Unveiling of first new street in Regent Park celebrated with special performances of song and dance Saturday June 12 was an historic day in Toronto’s Downtown East, with a celebration to unveil Cole Street, the first new street in this area for 50 years, also marking the opening of the Regent Park Revitalization, and the reopening of Oak, Sackville and Regent Streets. The Revitalization includes the reintroduction of cross streets in the area that allow the neighbourhood to fully integrate with its surroundings, and provides affordable social housing options and home ownership geared to a variety of income levels.
With the support of Toronto Community Housing and The Daniels Corporation, the afternoon included a dramatic street display of dance, music and visual art featuring a performance designed specifically for this occasion by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie (CLC), a professional dance organization and Regent Park’s resident dance company. Dignitaries present to mark this momentous occasion included Donna Cansfield, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing;* Glen Murray, MPP, Toronto Centre; Pam McConnell, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 28; Keiko Nakamura, CEO, Toronto Community Housing; and Martin Blake, Vice President, The Daniels Corporation. Daniels is partnering with Toronto Community Housing as the builder/developer for the entire six-phase, $1 billion project – the largest re-visioning of a city core neighbourhood in North America. “This celebration today is about much more than the opening of one street – it represents a transformation of this community that has already drawn praise and attention from around the world,” said Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Toronto Community Housing. “The revitalized Regent Park is an innovative mixed-use model that provides affordable quality housing for low-income tenants and integrates social housing and market-priced units, commercial facilities and improved community facilities and services.”
“The unveiling of Cole Street marks a milestone in the overall revitalization of Regent Park, and Daniels is thrilled to be part of it,” said Martin Blake, Vice President, The Daniels Corporation. “The vision for this special area is*becoming a reality, with new homes, retail shops, community spaces and now streets.* The new Regent Park is a world-leading model for sustainability and community integration and today’s event marks another step in re-connecting this vibrant neighbourhood to the rest of Toronto’s downtown core." The event drew an enthusiastic crowd which included residents from Regent Park, Cabbagetown and other surrounding neighbourhoods. The day started with a performance by Jackie Richardson, Canada’s leading gospel, blues and jazz singer, and musician and actor Sterling Jarvis (We Will Rock You) who were backed by Regent Park’s own Tynes Family Singers. Together they performed a special song called ‘Dancing Down the Avenue’ written for the occasion by Daniels’ President Mitchell Cohen. Also performing at the celebration were the musical group the Regent Park Focus Youngstas. In celebration of the street unveiling, CLC choreographed a special interactive performance featuring famed Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor.
Guests enjoyed a series of surprising live outdoor performances including dance, music and visual arts throughout the first phase of the Regent Park Revitalization - an enchanting encounter with the unexpected. It culminated in a ceremonial demolition of one of the remaining walls of an old Regent Park apartment building. Last summer, CLC presented the acclaimed “Breaking Ground” to mark the re-connection to the neighbourhood.
Since then, this exciting new neighbourhood has gained recognition locally and internationally. In 2009, The International Journal of Neighbourhood Renewal chose the new Regent Park as the Best International Neighbourhood Renewal Program. This year, the Building Industry and Land Development Association chose Regent Park as the “Places to Grow Community of the Year High-Rise,” and OneCole Condominiums – the first market condominium within the Regent Park Revitalization, was the recent recipient of the “Green Design” Award from Green Toronto. “By working with governments and the private sector, we are improving Regent Park, and helping to build stronger and healthier communities,” said Donna Cansfield, Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Jim Bradley. “This revitalization initiative is transforming the face of social housing in Toronto and this neighbourhood, and most importantly, it is changing people’s lives for the better.”
"The opening of Cole Street is both a celebration of reconnecting neighbourhoods and recognizing a community leader who inspired all of us to push towards a positive future for Regent Park," said Councillor Pam McConnell. "Pat Cole's ideals are embodied in the spirit of Regent Park's Revitalization and with this naming, her legacy will live on." Eventually, the new Regent Park will house 12,500 people in 5,115 units. Phase One includes a mix of commercial tenants such as Sobeys, RBC Royal Bank, Tim Hortons and a Rogers store. With Phase Two well underway, more than 50 per cent of the Regent Park revitalization is rebuilt, under construction or under demolition. This phase encompasses market condominiums and affordable housing, and state-of-the-art facilities for residents, community groups and neighbours including a new community centre, an aquatic centre, a large central park in the heart of the community, and a broad range of retail services along Dundas Street East that will contribute to the reintegration with the rest of the city. Shots from the festivities:
An overall look of what has been accomplished so far:
Focusing in the corner of Parliament and Cole:
Moving down Cole Street:
Daniels' next condo on-site, One Park West
Sales not open yet, but already at ground level:
Next up, the Cultural Centre:
These buildings along the south side of Dundas are about to come down to make way for it:
See the full tour here.
|Related Companies:||Artscape, Diamond Schmitt Architects, entro, NAK Design Strategies, tcgpr (The Communications Group), The Daniels Corporation, Toronto Community Housing Corporation|