The St. Lawrence Neighbourhood

The St. Lawrence neighbourhood , also refereed ta as The Esplanade, is a high density, socially mixed community in the centre of downtown Toronto. Built to provide affordable downtown housing, it houses approximately 10,000 people. It is seen as one of the best municipally organized inner-city redevelopments in Canada. It is also an excellent example of how the public sector, in cooperation with the private sector, can work together to develop a successful new community.

St. Lawrence neighbourhood was a product of the urban reform movement of the early ’70s, which included Mayor David Crombie and John Sewell, who later served as Toronto’s mayor. Other key people in the making of the St Lawrence neighbourhood are Michael Dennis, Alan Littlewood, Howard Cohen and Jane Jacobs.

The goals of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood were:
>> To provide housing for all income groups, in particular families with moderate to low household incomes;
>> To increase the supply of housing in the central city;
>> To develop the new community according to sound planning principles;
>> To restore the character of the Old Town of York by integrating the existing neighbourhood and historical buildings with the St. Lawrence neighbourhood;
>> To prevent the building of a typical public housing project.

The St. Lawrence neighbourhood was based on Toronto’s 19th century grid street plan and featured brick row houses and townhouses, along with higher density eight-to-10 storey apartments, that resembled the streetscape of the old town of York. At its centre was the six-block long Crombie Park with its pedestrian pathways, fountains, playgrounds, basketball courts and ash trees that line the sidewalk. (internet sources)

40 years later, and counting, The Esplanade is thriving.

Our local schools

St Michael Catholic School

50 George Street South

Principal: Marguerite Thomson

St. Michael Catholic School is a model school built in conjunction with the public school board in an apartment building that is part of the St. Lawrence Development. The school building was officially opened on June 9, 1982 with 103 children.

The key to the success of the students of St. Michael’s is the emphasis on learning goals, co-created success criteria and practical and timely descriptive feedback.

Website

Market Lane Public School

246 The Esplanade

Principal: Dane Lowry

“We are an arts focussed school and to support this initiative, Market Lane has nurtured strong partnerships with Soulpepper, the Young People’s Theatre, Impact Dance, Prologue for the Performing Arts, and Inner City Angels. We offer instruction in strings, brass, choir, African Drumming, and Steel Pan. Students watch many plays and theatric productions throughout the year. We also believe in having strong parent and community ties and have developed successful partnerships with SAS and General Electric.”

Website

St Lawrence Co-Operative Day Care

3 locations:

  – 230 The Esplanade

  – 2 Princess St.

  – 4 Market Street

The Day Care has been in operation since 1979 and believes children learn through play. Play is the cornerstone where children have the opportunity to actively explore and learn through materials and their environment.

Website

Our local theatres

Young People’s Theatre

165 Front Street East

Artistic Director: Allen MacInnis

“The 2011/12 Season brings with it a playbill of dynamic theatrical experiences certain to effect positive change in the lives of young people and those who care about them.

It also denotes a significant change to the theatre – our name. Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People has returned to the name it was given in 1966 by founder Susan Douglas Rubes: Young People’s Theatre.”

Website

Canadian Stage

26 Berkeley Street

Artistic Director: Matthew Jocelyn

“The Canadian Stage Company was founded through the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre.  The Canadian Stage Company officially came into existence in March of 1988 with its production of B-Movie, The Play written by Tom Wood and directed by Bob Baker.

Since 2010, Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn crafts a playbill that truly demonstrates Canadian Stage’s new mission: to present work that is global, sometimes blurs the line between the performing arts disciplines, and is brought to life by artists with distinctive, contemporary voices.”

Website

Théâtre Français de Toronto

26 Berkeley Street

Artistic Director: Guy Mignault

“In its forty-three years, Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT) has become one of the most important French-language theatres outside of Québec, with nearly 240 productions to its name. Today, TfT has almost a thousand subscribers and welcomes nearly 11,500 spectators each season from all over the GTA and Southwestern Ontario. TfT’s season consists of five productions for the general public, as well as shows for adolescents and children. TfT has played at the Berkeley Street Theatre since 1990. It offers its francophone and francophile public a varied repertoire that includes new work, Canadian and international pieces, and the great classics.”

Website

Our historic sites

The Distillery District

55 Mill Street

“Nearly 10 years ago a small group of visionary developers had a dream for Toronto. They looked at a derelict collection of Victorian Industrial buildings that had been pronounced a national historic site and imagined transforming it.

Our vision was to combine the romance and relaxing atmosphere of European walking and patio districts with the hip, cool dynamic of an area like New York City’s SoHo or Chelsea, where creative minds get together and you feel as if anything could happen.

The Distillery Historic District opened in 2003 and today it is widely regarded as Canada’s premier arts, culture and entertainment destination. A place brimming with creativity and creative people. A place that can inspire dreams. And a place that can help them come true.

Website

The St Lawrence Market

92 Front Street East

“In 1803, Governor Peter Hunter issued a proclamation, following recommendations made as early as 1796, that all the land north of Front, west of Jarvis, south of King and east of Church street was to be designated officially as the “Market Block.”

Since 1901, the South St. Lawrence Market has been known primarily for its fruits, vegetables, meat and cheese. For many years, few people realized that Toronto’s original City Hall had been incorporated into today’s south market. The history of the South St. Lawrence Market also includes the north “farmer’s market” and St. Lawrence Hall as well.

In March 1979, The Market Gallery of the City of Toronto Culture Division opened as the official exhibition centre for the display and storage of the City’s art and archival collections. Located inside the South St. Lawrence Market on the south-west corner of Front Street East and Jarvis Street, The Market Gallery is on the second floor in the original council chamber which was part of Toronto’s City Hall from 1845 to 1899.

Website

The Flatiron Building

49 Wellington Street East

The red-brick Gooderham Building (commonly referred to as the “Flatiron Building”) is historic landmark of Toronto. The building, completed in 1892, was built by architect David Roberts, Jr. and originally cost $18,000 to construct for distiller George Gooderham, son of Gooderham & Worts distillery founder William Gooderham. It was the office of the Gooderham & Worts distillery until 1952 and sold by the Gooderham Estate in 1957.

Saved by David and Thomas Walsh, restoration took place in 1998 by owners Michael and Anne Tippin. The building was declared a historic site under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975, and then in 1977 the Ontario Heritage Trust attained a Heritage Easement. It is now managed and owned by the Woodcliffe Corporation.

Photo: Sam Javanrough

Our community associations and groups

St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association

The SLNA represents residents living in the area in the City of Toronto bounded by Yonge St. on the west, Queen St. on the north, Parliament St. on the east and the railway tracks on the south.

The SLNA has served Toronto’s St. Lawrence neighbourhood and its 25,000 – 30,000 residents since 1982. The SLNA is an advocate for responsible development and promotes public and pedestrian safety, organises events and celebrations, and champions our neighbourhood’s interests with all levels of government.

Website

St Lawrence BIA

Located in historical Old Town Toronto the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a local business association. We are a non-profit entity whose members consist of all businesses and property owners in the BIA area.

Our objective is to strive for the improvement and betterment of the area by stimulating local business and traffic. Every business in the area is automatically a member of the organization.  The BIA is an extension of the City of Toronto.

Website

St Lawrence Community Recreation Centre

Advisory Council

St Lawrence Community Centre is located in the historic St Lawrence Neighbourhood of downtown Toronto. The community centre shares its space with Market Lane Public School and the St Lawrence Community Day Care. It offer a full range of programming for families, children, adults and older adults.

The Advisory Council assists the CRC’s staff with programming decisions, fund-raising and offers general community input into the CRC’s operations.

Website

The St. Lawrence neighbourhood, also referred to as The Esplanade, is a high density, socially mixed community in the centre of downtown Toronto. Built to provide affordable downtown housing, it houses approximately 10,000 people. It is seen as one of the best municipally organized inner-city redevelopments in Canada. It is also an excellent example of how the public sector, in cooperation with the private sector, can work together to develop a successful new community.

St. Lawrence neighbourhood was a product of the urban reform movement of the early ’70s, which included Mayor David Crombie and John Sewell, who later served as Toronto’s mayor. Other key people in the making of the St Lawrence neighbourhood are Michael Dennis, Alan Littlewood, Howard Cohen and Jane Jacobs.

The goals of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood were:

>> To provide housing for all income groups, in particular families with moderate to low household incomes;

>> To increase the supply of housing in the central city;

>> To develop the new community according to sound planning principles;

>> To restore the character of the Old Town of York by integrating the existing neighbourhood and historical buildings with the St. Lawrence neighbourhood;

>> To prevent the building of a typical public housing project.

The St. Lawrence neighbourhood was based on Toronto’s 19th century grid street plan and featured brick row houses and townhouses, along with higher density eight-to-10 storey apartments, that resembled the streetscape of the old town of York. At its centre was the six-block long Crombie Park with its pedestrian pathways, fountains, playgrounds, basketball courts and ash trees that line the sidewalk. (internet sources)

40 years later, and counting, The Esplanade is thriving.

The Esplanade

Esplanade Community Youth Group

We are a group of residents and workers employed in the neighborhood who have come together to build an organization that fights for the interests of working class people in the St Lawrence (esplanade) community.

Inspired by a survey of issues facing fellow residents, we put together a basic program that focuses on youth opportunities, housing, police brutality, social services and better jobs.

Our main goal is to enable our community to be able to respond to issues we face and fight for a decent standard of living.