History of St. James Town
Originally a semi-suburban neighbourhood home to the city’s middle class in the 19th century, this neighbourhood of Victorian housing stock was rezoned in the 1950s when the City of Toronto announced major zoning amendments for the downtown core.
During this period, the nineteenth century homes were levelled, and apartment towers were erected. Each tower accommodated thousands of residents surrounded by green spaces. Each of the buildings is named after a major Canadian city.
However, the neighbourhood spun into greater decline and rather than the government changing tack, more towers continued to pop up, creating the current most densely populated community in all of Canada, as well as one of the poorest.
In September of 1997 the former City of Toronto council approved St. James Town 2000: A Community Action Plan which aims to revitalize St. James Town through initiatives such as the building of a multi-service community centre, improvements to parks, and the maintenance and repair of St. James Town buildings.
In 2001, the City of Toronto launched a major initiative to improve the area, including the construction of a new Toronto Public Library branch and community centre, which opened in 2004 at the corner of Sherbourne and Wellesley. In 2013, St. James Town became the host of the World’s Tallest Mural, as approved by Guinness. Today, the towers are mostly home to newly arrived immigrant, and low-income families.
The St. James Town Catering Collective
Flavours from our Neighbours is a vibrant lip smacking catering collective in one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in Toronto. We, a group of passionate residents, have got together to make this happen. The diverse and delicious cuisines from across the globe are reflected in our menu . “Cooking with heart, and cooking healthy” is the secret ingredient of our success.
On the 21st of August 2018, a fire broke out in 650 Parliament Street displacing its 1500 odd residents temporarily. The residents have been placed at various locations on a temporary basis with help of The City and other agencies and organisations while the reconstruction is in progress.
On Tuesday January 22, 2019, 260 Wellesley experienced a situation that caused the hydro, water, and heating to be shut down for the entire building. Power and water was restored between Friday January 25-Saturday, January 26th.
Reports & Publications
2001 – Profiles for St. James Town neighbourhood: