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Psychogeography Portrait ... 29 ... Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
  Our family doctor practise
is located on the corner
of Sherbourne
and Bloor Streets
  Our family doctor practice is located on the corner of Sherbourne and Bloor Streets, right across the street from the entrance to the Sherbourne subway stop [marked as number 1 on the map].

It turned out that this is on the edge of St. James Town. We always park at the Howard Street or smaller Bleecker Street near the St. Jamestown West Park, and while waiting observe happenings in the neighbourhood. X is marking a starting point of this walk in Bleecker Street. Photo above is taken from that spot true the park towards the Rogers Building towering above still standing heritage buildings along Sherbourne Street.

  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
    North St. James Town is a downtown Toronto community dominated by high-rises, though there are some single-family dwellings as well. This is a community of 19 high-rise apartment buildings, and 4 low rise buildings, that contain more than seven thousand units, in an area of 13 hectares [32 acres].

These buildings are home to about 17,000 residents, and this is only the official number – many residents believe that the actual number is much higher, at 25,000. With that many residents living within only a few city blocks, St. James Town is unquestionably the most densely populated community in the country, and one of the most densely populated in all of Toronto, all of Canada and also all of North America.

  North St. James Town
is a downtown
Toronto community
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
is perhaps
Canada’s most
culturally diverse
  Bounded by Bloor Street to the north, Wellesley Street to the south, Jarvis Street to the west and Parliament Street to the east, the community is as well perhaps Canada’s most culturally diverse.

According to the 2011 census, only 40 per cent of North St. James Town residents list English as their Mother Tongue. Other top 10 non-official Mother Tongues are as follows: Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) 8.8%, Tamil 5.2%, Spanish 3.1, Mandarin 2.4%, Nepali 2.4% and all others around 10%.

  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  

Given its dense nature, there are few green spaces of any magnitude in the area, with residents often having to travel just north or east of the area to enjoy large swaths of open space. It is home to the St. James Town Library and St. James Town Community Corner, the latter of which is a community-oriented multi-service agency. Rose Avenue Junior Public School serves students, while a satellite location of the Cabbage town Youth Centre is also located within North St. James Town’s boundaries.

That is exactly what we observed just by frequent visits to the area. Obvious signs are everywhere, from the store names to the information displayed in the entrances to the various establishments. Very colourful impression.

  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
      The Filipino community in Toronto comprises 62% of the Filipino population in Canada. In 2007, 140 000 Filipinos lived in Toronto, accounting for 3% of Toronto’s overall population. Over 70 000 people in Toronto list Tagalog as their mother tongue. Tagalog is in the top 20 mother tongues listed in Toronto's 140 neighbourhoods. In 22 of those neighbourhoods, over 1000 people list it as their mother tongue. This is one of largest Filipinos, neighbourhoods with estimated 3500 people.

That is why it deserves name "Little Filipino Town". If we have in Toronto Little Italy, Little Portugal, Greek Town or China Town this is definitely good enough reason. We stumbled upon two documents supporting the facts stated above. #01. North St. James Town. Who we Are? #02. St. James Town Neighbour Profile.

  St. James Town,
who we are?
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto
  Where this name
North St. James Town
is coming from?
  But where this name North St. James Town is coming from? At the north stretch of the community along Bloor Street St. Simon’s church is located. Church started in 1884 as a mission of St. James Cathedral by The Rev’d Canon DuMoulin, to serve Church of England [Anglican] people in the North-east part of the City. For four years a small group of parishioners worshiped at the funerary chapel of St. James-the-Less in St. James Cemetery. Cemetery is still located just east of the Parliament Street. The congregation first worshiped in the chapel of St. James-the-Less, until this church, by architects Strickland and Symons, was completed in 1887. Five years later it was enlarged to twice its original capacity and that is what we see today.      
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
      A turning point for the St. James Town neighbourhood occurred in 1953 when the City of Toronto announced major zoning amendments for the downtown core. The new zoning significantly increased building coverage in this area making it an instant target for private developers.   In 1953 Toronto
announced major
zoning amendments
      By the end of the 1950's, a consortium of developers had bought up and demolished almost entire St. James Town's vintage housing stock [check what is left, buildings in darker colour on our map] in order to build Toronto's first high-rise residential apartment towers inspired by Le Corbusier's 'Towers in the Park' concept. Each tower accommodated thousands of residents surrounded by green space, but with few amenities. Each of the buildings is named after a major Canadian city. When it was first proposed in the 1960s, St. James Town was the biggest urban renewal project ever conceived in Toronto.      
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto
  Main impression are
still making few left over
old structures
  Today main impression are still making few left over old structures with its small cafes, eateries, restaurants and other small businesses, interestingly they are hearth of the neighbourhood, [on our map those darker coloured buildings].      
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  

All of the local pedestrian traffic is along Bleecker Street and Glen Road towards the back entrance to the Sherbourne Subway station [photo above left] and further in the direction of the pedestrian bridge over the pretty wild looking Rosedale Valley.

On the other side atmosphere in Glen Road is quite different, just check those photos bellow. They are talking about stories from Morley Callaghan that lived there for many years. Why such a big difference is for some other visit to the area.

      Development is under way as we speak in April of 2020, in the narrow zone north of Howard Street with individual houses, some restored and some newly built. Few heritage residential houses are even moved to make space for new high rise.      
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
      This new development is filling up the space toward very narrow plot at the Parliament Street might bring some new life to the area but I am also afraid more traffic congestion.

We'll wait and see and come back to check it out. I am promising!

  We will come back to
check it out.
I am promising!
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
      As I promised I am back with more observations from the area. Unfortunately this May 0f 2020 is in the middle of the social and physical distancing which corresponds with much less people on the streets and me taking these following images from the parked car.      
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
      At the first sight I noticed that I did not mention another church that is serving this community. That is Trinity Lutheran Church with the entrance on the Sherbourne Street making good company to the renovated, saved heritage buildings moved to the present positions in front of the huge condominium buildings at the back.      
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
      I also noticed quite attractive and successfully executed urban art pieces as a part of the newly erected condominiums but also few other urban art on the electrical box and on the corner advertising eatery. Few sights along the Howard Street are concluding this visit but I am promising to come back soon to check how revitalization at the other end of this street is progressing since the construction work is suspended during the outbreak of Covid19 pandemics. See you soon!      
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
  Here we are again,
August 13. 2020
  Here we are again, August 13. 2020. Few more photos bellow to record the progress of the condominium construction on the south side along Howard Street. Hard to see how this will impact this community, more motorized traffic for sure, maybe some kind of public space around it?      
  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  

It is also obvious how public space is needed, see how this extension of the street is used as a gathering space – small urban square almost. On the closer look I found another "urban square like" area on the opposite end of the community, it is worth a visit. Working name is St. James Town Plaza.
St. James Town is among the hardest hit Toronto neighbourhoods. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many existing inequities, including food insecurity, especially in high-density communities. The St. James Town Community Co-op is working with community members and partner organizations to deliver high-quality and culturally appropriate grocery boxes and prepared meals to combat the growing food insecurity in this difficult time. They are acquiring fresh vegetables and eggs from local GTA farm allies where possible and purchasing the remainder of the food from high-quality sources.

If you are able, please consider making a donation to their campaign to help support families in need. Learn more about the St James Town Community Co-op here.

City counselor, Kristin Wong-Tam, Ward 13, Toronto Centre [January, 2020]

  Little Filipino Town - Toronto  
      Today is July 7th, 2022, BTW first birthday of our second granddaughter, and we are visiting this area just to check what is new. Well, atmosphere is little more relaxing, no visible leftover frustrations after Covid 19 is mainly behind us. Few new sights are added, specially exciting area in front of Rose Avenue Junior Public School.      
  Filipino Town, Toronto  

In the same area we noticed new urban art and Pollinators' Garden student art initiated by Jane Howard Baker.

We have some special connection to this place, so expect more news very soon.

  Filipino Town, Toronto  
  12 Place aux Abbesses, Paris, 2012 ~ 16 Ville du Quebec, underpass street art - September, 2010
17 Around Place aux Herbes, Uzes, 2015 ~ 26 Funchal City Centre, Madeira - April, 2019
  urban squares urbansquares copyright initiative is licensed under a creative commons attribution-share alike 2.5 canada license. July 7, 2022  
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  Last time updated on July 7, 2022