What was once land belonging to a string of motels, is now a thriving community on the rise in Scarborough.
Kingston Road was notoriously known as a desolate motel strip in southeastern Scarborough.
“There is a small town feel,” said Tabitha Wilkinson, owner and manager of Cliffside Village Books.
Kingston Road has recently turned into a thriving community. The area that had hourly-rate motels is slowly turning into a desirable place to live.
Wilkinson said she feels a slight disconnect from the city living in Cliffside and enjoys the feeling. She said it’s sometimes hard to believe that Kingston Road and Cliffside are actually part of such a large city. Recently, she has noticed newcomers in the area.
“I love living and working here,” Wilkinson said. “I think it’s a great thing that new people are coming to this community.”
Besides new residents in the Cliffside community, there have been changes such as new plants and art murals. These touches have brightened up the area.
“There is a reconstruction of Kingston Road in its entirety,” said Katrein Darling, senior planner of community planning at the city of Toronto.
The area was in dire need of repair, and reconstruction was supposed to happen in 2005, but because of a city planning study it was put on hold. Now, the city is moving forward in that regard and is looking to even widen pedestrian areas such as sidewalks and street crossings.
“Throughout [the study] the community was very positive. They were supportive and engaging,” Darling said.
The introduction of residential space sparked interest in redeveloping Kingston Road. Aside from small business owners like Wilkinson, other community members have continually showed support for murals that have been created by local artists.
In addition from the support of the community, others are interested in changing Kingston Road’s image. New spaces that include condo developments and mass retailers will help bring more new residents to the area.
Wilkinson said she doesn’t mind larger chains joining the community, but they shouldn’t take over every inch of commercial space available.