business internalization project.

Question posed: How might we situate alternative design(s) – a combination of place, events, programmings, experience or otherwise-to support cross-cultural learning in Parkdale?

Our story begins with Tenzin, an immigrant to Parkdale looking to start a business, and his daughter Samten, an aspiring artist looking to maker her mark on the city. This neighborhood is unknown to Tenzin and his daughter, making it harder for him to start his own business to support his family. He not only wants to build a business with a strong foundation, but he wants to see his daughter succeed in her artistic endeavors and become her own person. This pressure drives him to discover this culturally diverse suburb. Through the newly pedestrianized streets of Parkdale, Tenzin and Samten easily make their way to local hotspots that help them on their journey to settling in Parkdale. 

  1. Arrival to Canada & Housing

    The newly immigrated father and daughter, Tenzin and Samten, arrive in Canada to see the newly pedestrianized streets of Parkdale. Similar to 88% of Parkdale residents, the family rents an apartment. To assist the family with their rent, 20-30% of housing in Parkdale are at affordable rates at 60-80% of the average market rent. Consistent maintenance without rent increases support the preservation of the affordable housing in Parkdale. This initiative gives the family a safe, accessible, and affordable place to live.

    In order to pilot and implement this, partnerships are needed with federal and provincial levels of government to allow for funding for additional affordable housing. To pilot the canopy and pedestrianization of the public realm, a partnership between the City of Toronto and the Parkdale Village BIA is necessary to ensure permitting and zoning requirements.

  2. Legal Services

    Tenzin and Samten begin to explore the neighbourhood, and they come across the Parkdale Community Legal Services Centre. Here, they were able to attend town halls where they meet the other locals and receive immigration services, mental health and social services, and English Language support.  These resources, as well as the community support from their neighbours, make it easier for both Tenzin and Samten to become integrated into the Parkdale community. 

  3. Street Vendors and Market Place

    Tenzin and Samten proceeded to explore the neighbourhood and walked by street vendors. They encountered street vendors along Queen St. who offered a variety of dishes which bright their own unique perspective on display for the community of Parkdale. The vendors displayed their unique skill sets, which created a more lively, vibrant and inclusive environment. They enjoyed trying the different foods and felt comforted knowing they moved into a community which promoted the expression of different cultural and technical backgrounds. 
    Tenzin then asked one of the vendors how to come about renting a stall and starting their own business. The friendly man explained the process to Tenzin, describing that he must first get permits and licensing approved by the city of Toronto, then must be able to pass the food inspection and obtain the public health licence and get the food handler certification.

  4. Library and Community Centre Resources

    The outside of Parkdale Library is incorporated with the pedestrianized street features with way-finding signs, so that Tenzin and Samten can easily find what service the library is providing as a community centre. Tenzin went in and asked a librarian if he could get any help settling in Parkdale. The librarian guided him into an ongoing LSP (Library Settlement Partnership Program) workshop so he can meet people similar to his situation and get support from members of the community.

    While her dad is in the workshop, Samten joined the Youth Activity on the Milky Way Lane, where she participated in the mural painting activity with other high school students. This gave her the opportunity to engage with other like minded youth in the community and become inspired by the works of local artists. 

  5. Cowan St. Pedestrianization

    Tenzin and Samten continue to walk along Queen Street when they reach Cowan Street. Tenzin and Samten go down Cowan Street to enjoy all local markets, booths, and cultural artwork. The avenue is dynamic with its use of local art, lights and pedestrian friendly pathways which attract the two to explore more of the activities within.

    Samten is inspired by the local artists and part performances as she admires the vibrant colours. Tenzin goes to visit the Gallery 1313 booth, a local small town business to ask about becoming a small business owner. Both Tenzin and Samten are delighted to live in Parkdale knowing the area is culturally inclusive.

  6. Networking Space /Celebration Square at Dunn Park

    Tenzin and Samten proceed along Queen Street and enter onto Dunn Avenue, where they are presented with a lively pedestrianized street opening onto Dunn Avenue Parkette. This park has been transformed into a safe and welcoming space for community members to meet and engage with each other through multiple events or activities.

    Tenzin can utilize this space to be introduced with other local business owners and network to understand the scopes of running a business in Parkdale. This allows Tenzin and other self starters to be introduced with locally serving commercial tenants in Parkdale and support his own business initiative.

    This also allows for programs like the Newcomers and Families Organization to have a space to host and hold networking events. With this opportunity to network with like minded individuals, Tenzin can also feel more comfortable and have a better sense of belonging in the community. Parkdale also depends on 10% community inclusive hiring, therefore Tenzin is able to get a head start on the hiring process for his aspiring business.

    In addition, Dunn Avenue Parkette is transformed to provide flexible spaces to provide a space for local artists and young adults to express themselves and interact with those in the neighbourhood. Samten finds great comfort knowing there is a safe space for her to meet and be inspired by other aspiring artists, like herself. Organizations like CHEERS and Youth Case Management Parkdale can utilize this space for social opportunities for the youth in the community and Samten, and other children alike, can feel welcome and safe in the neighbourhood.

  7. Grand Opening!

    After exploring Parkdale with his daughter and getting a better understanding of all the community has to offer, it’s the day of the grand opening of Tenzin’s Tibetan cuisine restaurant. Through the various resources and collaborative spaces provided by Parkdales vibrant community, Tenzin has successfully made valuable connections with local business owners and tenants to open up his own restaurant which will add to the richness of culture in south Parkdale. To pilot this, assistance is needed from the City of Toronto to ensure license requirements are met and to secure financing of the property.

    Tenzin and Samten feel confident in their move to this community as it provides a promising future for both of them and ensures their safety and success. Moving to a community which is fully inclusive and accessible for all members residing allows the father and daughter to feel comfortable and motivated to achieve their dreams and goals.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.