The third phase of Toronto's Regent Park Revitalization plan kicked off today as demolition commenced on a group of aging townhouses near Blevins Place and Shuter Street. The oldest and largest public housing community in Canada is being entirely rebuilt over several years, and the initial phases have already brought about an impressive transition for the area into a mixed-income neighbourhood.

People gathering for the ceremonial start to phase three, image by Craig White

Phase Three, mostly in the southeastern portion of the community, will continue to be built out by the partnership of Toronto Community Housing and The Daniels Corporation, who together will construct 614 rent-geared-to-income units, approximately 50 new affordable rental units, and six new market condominium buildings. The next buildings to be constructed on the site however, such as the Block 24 TCHC rental building shown below, are still part of Phase Two, where demolition is all but completed and plots are prepared for redevelopment.

Phase Two Block 24 rental building designed by architectsAlliance, image courtesy of Toronto Community Housing

The latest phasing plan for Regent Park, which has morphed over time to respond to concerns identified over the course of the first two phases, is shown below. With Phase One complete and some of Phase Two completed, the first of the demolitions at Phase Three will clear the way for the first development on its two plots of land. Recently added to Phase Three is a plot of land in the northwest corner of the Regent Park site, located at Parliament and Gerrard Streets. Some Phase Three projects will start up before all Phase Two projects are completed. 

Map showing the phasing of the revitalization plan, image courtesy of Toronto Community Housing

An early major component to come as part of Phase Three is the new 2.8-acre (1.1-hectare) Regent Park Athletic Grounds, with primary funding provided by the MLSE Foundation and the City of Toronto, along with support from The Daniels Corporation. The townhouses which are now being demolished stand at the site of the future athletic fields. The new athletic space was developed with extensive input from the community, and the design of the facility was unveiled today by Regent Park students, revealing features like a refurbished hockey rink, a new basketball court, a new soccer/cricket pitch and a running track. 

Regent Park students reveal plans for the new Regent Park Athletic Grounds, image by Jack Landau

With the MLSE Foundation’s involvement in the project, it is only fitting that concept plans depict the ice rink, soccer field and basketball court bearing Leafs, Toronto FC and Raptors logos respectively.

Regent Park Athletic Grounds, image courtesy of Toronto Community Housing

Concept plan for the Regent Park Athletic Grounds, image courtesy of Toronto Community Housing

The gathering earlier today took place at the existing hockey rink on Blevins Place in Regent Park South. After speeches from public and private sector representatives including Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, Martin Blake, Vice President of The Daniels Corporation, Councillor Pam McConnell, Michael Bartlett, Executive Director of the MLSE Foundation, residents of Regent Park, and more, the signal was given to crews in sight of the rink to officially kick off Phase Three with the demolition of adjacent townhouses. Below, photos and a video document the early stages of the teardown.

Demolition of the townhouses, water is pumped onto the debris to reduce dust, image by Jack Landau

Roof being torn from the townhouses, image by Jack Landau

A portion of wall comes down, image by Jack Landau

To the immediate north, the high-rise apartment tower at 42 Blevins Place will be the next major building to be taken down at the site. Residents of the building were relocated in April, and the Peter Dickinson-designed tower is now being prepped for demolition.

42 Blevins Place awaiting demolition, image by Jack Landau

42 Blevins Place awaiting demolition, image by Jack Landau

Over the course of the remaining phases of the revitalization, the construction of rental buildings will be expedited so that residents can move into their new homes in Regent Park as quickly as possible, minimizing temporary relocations.

We will return to Regent Park with updates on more Phase Two and Phase Three milestones. In the meantime, if you want to know more about what's going on in Regent Park now, links to our various dataBase files for current projects are included below. Feel free to jump in on the ongoing conversations in the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Cecconi Simone, Hariri Pontarini Architects, NAK Design Strategies, The Planning Partnership