Severe overcrowding and poverty is heightening stress and ethnic tensions in Canada’s most populated immigrant neighbourhood, says a study of the Thorncliffe Park community released today.
The U of T study of changes in the Toronto neighbourhood between 2001 and 2006 found more than 30,000 residents — mostly newcomers — are crowded into 34 highrise and lowrise apartments in a 2.2-square-kilometre concrete jungle behind Don Mills Road and Don Valley Parkway. Front-line workers are worried the population is outpacing programs and services, hindering their ability to quickly integrate.
“Thorncliffe Park will continue to attract high volumes of newcomers, relative to most neighbourhoods across Greater Toronto. Settlement services, therefore, should remain a high priority,” says the report. “If population and household numbers continue to climb at the same rates, overcrowding and other issues will present increasingly greater challenges.”
The study found each household has an average 1.4 bedrooms compared to 2.7 across the city, but twice as many sleeping in a bedroom as in an average Toronto home. Half of residents live below Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off, three times the rate for Toronto.