When I got to Parkdale with my camera, I found Queen Street under construction. Nothing can have as much of a devastating effect on local business as the arrival of the streetcar track rebuilding crews!
At one time, Parkdale was a rather desirable neighborhood west of the city of Toronto. It was named Parkdale because of the park-like environment with lots of trees close to the lake. However, during the 20th century, the city encroached on, and eventually engulfed, the community. The building of the Gardiner Expressway cut off the community from the lake. The biggest blow came when deinstitutionalization of the psychiatric hospitals dumped hundreds of patients into the cheap rooming houses of Parkdale.
My sister and brother-in-law lived for several years in a cheap apartment overlooking a side street. They would occasionally see naïve suburban kids trying to score some drugs. More often than not, they would leave only with empty pockets, and perhaps, a little wiser.
In recent years, Parkdale has seen a bit of a rebirth as yuppies have moved in, attracted by cheap homes. With a bit of work and money, many of the old homes here can turn out to be quite attractive. Increased police patrols and civilian vigilance have also reduced the crime rate here. In time, Parkdale may well become a more desirable neighborhood once again!