Steeles, Ontario

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Steeles
Neighbourhood
Mary Ward CSS over L'Amoreaux pond
Mary Ward CSS over L'Amoreaux pond
Steeles map.PNG
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto

Steeles is a suburban neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This geographically localized community is in the former municipality of Scarborough which was amalgamated into the City of Toronto in 1998. Steeles is located at the northern edge of Toronto (the very north-western corner of Scarborough) and is bordered by Steeles Avenue East to the north, Kennedy Road to the east, a hydro-electric transmission line to the south (just south of McNicoll Avenue) and Victoria Park Avenue to the west.

Geography[edit]

The geographic centre of the neighbourhood is at 43°48′46.42″N 79°19′16.8″W / 43.8128944°N 79.321333°W / 43.8128944; -79.321333Coordinates: 43°48′46.42″N 79°19′16.8″W / 43.8128944°N 79.321333°W / 43.8128944; -79.321333. These coordinates rest on Bamburgh Circle, just north of Fundy Bay Boulevard.

Before the neighbourhood was developed, much of the land was covered by deciduous forest. The L'Amoreaux woodlot is the only area that retains a significant amount of original vegetation.

Steeles lies atop the watershed of Highland Creek, specifically West Highland Creek. The river's source is located in the neighbourhood: the L'Amoreaux pond behind Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School. The parkland around this pond is some of the most scenic in the neighbourhood.

History[edit]

Before the homes on Shepton Way were developed in 2001, archaeological excavations led by Dr. Ron Williamson discovered the remains of a pre-modern aboriginal settlement next to the pond in L'Amoreaux Park that is the source of West Highland Creek. The excavation area, known as the Alexandra site, yielded some 20,000 archaeological artifacts from a Huron-Wendat village of approximately 1,000 inhabitants that thrived circa 1400 CE.

After many centuries of life in what is now Southern Ontario, the Huron-Wendat were driven out by the Six Nations. Following that, the Six Nations were driven out by European settlers who converted the area into farmland which, in turn, was developed into residential, commercial, and public buildings complemented by small lots of parkland.

Most residential development was completed by the early 1980s. Shepton Way was developed over the last farm in the neighbourhood. Development is mostly complete in the neighbourhood, save for some new homes and businesses that continue to be built.

Main source: "First Nations history in L'Amoreaux recognized," by Mike Adler, Scarborough Mirror, 2008.11.19.

Culture[edit]

Steeles is part of the Chinatown of Scarborough-Agincourt; one of three Chinatowns in Toronto.

Annual events[edit]

  • Mary Ward Multimedia Exhibition. A large-scale, installation-based art and technology exhibition held every spring at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School. Juxtapose was the inaugural show in 1998, followed by Katharsis ('99), Vertigo ('00), Incognito ('01), Manifesto ('02), Axis ('03), Ism ('04), Merge ('05), Enigma ('06), Recollect ('07), Echo ('08), Eccentrick ('09), and Tempest ('10).
  • Guyana Festival. Held every summer at the L'Amoreaux Community Centre, the festival marks the anniversary of Guyana's Independence, and has earned the distinction of being the largest annual gathering of Guyanese out of Guyana.

Notable residents[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Population (2006): 24,705

Age (2006):

  • Children (0-14): 3,170 (12.8%)
  • Youth (15-24): 3,680 (14.9%)
  • Working Age (25-64): 13,930 (56.4%)
  • Seniors (65+): 3,920 (15.9%)

Gender (2006):

  • Male: 11,830 (47.9%)
  • Female: 12,875 (52.1%)

Ethnicity (2001): Nearly 60% of residents are of Chinese descent. There are also significant populations of East-Indians, Greeks, English, Scottish, Italians, Irish, Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Guyanaese and Filipinos.

Language (2001): Over one third of residents in Steeles speak Chinese at home (primarily Cantonese). 34.2% are multilingual. 12.5% speak neither English, nor French.

Income (2001): Median family income is $54,109, although a notable gap exists between rich and poor. While 18.6% of families generate over $100,000 in annual income, the second largest income bracket (12.1%) consists of families that make between $20,000 and $29,999 per annum.

Poverty (2001): 19% of residents live in poverty. This is down from the 27% poverty rate in 1996. Up to 17% of youth are unemployed. Of those employed, 22.1% of youth earn low incomes; 57.5% of these are recent immigrants (1996–2001).

Housing (2001): 80% of dwellings are owned; 20% are rented. Most (51%) are single-detached houses. 35.1% are apartments in buildings that have five or more storeys. These apartments are concentrated within Bamburgh Circle. Row houses (7.8%), semi-detached houses (2.8%), and other kinds of apartments round out the remaining dwellings.

Other (2006, 2001): Relative to the rest of Toronto, Steeles has more youth (14.9%; +2.2), seniors (15.9%; +1.8), immigrants (72.3%), visible minorities (81.2%), and Canadian citizens (85.1%), but fewer children (12.8%; -3.6) and aboriginals (0.1%).

Source: Statistics Canada: 2001, 2006 Census.

Politics[edit]

Steeles is part of the federal and provincial electoral district of Scarborough—Agincourt. Municipally, the neighbourhood is part of Ward 39.

Voter turn-out is generally lower than regional averages in elections for all three levels of government. In spite of voter apathy, Liberal candidates are very popular here as Gerry Phillips (Member of Provincial Parliament) and Jim Karygiannis (Member of Parliament) have been re-elected numerous times. Conservative candidates tend to finish second; New Democrats third; Greens fourth. Independent candidates and smaller parties run occasionally but garner few votes.

Municipal candidates tend not to run on party slates. Sherene Shaw represented Ward 39 up until she was narrowly defeated in 2003 by Mike Del Grande. Only 401 votes, or 3.3% of the vote, separated the two candidates.

Ideologically, representatives tend to be fiscal conservatives, though their social attitudes vary. While most tend to be tolerant of ethnic diversity, some are socially moderate while others have been accused of being racist and homophobic. Del Grande has allegedly made several racially contentious statements while Karygiannis remains one of the few Liberals to oppose same-sex marriage rights in Canada.

Education[edit]

Steeles has six elementary schools, two high schools and one public library.

Dr Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute operates under the Toronto District School Board while Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School is part of the separate Toronto Catholic District School Board. Mary Ward CSS features a unique self-directed learning program and is recognized for its excellent fine arts and athletics departments as well as social justice activism.

Many high school graduates have gone on to pursue post-secondary studies at Toronto's universities and colleges. In 2001, Steeles ranked ninth of the 140 neighbourhoods in Toronto in the number of youth who attended university. In spite of this, 22.2% of Steeles youth (aged 15–24) do not attend school.

Steeles Library is the neighbourhood branch of the Toronto Public Library.

Parks and recreation[edit]

Steeles has several public parks and recreation centres that feature playgrounds, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, fitness centres, gymnasia, and playing fields for soccer, football, and cricket.

  • Bamburgh Park
  • Fundy Bay Park
  • Gold Medal Park
  • Huntsmill Park
  • L'Amoreaux Park
  • L'Amoreaux Community Centre
  • Sanwood Park
  • Shepton Park
  • Terry Fox Park
  • Warden Avenue Park

Some apartments within Bamburgh Circle have private tennis courts.

Religious institutions[edit]

Commerce and business[edit]

Bamburgh Gardens Shopping Plaza is the largest shopping centre in Steeles. It can be found in the middle of the neighbourhood at 375 Bamburgh Circle, one block south of Steeles off Warden (east side).

Small and medium-sized businesses bookend the east and west sides of the community; most commercial outlets are concentrated in the west between Victoria Park and Pharmacy. Within this commercial area, the Bank of Montreal has a major Institute for Learning facility.

Some of the small and medium-sized business centres include:

  • Victoria Park Business Centre
  • Passmore Shoppers

Several major shopping centres lie on the Steeles border. North America's largest indoor Asian mall, Pacific Mall, is located on the north-eastern corner of Steeles and Kennedy.

Some of the shopping centres on the Steeles border include:

  • Metro Square

Infrastructure[edit]

Health care facilities[edit]

The Scarborough Hospital (TSH), Grace Campus, is the nearest urban community hospital to Steeles. It is located just south of the neighbourhood at 3030 Birchmount Road.

The Scarborough Hospital became well-known around the world when the SARS outbreak hit Toronto in 2003.

Nursing and retirement communities[edit]

Moll Berczy Haus (Tendercare Nursing Home Ltd.) is Toronto's only residence for German-speaking seniors.

Transportation[edit]

Roads are used by automobiles and serviced by public transit, particularly TTC buses.

The nearest highways are the Don Valley Parkway (404) to the west, the Express Toll Route (407) to the north, and the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (401) to the south.

Although there are no designated bike lanes in the neighbourhood, cyclists often share the roads in addition to using the sidewalks along them and bicycle paths in parks. Such paths are also commonly used for walking and inline skating.

Geographically, the nearest subway stations are well beyond the neighbourhood; Don Mills (Sheppard Line), Midland (Scarborough RT), Finch (Yonge–University–Spadina line), Kennedy (Bloor–Danforth line).

The Canadian National Railway is one block to the east.

Neighbouring communities[edit]

Steeles is bordered by the city of Markham to the north. While Markham is beyond the city limits of Toronto and is in the 905 area code, it is still a part of the Greater Toronto Area.

To the west is Hillcrest Village, a neighbourhood that constitutes the north-eastern corner of the former municipality of North York. Like Scarborough, North York was amalgamated within the City of Toronto in 1998.

The two neighbourhoods to the south and east of Steeles are both in Scarborough; L'Amoreaux and Milliken, respectively.

Townhomes in the neighbourhood.

External links[edit]

Steeles

Ward 39

Scarborough—Agincourt

Secondary Schools

Public Library

Political Representatives