Malvern Town Centre Mall
‘It hasn’t gotten better’ in Malvern
By KIM NURSALL Staff Reporter
Tues., March 11, 2014
Looking around the Malvern Town Centre mall, Victor Persaud sees closed-down stores and others well on their way.
The 43-year-old man has lived in the mixed-income neighborhood for almost three decades and said the “everything must go” signs are a telling symptom of an area of Toronto that remains rundown.
Closed stores at the Malvern Town Centre mall are symptoms of an area still in need, a community advocate says. (DAVID COOPER / TORONTO STAR)
“It hasn’t gotten any better. In some ways, it has gotten worse,”
He said of Malvern, which stretches east from Markham Rd to Morningside Ave, and north from the 401 to Finch Ave. E.
Some of the problems, he said, are persistent drug crime as well as social segregation among ethnic groups.
On Monday, Toronto unveiled a new ranking system that scores each of Toronto’s 140 neighborhoods.
Any area that falls below the benchmark score of 42.89 is designated a “Neighbourhood Improvement Area,” which replaces the old “Priority Neighbourhood Area” title.
Malvern was named a “priority” in 2005, but under the new system, it scored 43.89, meaning one point separates it from a classification that attracts city resources as well as millions of dollars in third-party funds.
Alex Dow, program director for Malvern Family Resource Centre, has been a tireless advocate for the community.
Although not concerned about a lack of city support, Dow is worried the lost priority title will “ripple out to other funders.”
“There’s a risk that the level of collaboration might decrease,” he said.
Dow said priority status helped increase community engagement, a critical step for a part of Toronto stigmatized by high crime rates.
“We see a lot more residents involved in discussions in community safety,” he said.
Community efforts also produced the newly built SPOT (Success, Power, Opportunity, Teamwork) center, a for youth, by youth, initiative, as well as park and community garden spaces.
BY THE NUMBERS
11.3% People in the neighborhood on social assistance.
City benchmark for a high-need area: 15.1%
57.8% Persons age 26-65 with a post-secondary degree. Benchmark: 62%
39.7% Eligible voters who voted in the last election. Benchmark 41.4%
16.7 Average number of meeting places within 10-minute walk of each residential block. Benchmark: 23
196.8 Number of deaths under age 75, per 100,000 people 75 and under. Benchmark: 271.4