As Toronto undergoes its largest-ever revitalization, some of its forgotten neighbourhoods re-emerge from the past. One area that is definitely seeing its share of development currently is Corktown, the area bordered by Parliament, King, Shuter and the DVP. It's a part of the city the Globe and Mail deemed "one of five neighbourhoods to watch next year" in a recent piece. Step outside in Corktown on any day now and you can literally hear the construction around you and see the cranes in the distance.
New and old row houses of Bright Street in Corktown, image by Jason Allen
Corktown wasn't always a budding hotbed of course. It was named after County Cork, due to the high number of Irish immigrants that were moving into the area in the early 19th century. As a result of that past, Corktown is still largely filled with old row houses and small cottages built in the late 19th century.

Victorian row houses of Wascana Avenue in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Row houses of Ashby Place in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Other signs of times past still visible include Little Trinity Church, Inglenook Community High School, St. Paul's Basilica and the picturesque Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, which opened in 1849.

Little Trinity Church in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Inglenook Community High School in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

St. Paul's Basilica in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Enoch Turner Schoolhouse and Little Trinity Church in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Another huge Corktown landmark is the Dominion Brewery Building, built in 1889 on the north side of Queen, west of Sumach. The building serves as offices now. Beside it is the Dominion on Queen and behind it are the Brewery Lofts on Sumach Street, an old CBC warehouse that in the 90s became one of the city's original loft conversion projects.

Historic Dominion Brewery Building in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

The Dominion on Queen Bar and Tavern in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Brewery Lofts at 90 Sumach Street in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

A little late to the game after so many of the city's downtown neighbourhoods, Corktown is finally seeing the revitalization it has so long deserved. A couple of years ago, Streetcar Developments began buying up land in the nabe to build smaller scale, low-rise condo buildings. To date, Streetcar has built the Corktown District Phases I and II on King Street East; Corktown District condos on Sumach with new townhouses on Bright Street (pictured at top); and the Trinity Lofts on Eastern Avenue (co-developed by Dundee Realty) - all appropriately sized projects for the properties on which they sit. 

Corktown District Phase 1 by Streetcar Developments on King Street East in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Corktown District Phase 2 by Streetcar Developments on King Street East in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Corktown District Condo by Streetcar Developments on Sumach Street in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Trinity Lofts by Streetcar Developments on Eastern Avenue in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Other projects in the area include the almost-complete Corktown Mews on River Street and a Streetcar Developments loft conversion called the Queen City Vinegar Co. Lofts.

Corktown Mews townhomes under construction on River Street in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Queen City Vinegar Co. Lofts by Streetcar Developments in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

For as much as Corktown itself is being renewed however, it's becoming just as well known for the two huge new neighbourhoods being constructed at its borders. To the north is the new Regent Park, where condo buildings are going up and changing the Corktown sky almost daily. To the South, the massive Pan Am Village is taking shape for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. Projects changing the area include the fantastic River City by Saucier + Perrotte Architects, the new TCHC Buildings at King and River, Underpass Park, Don River Park now at the foot of River Street, and the entire Canary District, just south of the neighbourhood and future home to a new George Brown campus and the largest YMCA in Canada. The number of cranes visible in the sky in this once-desolate parcel is truly staggering.

River City Phase I under construction, designed by Saucier + Perrotte, developed by Urban Capital, image by Jason Allen

River City Phase I under construction, designed by Saucier + Perrotte, developed by Urban Capital, image by Jason Allen

River City Phase I under construction, designed by Saucier + Perrotte, developed by Urban Capital, image by Jason Allen

River City Phase I under construction, designed by Saucier + Perrotte, developed by Urban Capital, image by Jason Allen

View of River City Phase I and 589 King Street East, from Underpass Park, image by Jason Allen

TCHC Building under construction at 589 King Street East in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

TCHC Building under construction at 589 King Street East in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

View of River City Phase I and 589 King Street East, from St. Lawrence Street, image by Jason Allen

Cranes in the Canary District and Pan Am Village, image by Jason Allen

Don River Park, not yet open to the public, image by Jason Allen

A new light standard in Pan Am Village, just awaiting a banner, image by Jason Allen

The neighbourhood has numerous infill spots also ready for renewal. Notably, the Sing Tao Daily newspaper building at Trinity and Adelaide Streets was recently sold to developer Great Gulf who, according to their website, will announce the project shortly. This 'coming soon' theme is something we're going to see for a while in Corktown. Whatever may happen here, we're definitely watching.

The Sing Tao Daily Newspaper Building in Corktown, recently purchased by Great Gulf, image by Jason Allen

Toronto Humane Society, a property ripe for development in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Where Queen and King meet in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Lofts at 507 King Street East, from under the Richmond Street exit, in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

The Knitting Mill Lofts on Queen Street East in Corktown, image by Jason Allen

Corktown along Queen Street East, image by Jason Allen

Is Corktown your kind of neighbourhood? Leave a comment here, or join the ongoing conversation in UrbanToronto's "Neighbourhood Node" thread for this area!

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