Alexandra Park has two distinct communities that are literally intertwined within the streets of this neighbourhood. The old section of Alexandra Park consists of privately owned residences, while the newer sections of the neighbourhood are part of the Alexandra Park Cooperative, which provides partially subsidized housing.
This mix of private and public housing in Alexandra Park seems to work, as both old and new complement each other in this small downtown Toronto neighbourhood.
A little history…
Alexandra Park’s history revolves around Sir Casimir Gzowski, a Polish engineer who immigrated to Toronto in 1841. Gzowski’s distinguished career included the building of the Grand Trunk Railway from Toronto to Sarnia.
The Gzowski residence stood at the south-east corner of Bathurst and Dundas Streets. This former Toronto landmark was known simply as “The Hall”. In 1904, the City of Toronto purchased “The Hall” and its environs for use as a public park. This park was named Alexandra Park after Queen Alexandra.
The Alexandra Park neighbourhood has been the first home for many new Canadians. In the 1920’s and 30’s large numbers of Polish and Ukrainian immigrants settled here. They were soon followed by immigrants from Germany, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Hungary.
In 1964 Toronto City council approved plans for the Alexandra Park Housing Cooperative. This led to the expropriation of sixteen acres of private property and the subsequent demolition of many Alexandra Park houses. Today the Alexandra Park Housing Cooperative forms a vital part of this inner city neighbourhood.