councillor stuck 40 years in the past...
 

King of Kensington

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So affluent Regal Heights was the most anti-Cesar/anti-Ford area, which isn't surprising.

It's also interesting that this is one of the few (if only?) wards where Tory came in third.
 
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King of Kensington

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Well I filled out the census this evening, though we'll probably have to wait 2 years to see 2016 data.

In the meantime here's some 2011 NHS census tract data, for university grads (it's 36.6% in the Toronto CMA):

110 (Corso Italia, south of St. Clair) 35.2%
111 (Corso Italia, north of St. Clair, Harvie to Caledonia) 22.6%
112 (Corso Italia, north of St. Clair, Dufferin to Harvie) 18.1%
113 (Regal Heights) 46.2%

ETA: 163 (St. Clair West Village north of St. Clair, east of Dufferin) 38.8%
 
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iDANIEL

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@King of Kensington

Regal Heights is such a gem indeed. I am on the resident association's email list and can tell you that it is one of the strongest and one of the most cohesive/ aligned group I know about in the pre-amalgamated city. That being said, I'm sure the resident associations in the Annex, BWV, High Park, etc are awesome. I would also argue that Regal Heights (Dufferin-Alberta) has some of the loveliest big/ old homes around. Most people until very recently skip over it (who can afford it) for other areas. I believe like many who live in the area that its a bit of a secret area :)

Regarding your comments about the census tract data above, I am happy you included here. I am confident that the amount of University graduates in 110, 111, 112, 113 will increase when the next publication comes out (as is expected for the rest of the city.)

Given I live in 110 I am not surprised it has the highest level of graduates in Corso as I can see it in plain sight during my walks, etc. Everyone talks about how gentrification is moving eastward here but its also coming from the south. Also, there is a psychological influence for many to stay south of St Clair in my mind (although more and more that border has moved to Rogers Rd. I find.)

I'm shocked about the data for 111.

112 shocks me when I compare it to 111, although perhaps its just me. 112 is quintessential Corso, and has the density (smaller lots) to push around the neighbourhood on many levels. My wife is a 2nd generation Italian who's parents live on Earlscourt and has a grandfather who is 91 still living on Day Ave. To make a long story short, all the Italians and most of the Portuguese are 60-90+ years of age. It's so quaint and European here it amazes me. Trouble is all of these folks vote for Cesar and Ford (sigh.)

With respects to the family my wife has on Earlscourt and Day.... They feel increasingly isolated and alone as the people moving onto these streets are much different. This pocket as I stated earlier is increasing becoming more progressive, and much more connected than disconnected from the core.

Josie Stern and Alejandra Bravo have both told me repeatedly that we are witnessing a watershed moment and I agree. Community engagement is at an all time high and many new residents are getting together to form micro committees, to help with the South Corso Resident Association, and to light a fire under the Corso Italia BIA.

The boundary options of 1-5 all put the Ford/ Cesar base in dire straits. It's over for them because there is just too much for them to grapple with going forward.
 

ShonTron

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King of Kensington

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The Italians and Portuguese can't all be senior citizens; in some tracts together they make up around 60% of the population!

Italian origin:

110 675 (19.8%)
111 560 (22.6%)
112 1,200 (24%)
113 300 (11.3%)
163 1,095 (25.3%)

Portuguese origin:

110 795 (23.3%)
111 1,050 (42.3%)
112 1,690 (33.8%)
113 245 (9.2%)
163 450 (10.4%)

West of Dufferin, it's now more Portuguese than Italian. The Italian population dropped significantly since the 1980s and by the 1990s I'm guessing Portuguese outnumbered Italians in the area (though I'll have to check the stats).
 

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