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Crescent Town

October 13, 2011

Crescent Town is a small neighbourhood in East York consisting of a dense high rise apartment cluster built to take advantage of the adjacent Victoria Park Station. It was developed in the late 60s, early 70s, when those sorts of development were all the rage. You can find them all over Toronto, particularly in the inner suburbs. Crescent Town is one of the bigger ones though, close to rivalling even St. James Town. I would also argue it is one of the better designed ones, with great transit access, and an elevated pedestrian promenade with gardens, retail, and a community centre integrated into it.

The area, like much of this part of town, was once farmland. In this case, the Dentonia Farm owned by the Masseys, started in 1887, and apparently produced the first pasteurized milk in Canada. A portion of the land was donated to the private Crescent School in 1933, and later sold to developers to build Crescent Town in 1969. One of the neighbourhood’s claims to fame, is that Kiefer Sutherland was one of its early residents as he attended Crescent Town Elementary School.

Crescent Town is located east of Victoria Park Ave, west of Dawes Road, north of Dentonia Park Ave, and south of Donora Park.

Crescent Town was walked on August 21, 2011

I started and ended the walk at Victoria Park Station. The path can be a bit difficult to follow, since a lot of the time was spent walking on the pedestrian promenade between the towers.

Dedicated and raised pedestrian structures dominate this community, so it is appropriate that you start by crossing the pedestrian bridge over Victoria Park from the subway station.

The towers rise up above the surrounding areas, embedded just in front of the Taylor Creek ravine system.

If you only walked down Crescent Road, you might think this was just another soulless set of towers with seldom used roads and underground parking lots.

But you would be missing the essence of Crescent Town. The wonderful pedestrian promenade that rises up from the streets, parking and cars relegated below.

This place was just teeming with people from the towers, heading to the local stores, the community centre, even some health facilities, or just out for a stroll to get some fresh air. If that tires you out, take a seat at one of the numerous benches around and enjoy the gardens and activity.

You don’t get the sense that these people are living in pods, and never interact with each other, there is a vibrant sense of community. Some of the units even open right into the walkway.

There are also lots of kids around playing and riding their bikes. The abundance of three bedroom units encourages families to live here, and shows that people can, and will live enjoyable family lives in high rises. As the heavily used Crescent Town elementary school demonstrates. The school acts as a hub towards engaging the community.

There are local stores selling all kinds of things in the marketplace, often catering to the large South Asian population, and even a couple of restaurants.

They have their own community centre and recreation facility which includes a pool and sports facilities. There is a town hall with meeting places and a library. Everything is so interconnected with many hubs of activity, I imagine if you lived there it would take a while just to find everything that spouts off from the walkways.

However, it is a place that is showing its age and could use some maintenance. There have been safety issues around the Victoria Park walkway. But it is a unique Toronto community that many people probably don’t know about, and a thriving one at that. Good maintenance of the facilities may come and go, but the thoughtful design is here to stay.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Woodbine Gardens « Toronto Neighbourhood Walks Project
  2. Scenes From Crescent Town | Scenes From A City

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