Living in Alexandra Park
Alexandra Park has two distinct communities that are literally intertwined within the streets of this neighbourhood. The old section of Alexandra Park consists of privately owned residences, while the newer sections of the neighbourhood are part of the Atkinson Housing Cooperative, which is presently being revitalized into a mixed-income, mixed-use neighbourhood through a 15-year, 2-phase revitalization. This downtown neighbourhood is conveniently located right next door to the iconic Kensington Market, Chinatown on Spadina, and Queen West.
History of Alexandra Park
Alexandra Park’s history revolves around Sir Casimir Gzowski, a Polish engineer who immigrated to Toronto in 1841. Gzowski’s distinguished career included the building of the Grand Trunk Railway from Toronto to Sarnia. The Gzowski residence stood at the south-east corner of Bathurst and Dundas Streets. This former Toronto landmark was known simply as “The Hall”. In 1904, the City of Toronto purchased “The Hall” and its environs for use as a public park. This park was named Alexandra Park after Queen Alexandra.
The Alexandra Park neighbourhood has been the first home for many new Canadians. In the 1920’s and 30’s large numbers of Polish and Ukrainian immigrants settled here. They were soon followed by immigrants from Germany, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Hungary. In 1964 Toronto City council approved plans for the Alexandra Park Housing Cooperative. This led to the expropriation of sixteen acres of private property and the subsequent demolition of many Alexandra Park houses. Today the Alexandra Park Housing Cooperative forms a vital part of this inner city neighbourhood.
Homes in Alexandra Park
The Victorian style homes in Alexandra Park date back to the 1880’s and 1890’s. There are also a few semi-detached homes and bungalows from the 1920’s and 1930’s. The newer townhouses in the neighbourhood were built in the 1960’s, and are part of the Alexandra Park Housing Cooperative.
Lifestyle in Alexandra Park
Alexandra Park residents are within walking distance of Kensington Market which is located west of Spadina and north of Dundas Street. Kensington is Toronto’s largest outdoor food market. Another popular shopping destination for Alexandra Park residents is Toronto’s downtown Chinatown district centred at the intersection of Dundas Street West and Spadina Avenue. Chinatown features imported goods from the Far East, as well as fresh fruit and vegetable stands. and a plethora of Chinese restaurants.
Recreation in Alexandra Park
Alexandra Park is the primary greenspace in this neighbourhood. It has an outdoor pool, a wading pool, an artificial ice rink and tennis courts. Next to the park is the Scadding Court Community Centre. Scadding Court’s facilities include a gymnasium, an indoor pool, a weight room, and meeting rooms. Adjacent to the community centre is the Charles R. Sanderson Public Library, which offers programs for adults, children and preschoolers.
Transportation in Alexandra Park
Regular streetcar service is available on all the major streets that border this neighbourhood. The streetcars link passengers to stations on Toronto’s subway lines. The Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard are just minutes away, providing motorists with quick access in and out of the city.