St. James Town
|St. James Town|
|— Neighbourhood —|
St. James Town (sometimes misspelled St. Jamestown) is a neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It lies in the northeast corner of the downtown area. The neighbourhood covers the area bounded by Sherbourne Street to the west, Bloor Street to the north, Parliament Street to the east, and Wellesley Street East to the south.
St. James Town is the largest high-rise community in Canada. It has been identified as one of 13 economically deprived neighborhoods within the city. It consists of 19 high-rise buildings (14 to 32 stories). These massive residential towers were built in the 1960s. Officially, approximately 17,000 people live in the neighbourhood's 19 apartment towers and 4 low rise buildings; but the number is thought by residents to be 25,000, making it Canada's most densely populated community, and one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods anywhere in North America.
St. James Town began to grow in the 19th century when it became a semi-suburban area home to the city's middle class. The area was rezoned in the 1950s, and the nineteenth century homes were levelled, and apartment towers — inspired by Le Corbusier's Towers in the Park concept — were erected. Each tower accommodated thousands of residents surrounded by green space, but with few amenities. Each of the buildings is named after a major Canadian city.
In the late 1960s, the developers attempted to acquire land south of Wellesley, as far as Carlton Street, to expand the St. James Town development. Many residents of the area resisted, with the support of civic activist and future Mayor of Toronto John Sewell. The St. James Town expansion was cancelled, and the homes that had been demolished were replaced with several housing cooperatives.
St. James Town was originally designed to house young "swinging single" middle class residents, but the apartments lacked appeal; many prospective tenants instead moved to suburban houses in the developing areas of Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York. The area quickly became much poorer. Four buildings were later built by the province to provide public housing. Today, the towers are mostly home to newly arrived immigrant families.
In 2001, the City of Toronto launched a major initiative to improve the area, including the construction of a new Toronto Public Library branch and community centre, which opened in 2004 at the corner of Sherbourne and Wellesley.
On September 24, 2010, a fire broke out on the 24th floor of 200 Wellesley St East (the white building behind the library and community centre). Fourteen people were taken to hospital due to injuries, including three firefighters and two children; three of the injuries were classed as serious. The cause of the fire was determined to be a cigarette thrown from a balcony above.
Census tract 0065.00 of the 2006 Canadian census covers St. James Town. According to that census, the neighbourhood has 14,666 residents. Average income is $22,341, one of the lowest in Toronto. Due to its cultural and minority demographics, St. James Town is often thought as "the world within a block". It is mostly a so-called minority community, largely filled with immigrants — especially those who arrived in the 1990s. The ten most common languages in the neighbourhood, after English, are:
- Tagalog - 8.1%
- Tamil - 5.5%
- Unspecified Chinese - 2.5%
- Mandarin - 2.5%
- Korean - 1.9%
- Spanish - 1.8%
- Russian - 1.8%
- Serbian - 1.4%
- Bengali - 1.4%
- Urdu - 1.4%
Non-residential content 
In October 2009, St. James Town contained the following businesses, organizations and institutions:
- Rose Avenue Public School, a Toronto Board of Education school for Kindergarten through grade 6, on Ontario Street north of St. James Avenue
- a community centre and branch of the Toronto Public Library, at the intersection of Sherbourne Street and Wellesley Street East
- two major grocery stores, a Food Basics at Ontario Street and Wellesley Street East and a No Frills at Sherbourne Street and Earl Street
- three pharmacies, including a Shoppers Drug Mart box store on Sherbourne Street near Howard Street, an independent pharmacy on Howard Street at Bleecker Street, and an independent pharmacy on Ontario Street south of St. James Avenue
- at least six convenience stores, two on Howard Street, two on Sherbourne Street, one on Ontario Street south of St. James Avenue, and one on Wellesley Street East
- a food bank at the rear of the building on 275 Bleecker Street
- The St. James Town Youth Council, a body of community youth who meet regularly to address issues in their community. Currently, they host an annual talent show called "Urban Flair" featuring performances by local youth. This competition allows members of the community to support each other and provides an opportunity for new and upcoming stars to take to the stage.
- The St. Jamestown Community Cafe was launched in 2011. This pay-what-you-can cafe hopes to find a permanent home and establish Toronto's first community powered PWYC eating establishment while also providing a place for community members to interact and be entertained. The cafe founders also hope to provide an incubator for other community organizations interested in developing and establishing their own neighbourhood's version of a community powered pwyc cafe.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: St. James Town|
- Stop The Violence
- Wellesley Institute's St. James Town Initiative
- Research Essay on the construction of St. James Town
|Church and Wellesley||Cabbagetown|