Toronto , Canada

Taking the Plunge

Regent Park Aquatic Centre, City of Toronto, Parks & Recreation

May 31, 2018

An inclusive design for cultural and gender equity enhances openness, safety, and accessibility at the community pool

The Regent Park Aquatic Centre is a modernist gem on the eastern edge of the Regent Park revitalization project. Completed in 2012, the multi-purpose swimming pool is the first facility in Canada to adopt the use of universal changerooms, no longer separating males and females in favour of common changerooms with private change cubicles. This progressive design feature addresses cultural and gender identity issues, creating an inclusive environment that enhances openness, safety, and accessibility for all. The Centre offers a new level of accommodation with the addition of a complete system of aquatics hall screening for those cultural groups interested in privacy swims. The Centre typifies the legacy commitments of the Regent Park revitalization program and provides an important civic amenity to a once marginalized neighbourhood.

Regent Park is Canada’s oldest and largest social housing project. Built as planned community in the late 1940’s, its affordability and central location made it an immigrant settlement community. During the 1990s, declining physical and social conditions contributed to the concentration of a socially marginalized population, over 70% of which live below Canada’s poverty line. 41% are under 18. What was a model community became one the city’s roughest neighbourhood.

Today a $1bn 12 year revitalization project has transformed Regent Park into a mix of subsidized housing, condos, retail shops and community amenities that attracts global attention as a socio-economic experiment in public-private gentrification.

For more on Planning for Diversity, Inclusion and Urban Resilience in Toronto, read the Building Inclusive Cities case study.



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