Making ‘Third’ Places for Socializing


  • Loss of connection and socialization

  • Loss of identity & community

  • Lack of connection between marginalized groups

Needs & Wants

  • A space for gathering and getting to know one another

  • Keeping youth engaged with community based activities that encourage them to go outside

  • Because Parkdale lacks an entertaining/ engaging exterior gathering space (ie. A place for larger groups to sit & socialize) & able to accommodate for a variety of activities

  • Being able to accommodate for various cultures and traditions that make up the neighborhood

How Might We?

  • Keep the youth engaged within their community and expand their skills and experiences?

  • Allow the youth to experience a sense of belonging in a safe and purposeful way?

  • Restore a sense of community and belonging and promote diversity?

  • Foster dialogue and celebrate long-term residents’ cultures and traditions to promote diversity?

Moving to Parkdale at the age of four from Mississauga, Angela has very fond memories of Parkdale as a child, and now with two children herself, she wishes for John and Grace to experience the tight-knit community as she once knew it to be. Even though her adult years, Angela maintains the tradition and culture of Parkdale by attending the Bonar Parkdale Presbyterian Church every weekend and socializing with parents after dropping her kids off at school. However, new developments in the past few years have made it difficult for Angela, who used to socialize with other parents at the Dufferin and King McDonald’s, to even find a place to gather. With many families moving away, paired with space lost to developments, Angela finds it almost impossible to connect with new residents and make friends.

Born and raised in Parkdale, John lives with his mother and older sister in a community that is swiftly changing. As an extroverted young boy who enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly playing soccer with his friends, he is facing sudden challenges that are impacting his ability to be the social, playful boy he is meant to be. Due to Parkdale’s gentrification pushing his friends out of the community, as well as a recent loss of his after-school soccer program with the lack of space, John is in desperate need of new initiatives to meet new friends and restore his energetic spirit.

Much like John, all sixteen years of Grace’s life have been spent as a resident of Parkdale which shapes her identity as an aspiring artist. As a volunteer for the Bonar Parkdale Presbyterian Church and the Holy Family Community Centre after school, Grace is an advocate for youth-led activities and programs. However, with the lack of space in the surrounding area, she finds it difficult to obtain accessible community outreach. As well, with the recent foreclosure of her favourite local art gallery The Margins of Era Gallery, Grace has lost the ability to network with neighbouring artists. Her desire for artists, including herself, to share and show the community artwork is one that she believes is essential for promoting the artistic spirit of the community.


As a long-term resident of the vibrant Parkdale, Angela spends as much time as she can socializing with her neighbours. The McDonald’s at King Street and Dufferin Street is her favourite place to grab a coffee with other parents after dropping her children off at school.

Due to gentrification, land prices have increased, causing local businesses to be bought out. The local McDonald’s is demolished to make room for a new development by XO Condos, leaving Angela no place to socialize with other parents after dropping her kids off at school.

The intervention allows Angela a place to sit with other parents, while watching her kids play soccer and volunteer within the community. It also creates a new opportunity to meet new parents and introduce them to the neighbourhood and its various traditions.


Since she has lived in Parkdale her whole life, Grace has grown up experiencing the annual street parties on Cowan Avenue with her family and friends. She loves spending time in the art scene as an aspiring artist herself.

The local art gallery Margin of Era Gallery in which Grace volunteers at, closed down due to an increase in rent. Her ability to network and meet with artists as well as share her work is taken away, leaving her with a lack of a necessary creative outlet.

The art space that Grace so much longed for has become a reality. Grace and other local artists are able to come together to share their work and network with one another.


After school and on weekends, Angela takes her son, John, to the local soccer field to play soccer with his friends. He loves playing soccer with his peers and learning new games.

Distraught by his friends moving away, John struggles with the thought of having no friends left to socialize or play his favourite sport, soccer, with. Now, he often only leaves the house to attend school on weekdays.

With a new communal space, John is introduced to kids in his neighbourhood that he otherwise could not have interacted with. The kids share a common love for the outdoors and join a new afterschool soccer program, which Angela and Grace love to come watch every match.


With the recent introduction of the intervention, community members gather with a purpose to construct a new social space, bringing together individuals of all diverse backgrounds from all parts of the neighbourhood.

On the weekends, the entire family is seen using the new space to socialize with other members of the clergy at an outdoor church event. This space allows for the entire community to interact with the church and attend events, tying together communal bonds.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.