CBC Toronto - Photo By Timothy Neesam
Deshawna KitsonDeshawna Kitson

Deshawna Kitson


Deshawna Kitson lives in Rexdale. She is currently in Grade 9 at Richview Collegiate. Deshawna says her neighbourhood can be dangerous, but she is happy there are people in the community who are working hard to make it a better and safer place.


Tucked up in the northwest corner of Toronto, Rexdale is bounded by Islington Avenue to the east, Highway 427 to the west, Steeles Avenue to the north and Highway 401 to the south.

Rexdale is one of the city's most ethnically diverse areas, where you can find Indian grocery stores, African hair salons and Jamaican music stores standing side by side. That diversity is also reflected in the homes of Rexdale residents. Just four in 10 families speak English as their main language at home.

The community is also known for its large, low-income housing developments and high unemployment rate, which at 18% is three times the city's average. Gang violence and high profile shootings have scarred the neighbourhood and its reputation in recent years.

But the area is also bursting with musical creativity. Hip-hop artists Jelleestone and K'naan hail from Rexdale, as does the rock band, The Rheostatics.

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