Thorncliffe Park & Flemingdon Park, Toronto

The example of Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park demonstrates that a neighbourhood that is dynamic, committed and motivated, is contagious!

Tangible results, thanks to collaboration

Thorncliffe and Flemingdon were planned communities, completed in the late 1960’s. These inner suburbs are northeast of the Toronto core and they sit on either side of the Don Valley ravine. Most residents live in towers that overlook the greenery. Thorncliffe and Flemingdon are diverse neighbourhoods that serve as landing pads for new Canadians. Most residents have lower than average income and few have access to automobiles.

In Toronto we teamed up with the Flemingdon Health Centre and the STEPS youth program: Toronto Emerging Artivists, as well as a series of ad-hoc partners in an effort to understand the experience of public space in these tower neighbourhoods. Based on the demographics of the neighbourhood we made an effort to reach out to youth & new Canadians as two typically underrepresented groups.

Linking local voices with federal spending

In Thorncliffe and Flemingdon we hosted extensive engagement activities to collect diverse opinions on travel patterns. We also convened a community mapping team who collected information on the experience of public space. The feedback was summarized in a portrait that was presented to local experts for design ideas. We hosted a series of citizen response kiosks to validate the ideas and created an active neighbourhood plan based on the dialogue. We hosted a young urbanist summer camp and helped residents to paint local murals that highlighted important pedestrian connections to the Don Valley ravine. Finally we obtained additional funding to produce a temporary ‘Town Centre’ pavilion that was designed by community members through participatory workshops.

Through establishing connections between residents and city staff, the neighbourhood was recognized as a key location for targeted federal transportation spending.