I came into class that day with zero expectations (except for the fact that I was certain the good weather wouldn’t last and that it was likely to rain).
I wanted my judgments to be free of influence. Something, many of my fellow bloggers couldn’t escape from. The name Regent Park has been constantly associated with words like poverty and crime over time. Media has succeeded in creating a rather polarizing image of the neighbourhood, which coupled with people’s preconceived notions about low-income neighbourhoods and the poor, has resulted in people choosing to avoid the neighbourhood all together. Regent Park was once even called the “largest Anglo-Saxon slum in North America” by Author Hugh, who also used the neighbourhood as the setting for his novel Cabbagetown.
The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Regent Park stands today as the very image of revitalizations. A modern, urban neighbourhood complete with new condominiums, well maintained public spaces and even a FreshCo, Regent Park is tangible proof of the collective impact of a community. People with a shared objective came together as a community to actualize their dream of re-developing Regent Park and to continue to foster the bonds that the citizens shared with each other and their neighbourhood.
Regent Park is, in short, a success story.
Our field trip took us to the Daniels Spectrum building, a cultural hub run by Artscape and home to several organizations, whose work was focused primarily on nurturing and encouraging the development of community in Regent Park. These organizations included the Regent Park School of Music, Regent Park Film Festival, ArtHeart Community Art Centre, Pathways to Education, COBA Collective of Black Artists, Native Earth Performing Art and my personal favourite Centre for Social Innovation.
Each of these organizations are currently doing some amazing work. Please go check out their work on their website.