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Threats To Rustic Lifestyle

A river runs through it. Well, it’s a more of a creek than a river; “it” being the square of western North York officially known to the city as Rustic. It’s a quaint oasis of sleepy, post-war suburbia — the Black Creek and scenic parks, churches and schools nestled neatly among bungalows — the sort of place that inspired the Monkees to record Pleasant Valley Sunday and Geddy Lee to wail about Subdivisions.

The face of the neighbourhood — bound by the 401, Culford Road, Lawrence Avenue West and Jane Street — is changing, according to the 1996 and 2001 censuses. People of Italian stock are three times as numerous as the next largest ethnic group, Jamaican, but for how much longer? The top five countries from which Rustic’s immigrants arrive are Ghana, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Guyana.

Even the houses themselves are changing. The typical bungalow — squat with a driveway and a street-facing garage–is being devoured by the monster home. At Rustic’s southwestern frontier, Jane and Lawrence, apartment blocks dominate.

Of concern in Rustic is the trio of high-rises at the west end of Falstaff Avenue. In June, two men were gunned down, one fatally, on a basketball court in the shadows of these towers.

Sadly, a For Rent sign now sits in the window of neighbourhood gem Uru-Can Bakery (1773 Jane St., No. 1 on the map), which was a good place pick up some fresh baked goods, and it doubled as an ice cream parlour.

Not all is lost on Jane Street, however. Sunrise West Indian Restaurant (2029 Jane St.,map No. 2) serves up good Caribbean food and gives you the option of a drive-through. Now you can grab your jerk chicken on the go.

National Post
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Page: TO7
Section: Toronto: The City
Byline: Philip Alves
Column: On The Map (No. 3 Of 140): Rustic