I live in, essentially, the last affordable area in the city of Toronto.  Lately – there has been a ton of press about our little ‘hood by the lake.  Technically, there are three parts of it – Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch – most people just lump it all as Mimico.  Will and  I are in the middle of it – in New Toronto.  And let’s put it this way – when I give directions to my house, I say turn left at the strip joint and drive into the lake.  This about sums up the differing parts of my ‘hood.

Toronto Life wrote about it.  The National Post wrote about it.  The Globe and Mail wrote about it.  The articles are glowing about this gem by the lake.  But the comments? Not so much.
Once people stop arguing about the boundaries of Mimico v New Toronto – the majority of the comments about the articles all boil down to ….’they keep saying it’s up and coming but nothing ever changes’.  
GOOD!  Personally, I don’t want it to change.   Sure did I pass a hooker last Christmas as Will and I went to mail his letter to Santa? Yes, yes we did.  But we also walk into our neighbourhood coffee shop and are greeted by hugs and hello’s from everyone.  Do I love that there is a line up outside of our liquor store everyday, fifteen minutes before it opens?  No, I don’t. I find it sad.  But do I love that I can walk there?  Absolutely.  I can also walk to to a Shoppers, an incredible butcher, an amazing library, a beautiful waterfront skating trail and to my son’s school.
Last night, lying in bed, I heard a man walking down the street, talking and swearing away to himself.  I knew exactly who it was.  He is a developmentally delayed man who takes the streetcar downtown every morning and who Will says ‘hi’ to when we walk by him.  HE is part of our neighbourhood just like all the kids and families are where we live.
I don’t want to live in the Beaches – it’s lovely but man, is it BUSY.  I don’t want a Starbucks or Gap to open on the corner of Lakeshore and Islington.  I love living in an culturally and income diverse area of the city.  I know it will give my son a more realistic vision of what the world is actually like and give him a better understanding of it.

mimico.jpg

So for everyone out there waiting for our ‘hood to change a bit more?  Keep waiting.  We’re doing just fine as we are.  Want to meet at The Kave on Friday – the sign says female AND male dancers!!!
**just a random night out in the ‘bum and hooker fights – vomit puddled’ area of Mimico (yes – god – New Toronto…whatever)** 
  • Juliana

    I guess people who haven’t lived here very long don’t release that this area was not always rough, if fact for close to 100 years this area was one of the most family oriented neighbourhoods in Toronto.
    These things contributed to it’s current state:, Sherway Gardens, relaxed liquor licensing, the closing of almost all of the area’s large employers in the 1980′s.
    Talk to someone who lived here before 1980 about this area and I’m sure you would be surprised at what a wonderful place this was for decades. If this area could be restored to a third of its former glory I guarantee you would not miss the “diversity.”
    I grew up there in the 70′s and it was like Pleasantville, there were department stores big grocery stores (Loblaws, Dominion, IGA) dress shops hardware stores, two movie theatres, 2-3 family restaurants on every block. We swam in the lake and we knew our neighbours–not only the one’s on our street– the people in our town. We knew our clergymen shopkeepers policemen, firemen. People socialized with people of all ages and all incomes. (I find new young families who move in tend to only socialize with other new families, senior citizens are for the most part ignored from what I’ve seen. )
    It wasn’t perfect, no place is perfect, but it was a distinct (and yes, diverse!) community.

  • lucinda

    my fault. i posted as anon by accident

  • Sara

    Well I need to know who you are!!!

  • Anonymous

    Sara. i think we need to make a date to go to the Kave

  • Sara

    Me too Deborah (on the staying the same…)….and YES – I saw the male dancers sign – very interesting…I hope the guys I see outside aren’t the dancers – but that could be amusing too!

  • Sara

    I first moved to Mimico around then as well John and totally remember my agent calling it the Western Beaches!!! I grew up in Etobicoke – and just looked at her and said …ummm you mean Mimico?? Always work to do – but still so awesome! Thanks for commenting in!

  • Deborah

    Thank you Sara, that was a great article.
    I have lived in Mimico for the past 12yrs. and I love it here. So many things within walking distance.
    Are there ‘colourful characters’ in the neighbourhood?? Yes, and I’m quite fine with them. I’ve never had any issues with anyone.
    Are there some changes that should happen?? Maybe, but just on a small scale.
    I think I would be quite happy with everything staying the same.
    Male dancers at the Kave……hmmmmm

  • John Richardson

    I moved to Mimico in the early 80′s and even back then it was touted as the next upcoming neighbourhood.
    The real estate gang at the time was trying to sell it as “The Western Beaches”, apparently without any irony.
    Despite the hookers and crackheads in both Mimico and New Toronto, I love this area but until the planners do something about the low rise apartments along the Lake Shore which are both a visual and aesthetic blight and cut off access to the lake, this area will always be “up and coming”.
    It’s improved but there’s a lot of work to do.

  • Kathy

    Hey Sara, It was really refreshing to read your article, I feel the same way about diversity and living in a community where we can share common ground with people from all walks of life. Glad you wrote this :) LOL Mimico/New Toronto

  • lucinda

    i grew up in what is considered to be a “rough” area. funny thing is, i never seemed to have any problems.
    it wasnt until i was an adult that i notice the guy who always stood near to the liquor store was a dealer. He never offered me anything in the 25 years ive lived in that area.
    now im itching to go to the Kave. :)

  • Sara

    Yup that’s the one Julie – Col Sam Smith Park – it’s an awesome spot!

  • Julie

    and you have that wonderful little figure 8 skating park in that area! sam something park at the foot of kipling?

  • Sara

    Never judge!! But I don’t know…I haven’t been…YET!

  • Erin Little

    Diversity = Interesting
    Wonder Bread Development = Boring

  • Tracey

    I love a ‘hood as diverse as this sounds… and you love your house so much… that totally rocks the hard jam. Excellent choice, Sara!!

  • lucinda

    how much is cover?
    yes this is a topic that interests me. Im not embarrased. dont judge me :)

  • Sara

    The Kave!

  • lucinda

    which strip club

  • Nancy

    “wherever you are, there you are”
    it is home to you and your beautiful boy and that alone would make it perfect but I get what you are saying- your hood is truly wonderful and I want to come and visit asap!

  • Cat

    Sara – you’ve summed it up – I totally agree! It’s the perfect mix of city meets suburb meets ghetto fabulous…C

  • Christina

    My parents have lived on Queen St for over 40 years and they are now being surrounded by condos….it’s so sad.

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