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Coordinates: 43°38.8′N 79°24.5′W / 43.6467°N 79.4083°W / 43.6467; -79.4083

Trinity-Bellwoods
—  Neighbourhood  —
Location of Trinity-Bellwoods
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Flag.svg Toronto
Government
 - City Councillor Joe Pantalone
 - Federal M.P. Olivia Chow
 - Provincial M.P.P. Rosario Marchese

Trinity-Bellwoods is an established inner city neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is bounded on the east by Bathurst Street, on the north by College Street, on the south by Queen Street West, and by Dovercourt Road on the west. This is the heartland of Toronto's large Portuguese (mostly originally from the Azores and Madeira islands) and Brazilian community, and many local Lusitanian-Canadian businesses are located along Dundas Street West, continuing west into Little Portugal; this stretch further west along Dundas is fittingly known as Rua Açores.

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Character

'Old Trin' Trinity College on Queen St at top of Strachan Ave, 1928

The neighborhood takes its name from Trinity Bellwoods Park. The park is perhaps Toronto's finest and liveliest. Bounded on the north and south ends by the relaxed Dundas Street West shopping district and the thrilling Queen Street West district, respectively, the park is immediately accessible from major pedestrian and bicycling thoroughfares. And it is bounded on the east and west by quiet residential streets. Accordingly, the park has a large natural "constituency". The park also sports a range of environments, including tennis courts, a playground, a hockey rink, a dog walking bowl, a grove, a range of picnic tables, a greenhouse, a community center, and a swimming pool. The northwestern panhandle is home to a fine farmer's market on Tuesday afternoons from Spring to Fall. As a result, the park was ready to respond to the last decade's significant increase in incomes in its area: once a haven for narcotics dealers and prostitutes and threatened by Igor Kenk's gang of bike stealing junkies, the park is now a carnival on any warm sunny weekend.

This park was the original site of Trinity College, one of the colleges that now make up the University of Toronto. The college building, which was completed in 1852, stood roughly at the centre of the park, and remained there for just over 100 years. Today the only remaining artifacts of the school are its restored gates at the south end of the park.

By 1900, the college and its picturesque surroundings attracted residential development. Most of the surrounding streets were filled in with tall, narrow houses of the "bay and gable" or "gothic revival" style characteristic of much of Toronto's housing stock from that era. The area was somewhat remote from Toronto's center, and the proximity to the Provincial Lunatic Asylum and the fact the area was run through with ravines from the Garrison Creek system prevented the area's attraction of the wealthier sort (though a number of fine homes from the period are scattered throughout the neighborhood).

During the great depression, many of the original WASP residents moved elsewhere or subdivided their houses, and the neighborhood became a landing site for immigrants of various nationalities, setting a pattern for the next six to seven decades. The first waves of immigrant settlers were Poles and Ukranians. By the 1960s, the area had become popular among the immigrants from Portugal who now define much of the neighborhood's character. (However, it should be born in mind that the leading non-English language spoken in the home as of 2006 is Chinese; although ethnically Portuguese residents outnumber Chinese by about 17%.)

Currently, this area, like many neighborhoods in downtown Toronto, is in the process of generational shift. The original wave of Portuguese immigrants are aging, and many members of this cohort are dying or moving elsewhere; in combination with significant inflation in real estate prices, this accelerates the pace of housing turnover in the neighborhood. In parallel, a fashion for downtown living among younger professionals and an expansion of the popularity of bohemianism have increased a demand for housing among these demographics. The inflation has also worked in parallel with a perceived lack of fashionableness among the descendants of the Portuguese to move this group out of the area after leaving home. The result: fewer Portuguese, more bohemians and professionals.

The businesses along Ossington Avenue and Dundas Street West reflect these changes, with sports bars and social clubs becoming trendy (if tiny) restaurants, bars and bruncheries. These are an intriguing mix of intentionally down market shabby-chic and extensively renovated high design. The future for this neighborhood, as for every neighborhood, is impossible to foresee.

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