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Alexandra Park
Buildings in Alexandra Park
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto

Alexandra Park is a neighbourhood located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, consisting of a mix of private and public housing. Alexandra Park is bounded by Dundas Street on the north, Spadina Avenue on the east, Queen Street West on the south, and Bathurst Street on the west.[1] The area is named for the public 'Alexandra Park' at the south-east corner of Dundas and Bathurst which contains the local public Library on the site of Sir Casimir Gzowski's estate 'The Hall'. The area is named after Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, who were the first future monarchs to visit Toronto. A nickname becoming increasingly common for the area is 'Dunbat' referencing its location at the corner of Dundas and Bathurst Streets.

Vanauley St. prior to public housing projects, 1939

Contents

History

Gzowski Hall in 1896 (site of library in Alexandra Park)

The area was purchased in 1841 by Sir Casimir Gzowski, a Polish engineer who built his grand home, which he called 'The Hall', at what is now the south-east corner of Dundas and Bathurst. A neighbourhood sprang up around Gzowski's home that was inhabited largely by Polish and Ukrainian immigrants in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1960s, 'The Hall' and many of the surrounding homes where demolished to make way for a public housing project[2]. The public housing projects brought in many immigrants from the Caribbean, East Africa, China and Vietnam. Alexandra Park is known for having one of the largest African Canadian communities in Toronto, and people of African American ancestry are still evident in this neighbourhood. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, there were racial tensions between the established Polish and Ukrainian immigrants and the new immigrants. An infamous African Canadian gang called the Project Originals emerged. Drugs and violence were a huge problem, during this time a crack epidemic swept the area. In the early ‘90s, a group of Alexandra Park residents sought to convert the government housing complex to self-governing co-operative housing, in order to attempt to make a difference in the struggling community in an effort to stop the oppression and drug wars the project had been facing for many decades previous. Today Alexandra Park is recovering from its harsh battles in the past, and making an effort to turn a new leaf. The Black population is amongst one of the highest in the city, at 23.6%.

Culture and recreation

Theatre Passe Muraille is located in the neighbourhood. The city of Toronto operates Alexandra Park swimming pool[3] and the Sanderson branch of the Toronto public library.[4]

Notable residents

Notes

References


Coordinates: 43°39′N 79°24′W / 43.65°N 79.4°W / 43.65; -79.4

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