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Building Community: Life in a Rexdale Highrise

Wednesday, Metro Morning was LIVE from Rexdale.

Part 1. Listen audio (runs 22:40)
Part 2. Listen audio (runs 23:04)
Part 3. Listen audio (runs 27:00)

We're meeting residents who live in one of the aging concrete towers along the "Kipling strip", north of Finch in Etobicoke. The 23-story highrise is typical of the more than 1,000 towers erected in Toronto's "inner suburbs" in the early 1950s and '60s.

Once seen as decent places, with pools and tennis courts, they are now deteriorating dull buildings, with dark hallways, unreliable elevators, and no place for kids to play. They are also home to tens of thousands of newcomers to Canada who can't afford to live anywhere else.

On Monday, February 13, Matt met with long-time resident, Jamal Senior.
Listen audio (runs 4:20).

On Tuesday, February 14, Mary Wiens brought us the story behind Toronto's Tower Renewal initiative, aimed at eventually restoring all the highrises across the city. We'll also meet Priti Patel, a community activist from India who now calls Kipling Avenue home.

Listen audio (runs 4:43)

Today, Matt is in the meeting room off the main floor of 2667 Kipling. He's speaking with tenants, property managers, architects, planners and community workers about the challenges and triumphs of life in one of Toronto's middle-aged highrises. With residents from diverse countries such as India, Iraq, Haiti and the West Indies - we'll learn about ways to turn an aging tower into a vibrant vertical village.

We'll also hear from some of the most junior residents of 2667 Kipling Avenue, who told Mary Wiens how they thought the building could be improved.

2667 Kipling's poet-in-residence Darren Clarke also shared is thoughts on the community, in a powerful poem.

This building is the focus of an innovative NFB project, HIGHRISE. This Emmy-winning multi-media documentary experiment explores vertical living in global suburbs. The producers have worked with residents and community agencies in the building since 2009, developing three major documentaries, including The Thousandth Tower, One Millionth Tower, and the Digital Citizenship Project.

Links of interest:

Tower renewal
The City of Toronto: Tower Renewal
ERA Architects Inc.
ERA Architects Inc. on tower renewal

Career development

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