Broken social structure at Keele St. and Dundas St. West?


As many commentators have  pointed out on this blog over the years, is the idea that the Junction area at Keele St.  and Dundas St. West around the south-east corner is “broken”.
Commonly reports about the social problems we do experience in this area.  Crime, drugs . Probably resulting from the notably high levels of economic inequality,  in the immediate few blocks surrounding this corner. The great amount of travel though traffic, some making difficult or unsafe turns is also part of the problem.
The gap between intention and action, and between denial and knowledge from just about every organized body, community groups, government, business organizations, causes this corner to keep its notorious nature. 

Solutions will be difficult to inter, as the intersection sits of the dividing line between two city wards, two resident associations,  but it does sit right in the Junction business association area allowing for single interest from one entity if a workup plan to solve the intersections problems is ever put forward.

15 Comments

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  1. Greg says:

    This corner does feel very much like the epicentre of the Junction's "old ways". It feels at times like Bathurst and Queen, the focal point of the problems on Queen West. It took a starbucks and a soon-to-be C2 to start improving it, but we all know the world would come to an end if an established furniture store moved in to the neighbourhood.

    So how would you propose improving it? Adjusting the ward structures? Or just getting a group of people who care to try and change it? The BIA's lack of interest in anything east of Keele was especially noticeable during last year's Junction Arts Festival, when the effort felt completely lacking.

    As someone who lives just east of Keele, I often feel anxious / worried when I move past that corner. Maybe I'm on the wrong side of a Junction gentrification debate, but I would love to see this area cleaned up. Considering the few great spots (Cool hand, J. Eatery, Bookstore, Pet store, the ex green lavender, etc.) it would seem a little help from the BIA could make a big impact if someone cared. I check the site regularly with hopes of seeing a post about the corner of Dundas & Indian Grove not about a car wash.

    With the new condos now taking occupancy, the number of people living within a block of that corner has skyrocketed. So much potential if people want to create change.

  2. junctioneer says:

    The blog has been told the site at Dundas & Indian Grove where a car wash was planed is under new ownership.

    As to changing the character of the corner that is what prompted the post, only a consolidated effort between all the groups in the area would get the political will behind it. is it going to get worse now that the police station is gone?

    There many people on the west side of Dundas St. concerned about it.

    By the way the junction BIA did not have anything to do with the placing of part of that years festival, on the east side of Keele, but rather the festivals board, and the then managing producer worked on a idea to have a poetry village on the empty lot, did not work as planned, but it was know to be long shot using that side of Dundas for the 1st time in many years.

  3. JunctionJim says:

    I think the sandblasting of the building helped the look of the corner, but the businesses here are not a great "welcome mat" to those who wish to walk around in the area and check out what's going on.

    It's truly a shame that although the landlord felt compelled to clean up the building he hasn't been able to get his tennants to "clean up" their businesses.

    Hate me if you wish, but I'd love to see something like "fresh" take over the Concourse Restraunt and a Timothy's, Second Cup or even a Tim Horton's in the Galaxy donuts spot, an established business who will renovate and take care of their interior and immediate exterior as well.

    It really just comes down to the business owners and the landlords wishing to change the neighbourhod, because if they don't take out a broom and clean it up no one will.

  4. junctioneer says:

    all wonderfully stated said JunctionJim, and Fresh or like restaurant would be great.

  5. Junction Resident says:

    Concourse is a terrible spot with intimidating patrons who crowd the corner and smoke, and barely move, even if you are trying to move through them with your baby. I have no idea who owns it and why there patrons only seem to be people who look like they are seriously down on their luck. I was told the reason the building was updated was because the City of Toronto made a deal with the condo developers at Heitzman Place and asked them to contribute to the neighbourhood if they were going to develop there. So they contributed to cleaning up the buildings. Thats what I heard, for what its worth.

  6. Greg says:

    Thanks for the clarification Junctioneer. And talk about timing with the condo post later in the day!

    So I guess the real question is, "what does it take to create change on this corner?" The Junction is a (politically, socially) active neighbourhood – what have you seen as successful in the past? Any recommendations on how to get the ball rolling? It's unfortunate that the acronym EOK (east of keel) isn't a bit more catchy…

    Also, thanks for the BIA / JAF clarification.

  7. Martin L says:

    The picture above is a good reminder of what this building looked like and what a restoration project can do to improve the esthetics.

    At the 2010 JAF the JRA completed an activity mapping exercise, see this link
    junctionra.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/JRA-Activity-Mapping-at-the-2010-Art-Festival-.pdf

    Clearly the community does not like this intersection.

    The Junctioneer is right; solving this issue is a big one, even identifying it is hard to do.

    Also with the police station moving and police and social worker budgets being cut I don’t think we will see any social program improvements from them.

    I’ve heard Councilor Perks say that in Ward 14, this area is not on the radar as a high crime area and he uses his resources in other areas of the ward.

    In the end I think gentrification will make this someone else’s problem, the new condo proposal for McBride plus others will see rent in this area increase driving out business that fail to adapt to the changing demographics.

  8. James Carrington says:

    Totally agree about the Concourse Restaurant but the Galaxy Donuts is run by awesome people who work really hard. As with many of the places in the neighbourhood, they are part of the character. I would hate to see them replaced by something we can get any where else. The Super Submarine is also a great local restaurant owned by great people.
    There are places west of Keele that I consider sketchy and would avoid. This neighbourhood is so much better than it used to be as an 18 year resident i have to say the hookers are still here but with a much lower profile. Never the less I love the Junction and the community here, 18 years and 3 houses all just east of Keele to prove it.

  9. NotAJunctionYuppie says:

    This smacks of anti-poor sentiments. People who are "down on their luck" are part of this neighbourhood and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. It's not okay to push them out of their homes and community (and replacing affordable establishments with expensive ones is one of pushing people out, is a way of pushing people out) just so that people with more money can feel more comfortable by not having to see poverty. The divide between the rich and the poor is growing in Toronto, and that divide is glaringly obvious in the Junction. Pushing the poor out of sight isn't a solution for a just, compassionate and sustainable community.

  10. A.R. says:

    People have a problem with the establishment as a place where they perceive drugs to be sold, and one that attracts addicts and drug dealers who prey on the poor. Establishments serving the poor aren't exempt from standards of lawfulness, value, cleanliness, and aesthetics. Few people will take issue with clean establishments offering food and other goods and services friendly to the needs of poor people. Such places will probably even attract more affluent people too. Getting rid of establishments that facilitate drug abuse isn't indicative of anti-poor sentiments but wanting all establishments to conform to the standards of a civilized society.

  11. Mary Wilmont says:

    Not to mention that a man was beaten to death outside of there last year!! If Galaxy is so great then why don't they franchise a Tim's? They would get way more business. The whole Galaxy donuts franchise is a low rent joke. At LEAST clean up the look of the store.

  12. Rusty says:

    This is the solution:

    Move the women's shelter and rooming house for men. Move one, or the other, or both. Whoever decided to place these practically next door to each other should get a pat on the back… Not. The two combine to a critical mass of drugs, prostitution and crime. Why has no one else realized this?

  13. Mikie Boy says:

    The Sally Ann has a rep for selling their downtown properties when the right price comes along, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the woman's shelter gone some day soon.

  14. Mikie Boy says:

    It was amazing to see all the people going to the Junction Flea Market on Sunday….strange to see that much foot traffic going east of Keele…shows you what might happen for that area if you have a few permanent "up-scale" attractions there.

  15. junctioneer says:

    fully agree

    thanks for the comment

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