Toronto’s downtown and waterfront condos are now home to thousands of preschool-aged children, finds a new report by Social Planning Toronto. The report reveals the number of preschool-aged children in key downtown census neighbourhoods has more than doubled in ten years—a staggering shift that has childcare and recreation programs overcrowded as the school year comes to a close.
“These condo neighbourhoods are small spaces that were intended to be homes for single millennials and young couples, but are now housing young families”, said Sean Meagher, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto. “Baby stroller traffic jams are not uncommon in these communities, and this is changing the way we think of how families can live and play in our city”.
Meagher also emphasized a greater need for community services and spaces, given the smaller dwellings typical of condo-centric neighbourhoods: “These young families are going to rely on community services as part of their daily lives. When you’re bringing up a child in a small condo, your local park, library, and community centres become your living room or backyard, and we have to invest more to respond to this changing landscape”.
The report does not overlook the city-wide deficit of childcare and recreation services, but Meagher pointed to opportunities to invest alongside new development— easing the burden using developer funds.
“Toronto has an across-the-board childcare and recreation deficit, especially affecting the inner-suburbs”, said Meagher. “Using the surge of development to fuel investments in programs and infrastructure in intensifying downtown neighbourhoods could ease the pressure on a City which is playing catch-up in other areas”.
The report, entitled ‘Demographic Change In Toronto’s Neighbourhoods’, is based on the most recent census data and is the first to outline key recent changes in the demographic makeup of Toronto.