The history of Regent Park’s social housing has been well documented from the beginning of its creation to the present day. What has caught my attention is the high amount of controversy from its very beginning to present day over the creation, maintenance, and effectiveness of the project. In the period of Regent Park’s construction from the mid-1940s up to the early 1950s, costs and implementation of the projects continuously brought about problems. Whether it was building material (a brick shortage at the time) or costs (the extra costs to the City for moving expenses of those displaced from the original settlements), the project took a lot of determination to withhold from the skepticism and become a reality. The narrative of Regent Park’s social housing history is written throughout many primary source materials; newspaper clippings covering from development to the interpretation of politicians and alike over its effectiveness, official city documents outlining costs and concerns, and many other resources such as photography painting a picture of the before and after for the first development of Regent Park.
As noted by Matt is his feedback to our groups proposal, Regent Park’s social housing project was not created in a vacuum but based on much research into the housing projects around the globe such as in London, UK. The creation of Regent Park was not just local news, but news that stretched throughout Canada, covered in the Montreal Gazette and in panel discussions in Vancouver. After a run through of multiple materials on Regent Park’s development in the Toronto archives, the scale of the project in its time period created international awareness of the project.
After visiting the Toronto Archives for the first and definitely not the last time, the task of sorting through the primary sources has become daunting. The Toronto archives alone provides a substantial amount of information on the topic, much of its useless, but in between the piles of useless documents many significant ones can be found. Thankfully there is a group able to work on this project as this is something that would be difficult to properly investigate alone.