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Regent Park: A look back through the years at Canada's oldest social housing project

On January 1, 1947, the voters of Toronto decided that the city should undertake Canada's first redevelopment project. Regent Park rose from the rubble of what was once the south part of Cabbagetown. During the 1930's, south Cabbagetown was one of Toronto's worst slums and was targeted by Toronto city planners for a grand urban renewal. Regent Park was expanded in the 1950's to include the area south of Gerrard street, which came to be known as Regent Park South. Housing units ranged in size from bachelor suites to five-bedroom, semi-detached houses.

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The first family to move into Canada's first public housing venture, the Bluetts, bid farewell to their old home at 218 Sumach St. March 29, 1949. Their old house was condemned and inadequate for the family of seven.

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The first family to move into Canada's first public housing venture, the Bluetts, in their old kitchen March 29, 1949.

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The Bluetts are moving into a modern house with their own cellar (the first of eight units). The city is planning to build 1,056 similar units which will accommodate 5,000 people.

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View of Regent Park Housing development in Toronto from the corner of Parliament and Gerrard, April 12, 1954.

Harold Robinson/The Globe and Mail

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Regent Park in Toronto, January 23, 1956.

John Boyd/The Globe and Mail

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A slum dies in Regent Park South to make way for new housing in Toronto on St. David Place St., July 17, 1956.

Harold Robinson/The Globe and Mail

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Children play on the sidewalk as houses are demolished near St. David Place St, July 17, 1956.

Harold Robinson/The Globe and Mail

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Regent Park Towers November 3, 1961 in Toronto, won a 1961 Massey Silver Medal. The firm of Page and Steele, including architect, Peter Dickinson, used principles of floor layout design from a U.S.study.

Neil Newton Photography/The Globe and Mail

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Children from Regent Park North housing development play hockey inToronto February 1, 1965. About 2,500 children live in the project and take part in a recreation program that employs four full-time and nine part-time staff members from the city's Parks and Recreation department. In winter, there are six hockey teams, for boys ages 9 to 18 years.

Harry McLorinan/The Globe and Mail

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Lillian Parkman in her one-bedroom apartment in Regent Park North in Toronto, February 1, 1965. Lillian Parkman’s first home in Regent Park was a 4-bedroom house; she needed less space after her children left home and moved to a one-bedroom unit.

Harry McLorinan/The Globe and Mai

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Regent Park public housing project Toronto, October 22, 1987.

Fred lum/The Globe and Mail

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Regent Park housing development in Toronto, June 3, 1988

John McNeill/The Globe and Mail

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Children play tether ball near one of two baseball diamonds bordering Regent Park North in downtown Toronto, August 7, 1995.

The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum /

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Regent Park taken from River Street looking south west toward downtown March 2, 2005. The inner-city community, which is home to 7500 residents, is slated for a $1 billion redevelopment.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

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