Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Toronto's Lakeshore Community: A Neighbourhood in Transition

Created by: Survey and Mapping Services (WS), March 2006

Settling into our New Locality

Lakeshore Village BIA
The Lakeshore Village BIA was recently expanded and now runs along Lakeshore Blvd. from Twelfth Street to the west and Dwight Avenue to the east. This area was formerly known as the New Toronto Businessmen's Association, which was incorporated in 1948. In 1982 the BIA changed its name to the Lakeshore Village Business Improvement Area, and they implemented a streetscape improvement plan that included the installation of decorative lamp posts, planters and over 100 trees. This infrastructure is in place today and has been paid for and maintained by the local merchants.
There are over one hundred and fifty businesses in the Lakeshore Village Business Improvement Area with an excellent assortment of businesses, restaurants, shops and services that cater to the local community.
Credit: TABIA: Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas

When Wo-Built was looking to expand, we had the entire city of Toronto at our disposal. So with this vast area to choose from coupled with the fact that our business is not local but GTA-based, how did we come to settle on the Lakeshore area? Aside from the fact that the price was right, the Lakeshore area, a very quaint corner of the city seemed to be a bit of an enigma. Although it had a long-standing reputation for not being one of the better communities in Toronto, it seemed that the neighbourhood lived side by side with majestic homes, seedy apartment complexes and neat family homes. It lacked the big-box stores, the trendy coffee houses or the fast-food franchises that most other neighbourhoods seemed to be built around. Instead it boasted the serenity of a lakeshore, quaint little shops and family eateries - everything Wo-Built needed to have a successful base. It was TTC accessible and had a number of necessary amenities such as banks and variety stores for basic every-day needs within close proximity.

Having been here awhile, it appears that this community is in a tremendous transition and with transition comes opportunity. Where some storefronts seem to be sporting an "Out of Business" sign, there can be seen a smattering of new businesses. Ethnic eateries, entertainment spots and a few dry-goods shops are inching their way into the area to complement the already long-established businesses. And with an ever-changing demographic there appears to be much room for growth.

As a young company we have come to appreciate the many benefits the Lakeshore area has presented. Our vision is that many more businesses take advantage of the tremendous benefits that the Lakeshore has to offer. We can visualize a fully-revitalized area with little boutiques of all sorts, local entertainment spots and eateries without losing its unique flavor. And as our company grows we can give back to the community by providing local employment through our social mission of training and mentoring of women as well as helping other starting businesses with their ventures.

As a new member of this community we were excited about getting to know our neighbouring residents through local events such as the Mimico's Party in the Park. The Lakeshore area is going through a great deal of revitalization, and Wo-Built Inc. hopes to be a part of this revitalization in a big way.
Lonya is the staff writer for Wo-Built Inc.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore Community Links
Lakeshore Toronto's Village by the Lake
Lakeshore Community Partnership facilitates and encourages investment from all sectors of the Lakeshore to foster stable employment, a healthy community and a vital economy. is a neighbourhood revitalization initiative by neighbours, for neighbours. We have residents, business owners, and politicians working together to promote and improve New Toronto / Lakeshore Village.

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