The Projects Project, pt.1

Posted on February 19th, 2010 3 great comments. Room for one more!

Wow, I sure am being put through the paces these days. Big client. Big deadlines. No weekend :( Gonna be pounding the keyboard hard, so I’ll keep it brief and choppy. But luckily, that’s probably the best style to adopt for what’s coming up.

Also, I luckily managed to string that U of T series along for a bit, and even more luckily, the this week’s stuff is considerably less soppy: Regent Park!

It all started with a great documentary called Invisible City that I saw on TVO last Sunday.

In it I learned all sorts of interesting things, like Regent Park is Canada’s original housing project. And much like many of it’s American cousins, this one went south. You know, the usual stuff; drugs, violence, poverty, all mushed together in a gooey mess. There’s a northern part, made up of short and brutish red brick buildings facing each other antagonistically, and a southern part consisting of a cluster of tall, low-privacy, high-density apartments ringed by run-down townhouses.

What struck me as sad about the documentary, though, is that the two kids are already feeling a bit nostalgic for the place, both because of the course of their lives and, I suspect, because the neighbourhood’s being torn down. The new buildings being put up contain starter condos — around $200 Gs. That’s a very reasonable price for a downtown location and is a much more affordable starter loan. As shocking as this may sound, I think the city actually did something right there – it seems to make sense.

Unfortunately, it also means that Regent Park may be disappearing. I mean, it’ll be a while yet, but the revitalization is slated for completion around 2015. And, once again, bizarre as this may seem, I believe that the project is mostly on schedule. Weird, right? Maybe it’s because this is my homegirl’s ward.

In any event, shortly after watching the documentary I decided I had to see it for myself. I only had to walk a few blocks. I know! All this time and I’ve never been!

Well, I went, and I got a little panorama-happy. At least at the beginning — kept me in a natural three-sixty motion. Smart! But I relaxed eventually, though the place continued to be unpleasant. In the middle of February, not a place to bring your valentine. Well, maybe the right one ;)

Anyhow, the buildings may look a bit warped, but at least you’ll have context. But, because of so much context, I humbly request your patience when you click on the pics -– they’re loading, they’re just big. Now’s the time to get that refreshment you’ve been thinking about. Go ahead, it’s alright, that photo won’t go nowhere :)

Also, I’d recommend turning on full-screen mode (usually under the “View” menu at the top – or try hitting the F11 key). Stick your schnoz into the monitor to complete the effect. Finally, because the photos will probably take up more than your whole window, you should probably know how to get back here :D You have a few options:

1) Hit the ESC key. Works for me, probably will for you :)
2) Use the scroll bars, or the arrow keys, to scroll to the lower-right corner of the photo (down and right). Just below that is the close button.
3) Use the scroll bars, or the arrow keys, to scroll above or below the photo. Then just click anywhere on the blog.

And please enjoy your visit!

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Continued in next part…

3 Comments on “ The Projects Project, pt.1 ”

  • Kato
    February 20th, 2010 10:03 pm

    That trailer made me really sad. It also made me really want to watch this documentary. I live in this city and I have always known Regent Park to be what it is. It would be nice to gain another perspective on it.

    The graffiti you captured in your pictures is awesome. Thank you for the inspiring post friend!

    Read more from Kato at:
  • Patrick
    February 22nd, 2010 8:26 pm

    The documentary is a lot better, Kato. Although the undercurrent of inner-city-suckage runs throughout, the real focus seems to be on poverty. And some stats I saw today would seem to suggest very strongly this is right on the money.

    Thanks as always for your kind words. The graffiti there is inspiring and I loved it. It's a shame I couldn't get more panoramas though, these were just the few that didn't come out fuzzy (it was a dark day and I wasn't being careful). But, still, there's a little more to come — I got a few non-panoramas. Plus, Regent Park has a history, so that helps in filling in a post :)

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