The Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park (KGO) community is one of 13 neighborhoods selected as a priority neighborhood in Toronto. This priority status suggests that the KGO community along with the remaining priority neighborhoods lack basic public services and community organizations such as libraries, food banks, community centers for example. In response to limited community resources the City of Toronto endeavors to improve the KGO area through community services and neighborhood improvements (Abbas 2011). This paper will explore the general history of Scarborough and examine relative characteristics of the Kingston-Galloway/ Orton Park area as well.
General History of Scarborough After WW2, Scarborough experienced exponential growth. With a population of 25, 482 in 1945 it became Canada’s fastest growing community and Ontario’s fifth largest municipality. Likewise Scarborough became a central commercial and industrial hub of Canada with a diverse population “enriched with by the skills of men of many nations” (Myrvold 1997 pg117). The post-war baby boom, increased immigration, changing policies and a thriving economy, and family expansion created a demand for new housing and influenced rapid suburbanization (Myrvold 1997 pg117).
In the post-war years Canadian policies were revised to reflect economic demands and changing cultural attitudes thereby removing racial and ethnic barriers on immigration. In 1967 a new “point system” was introduced to calculate the admissibility of immigrants. The new point system evaluated immigrants’ education levels, ability to speak English or French, employment experience among other things. This new criteria decreased systematic discrimination and exclusion on racial and ethnic grounds resulting in increasing migration to Canada from India, Pakistan, and the West Indies (Myrvold 1997 pg117-118). The policies changes altered Scarborough’s social, economical and ethnic landscape; as immigration in to Scarborough increased with little emigration out of Scarborough, Scarborough became one of the third largest cities in Ontario and seventh in Canada (Myrvold 1997 pg144-146).
Moreover, due to the “dispersal of jobs, the availability of cheap housing in townhouse and high rise apartment complexes and the availability of vacant land”, Scarborough attracted new immigrants. Additionally, the lack of cultural support networks in central Toronto also attracted immigrants to settle in the suburbs of Scarborough rather than in downtown Toronto. Scarborough offered an opportunity for immigrant families with children to enjoy suburban living and have access to recently developed, publicly assisted housing. By the middle of 1986, 38 % of Scarborough’s population was immigrants and Scarborough was one of the “primary reception areas for new immigrants.” (Myrvold 1997 pg146)
Historical Overview of Kingston-Galloway/ Orton Park The Kingston-Galloway/ Orton Park neighborhood geographically defined as East Scarborough spans from west of Scarborough Golf Club road, east to Manse road north of Ellesmere road to the south rail-way tracks of Kingston Road. Historically this area was farm land named “West Hill” due to its location on the west side of a hill that was in the eastern part of Scarborough. During the 1840’s an influx of Irish immigrated to KGO and West Hill became established. In the 19th century West Hill separated from Highland Creek. In 1910 the West Hill Hotel was developed to accommodate increasing traffic tends along the Kingston Road Highway. During WW2 motels sprung up aside motels and cabins. By 1906 West Hill was disconnected from the mainline rail ways and subsequently linked to Toronto by the Scarborough Division of the Toronto and York Radial Railway Network. This transportation link facilitated growth as it became a minor transportation hub for West Hill. Transportation and technology improvements such as the cars and buses changed the major transportation routes as the TTC replaced the old Scarborough Radial in 1927. During the 1930’s the 86 bus route rerouted connecting to the Bloor-Danforth line and Kingston Road became the “gateway” of Toronto until the development of the 401 highway.(Abbas 2011)
According to StatsCan data the KGO population in 2006 was 23,042 which declined by 7.2% from 2001 (Kingston-Galloway Priority Neighborhood Profile 2006). Despite the populations decrease over the years the Kingston-Galloway/ Orton Park area has a population density of 3,868 persons per km2. KGO is home to 6,245 families in which 32.5% of these families are single parent house-holds significantly higher than the City of Toronto’s 20.3% proportion of Lone Parent Families. Furthermore, 22.6% of the seniors (65 years and older) in KGO live alone in contrast to 26.9% seniors living alone in the City of Toronto. Thus the KGO neighborhood is not only highly dense, but also has a significantly higher proportion of vulnerable residences (lone-parent families and seniors living alone) in contrast with the City of Toronto.
(Kingston-Galloway Priority Neighborhood Profile 2006)
Table 1: Population Break Down By Age
Percentage of Population
Population of Toddlers
Population of Children
Population of Youth
Population of Young Adults
Population of Working Age
Population of Pre-Retirement
Population of Seniors
(Kingston-Galloway Priority Neighborhood Profile 2006)
As the table above demonstrates, 6.9% of the KGO population is Toddlers; 15.1% are Children and 11.8% are Seniors. Thus 33.8% of KGO residences are financially limited or economically dependant. While 6.7% are in the Youth category and 6.9% in the Young Adult category; 42.6% are in the Working Age category and 10.1% are in the Pre-retirement category. From these four groups (Youth, Young Adults, Working Age and Pre-Retirement) 66.3% in of the KGO population is of legal age of employment, however only 14.8% of KGO residence are employed. Thus the KGO area has a high proportion economically marginalized residences.
(Kingston-Galloway Priority Profile 2006)
Additionally, the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park neighborhood has the highest concentration of subsidized housing in Ontario in which 90% of KGO residences live in subsidized Toronto Housing Corporation rentals. On the other hand only 10% of KGO residences own their homes. Likewise, 28.5% of the KGO population lives at or beneath the low income cut off line compared to only 19.4% for the City of Toronto (Kingston-Galloway Priority Area Profile). The median household income in the KGO area is $42,835 after tax compared to $46,240 in the City of Toronto (for 2005 (Basu et al 2013). Likewise, the mean household income in KGO area is $47,770 after tax compared to $63, 870 in the City of Toronto (for 2005) (Basu et al. 2013). Additionally the unemployment rate in KGO is 9.8% compared to 6.9% in Toronto. Despite high population density, the KGO community has only 12 TTC surface routes that serve the KGO community and the nearest subway station is 4.5 kilometers away. Thus a substantial amount of the KGO population lives in a highly dense, poverty stricken community with limited mobility (Kingston-Galloway Priority Area Profile 2006).
Immigration Statistics Table 2: Top Recent Immigrant Origins
South Asia (i.e. India)
South East Asia (i.e. Philippines)
Western Central Asia and the Middle East
(Kingston-Galloway Priority Neighborhood Profile 2006)
The immigrant population in the Kingston-Galloway/Orton park community is 39.4% South Asian, 14.6% South East Asian. Similarly the top 3 languages excluding English spoken in KGO is Tamil, Tagalog and Bengali. Thus there is a positive correlation with the recent immigration trends and the top 3 languages spoken in KGO. However 22.5% of KGO’s visible minority population is Black, while 18% is South Asian, 1.1% is South East Asian and 6.6% is Filipino. Although there are a high proportion of Black individuals residing in the KGO community, South Asian’s, South East Asian’s and Filipino’s together make up 25.7% of visible minorities in KGO. This demonstrates that the there is a decrease of immigration into KGO by Blacks and furthermore the main language of Black individuals that residing in KGO speak English. The data also indicates that although people from different cultural backgrounds immigrate to KGO they retain their cultural identity by continuing to speak in their mother tongue.
Local Services Available to Immigrants and Community Residencies The Kingston-Galloway Orton Park neighborhood provides a variety of services for their community, some of which are specifically cater to their immigrant population. The following facilities and services are some of 35 agencies and organizations participating in the Neighborhood Action Plan (NAP) in collaboration with the City of Toronto to improve service delivery in under served neighborhoods. The services described bellow are available to the KGO community and are more specifically resources available to immigrants in the KGO neighborhood;
East Scarborough Storefront
This facility is a “one-stop shop” maintained by community members and service providers. Although it is an informal organization, it is a resource center for but not limited to employment, education, housing, health, recreation and direct access to computers, fax machines, telephones etc. The Storefront encourages diversity and aims to meet the demands of the community as a gateway between the people, services and communities. It has also been deemed one of the “most amazing places in KGO neighborhood”. (Abbas 2011)
East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club
Located at 100 Galloway Road, the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club s is an accessible space providing youth from birth up to 19 years of age along with their caregivers recreational and education programs. Although this is an informal organization they welcome all different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and aim to “enhance their growth, personal development and potential as contributing members of society” (Abbas 2011). They also provide a calendar on their website as to when and what events and programs are offered.
TDSB Newcomer Services for Youth
The Toronto District School Board is a formal organization funded by the municipal government that is located on 4383 Kingston Road. It offers an inclusive environment where students and youth can learn about settlement, integrating into the education system, mentorship along with job searching among other things (Abbas 2011). It aims to equip students and youth with essential and necessary tools for academic and employment success.
Catholic Cross Cultural Services
Catholic Cross Cultural Services is located 3227 Eglinton Avenue West, unit 135. This is a non-profit informal organization that assists immigrants and refugees in settlement and integration. Services are offered to members of KGO “regardless of race, creed, religion or political affiliation” and it is located just 3 kilometers outside the KGO boundaries. (Abbas 2011)
Toronto Community Housing Corporation (THCH)
THCH is a formal organization funded by the municipal government. The mission of THCH is “to provide quality housing for low and moderate income households and to create community conditions that minimize risk and promote resiliency”. Housing 164,000 low and moderate income tenants in 58,000 households, this agency is the largest social housing provider in Canada and the second largest on North America. THCH provides housing for seniors, families, singles, refugees, along with recent immigrants and individuals with special needs. (Abbas 2011)
Polycultural Immigration and Community Services (PICS)
Located at 3180 Eglinton Avenue, 3 kilometers outside the KGO community, PICS initially started out as a Polish Immigrant Aid Services (1973). Later this institution merged with
Polish Community Social Services (1993) and was eventually was renamed to Polycultural Immigration and Community Services (2000). The name change was reflective of the services provided to various ethnic and cultural groups. This agency provides information to new comers about social services, housing, healthcare, and immigration issues that are usually experienced by new immigrants. In addition they connect new comers to other community services and offers interpretation and translations as well. (Abbas 2011)
In essence the above programs both formal and informal aim to help provide essential services to immigrants and aid in their transition by providing employment and housing resources, programs and services such as internet and job services to individuals. While some agencies offer cost-free services such as East Scarborough Cross Cultural Services, others such as the THCH provide subsidized support to immigrants. Despite the services offered, some facilities are outside of the KGO community and distance therefore may hinder those who are unfamiliar with the transit system or lack transportation by other means. Likewise, those who lack internet access to connect to websites for the above services may experience increased marginalization. Individuals with internet access have increased advantage over those without, for instance the Eastern Scarborough Boys and Girls Club has online registration for some programs open as early as 12:01am on the registration day while those without the internet must wait until 9am remigration day. Lastly formal organizations such as the TDSB Newcomers Service for Youth likely require formal registration in which immigrant status will be disclosed. Thus formal services may exclude immigrants who do not have an acceptable immigration status.
Formal health care facilities serving the KGO community are include 2 main hospitals; The Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital along with Scarborough General Hospital. Although Scarborough General Hospital is approximately 3 km outside the KGO area it still serves the Kingston-Galloway residencies. Due to high population density in the Kingston-Galloway/ Orton Park area 11,521 individuals per hospital, thus the KGO community lacks the resources to serve its residences. There are also 3 doctor’s offices that offer Walk-in services which include The Doctor’s Office/MCI at 255 Morningside, Doctor’s Clinic at 4500 Kingston Road, and One Stop Medical Centre at 3585 Lawrence Ave East (Abbas 2011). Again due to the high population density and low number of Walk-In clinics, there is a ratio of approximately 7,681:1 clinic. In addition the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park community can utilize the Scarborough Centre for Health Communities at 345 Kingston Road or 4100 Lawrence Ave East. It was initially created as the West Hill Community Service (1977) with the purpose to “enhance and nurture health and well-being of individuals, families and the community for those in need, regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, color ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, creed, gender sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, or family status health status”. However the name changed to Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (2010) but still offers the KGO community access to doctors, nurses, dietician, and healthier babies programs among other essential services such as social support, food bank, interpreter and income tax preparation (Abbas 2011). Similar to the East Scarborough Store Front, the Scarborough Centre for Healthier Communities provides the KGO community with a one-stop shop for socio-economic and health needs.
Analysis: The social, cultural, economical and ethnic landscape of Scarborough has changed over the years from being predominately White Anglo-Saxon Protestants to predominately multicultural. During the 19th century British and Scottish immigrated to Scarborough taking advantage of the land incentive. Likewise, Irish immigrated to Scarborough due to the Potato famine and to build the railway (Goldfield 2014). During 1911-1945 the population of Scarborough increased from approximately 4500 to 25,000 with a diverse immigrant population from Germany, Holland and the US (Scarborough Archives Presentation). However in the 1967 government policies regarding immigration changed to fill labor gaps in the growing Canadian economy introducing the point system. This revision of immigration polices allowed immigrants from various countries to enter Canada based on skills such as language and work experience that were evaluated by a point system. As a result, Scarborough’s population increased by 200,000 people to roughly 325,000 people (Goldfield 2014. Furthermore in 1971 through 1996 the population almost doubled to 600,000 people and by 1991 White Anglo Saxon Protestants were a minority. After the war GECO munitions buildings in Scarborough were purchased by the government and were converted into cheap rentals which later became subsidized housing (Goldfield 2014). Immigrants were excluded from Toronto and forced into the suburbs of Scarborough. Scarborough continues to be depicted as aesthetically “distasteful” and “dangerous” and is often given names such as “Scarlem” to demonstrate its marginalized population and eminent danger (Basu et al 2013).
Although Scarborough has a history of low-cost land a cheap housing making it a market for financially limited individuals agencies and its residences continue to work together to ensure Scarborough is an inclusive space for all. It is important to note however, that issues concerning Scarborough in the past increasingly focused on crime and “aesthetics” and lacked critical focus on “structural barrier of an urban for left benign by a history of suburban development, disinvestment, […] accentuated by the benign neglect of a neoliberal state” (Basu et al 2013). Despite the lack publically funded investments necessary for structural improvements in Scarborough, Scarborough has developed what Basu notes is an “array of transformative sub/urban/altern cosmopolitan spaces”. These spaces are “actively produced” through public, semi- public and private spaces of interaction. Furthermore, these spaces are culturally and socially inclusive with the purpose of nurturing and facilitating integration (Basu et al 2013).
The research and findings on the Kingston-Galloway Orton Park neighborhood dispelled my prior notions and assumptions of the neighborhood. I was unfamiliar with the Kingston-Galloway/ Orton Park neighborhood until the recent Danzig shooting in the summer of 2012. Thus my initial interpretation and understanding of the neighborhood was through the discourses presented by the news and media about this particular area having a high concentration of gangs and being a target area of “Project Pathfinder” Police raids (Galloway, Rapdictionary.com). Through researching the KGO community I found the prevailing discourse of the KGO area in the media is consistent with the representations of KGO produced by the City of Toronto as a “high-risk,” “priority” neighborhood in Scarborough. On a macro level, this trend of classifying Scarborough and area’s in Scarborough with a negative connotation dates back to media coverage between 1980 to 1991 (Basu et al. 2013). During the 80’s however, Scarborough was depicted as “quiet” while articles were later produced linking immigrant population and changing demographics to emerging criminality and violence in Scarborough (Basu et al. 2013).
Unfortunately, these negative discourses associated with KGO and with Scarborough continue to over shadow the positive discourses the residences of Scarborough and more specifically KGO residence produce and feel themselves. For instance, KGO is presented as a “vibrant” inclusive neighborhood by some such as Ourkgocommunity.com. Likewise, services offered to the community foster inclusiveness, resources and community involvement such as The East Scarborough Store Front, East Scarborough Boys and girls club and Scarborough Centers for Healthy Communities. Despite gains made my the KGO community the prevailing discourse of “high risk” and eminent danger and violence still looms over KGO and Scarborough in general.
Furthermore, to my surprise, the Kingston/Galloway-Orton Park neighborhood is an increasingly dense population with a high level of the population unemployed or underemployed resulting in below average house hold income compared to the City of Toronto. Likewise, there is a high concentration of vulnerable individuals such as seniors, toddlers, children and single-parent families. Moreover immigrants and individuals who have low income, disabilities and lone-parent households or are socially and economically marginalized are then left with little housing options and resort to TCHC housing which is highly concentrated in the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park neighborhood. Thus residences of KGO experience systematic and socio-economical and cultural barriers that either influences their decision to move into KGO and or limit their ability to move out of KGO. Additionally KGO is home to a highly dense population but limited resources for healthcare with only access to 3 walk in clinics and limited social services such as food banks. I also believe the landscape of KGO is a product of neoliberal restructuring and contributes to the marginalization of its residencies. Lack of planning, formal organizations and government funded services also contribute to immigrant marginalization in KGO and hinder individuals from emigrating out of KGO. (Basu et al. 2013)
A Note on the Sources Used The resources and data I that I gathered for my research are accessible to anyone who uses the internet and inputs a topic related to the KGO community, for instance "Kingston Galloway/ Orton Park" or "Kingston Galloway population". However it is interesting to note that some of the marginalized segments of the KGO community such as seniors or non-English speaking residence might lack awareness of what to search. Thus language or lack of access to or awareness of technology may hinder some from the data found on the web.
Some of the resources such as the Toronto Priority Neighborhood Profile, seem to present the information in a non-biased and objective manner, however the term "priority" suggests that the KGO community is of importance for the City of Toronto. This notion is contrasted with the negative connotations of the media and news articles of KGO as an area highly monitored by police in Project Pathfinder. Although the lack of resources is demonstrated through articles such as "Kingston-Galloway Community Resource Needs and Assessment" the evidence of better planning, increased social support and infrastructure improvements is not addressed. Instead articles focus on the City of Toronto's commitment and the crime reduction goals of the Police and determining the steps taken to improve the daily lives of KGO residencies rather than measuring current improvements.
On the other hand sites such as Oukgocommunity.com and focus on the positive aspects of the community in attempt to fill the structural and social void created in KGO. Likewise, it would be beneficial to produce a KGO profile of all the resources available and statistics to show how these resources impact the community.
Lastly some of the data presented in reports was unclear. For instance, the graph in the Kingston-Galloway Priority Area Profile does not provide an accurate number of how many individuals speak a particular language. Likewise the data does not discuss who and what age category is employed in a particular sector.
In my subsequent research I hope to investigate the relationship between immigration, education, employment and health to determine if poor health is associated with lack of education or/ and underemployment (for instance lack of access to benefits or a health plan). I also hope to research weather KGO immigrants who identify with their cultural groups, religious groups or participate in their community have better health then those who lack identifying with their cultural or religious groups or have limited involvement in their community.
Work Cited Abbas, Rihab. (2011) Kingston-Galloway/ Orton Park Community Resource and Needs Assessment. Immigrant Women Integration Program