REGENT PARK; OR THE BRIDGE IS OVER
Photos of Regent Park by @Bora.vs.Bora, text by Dalton Higgins
This is a freestyle. My virtual hip hop extempo. With King of The Dot potential? Who knows. Regent Park is like Tony Starks #differentstyles. The old Park is Ghost(face), being slowly eviscerated by construction and condo developer Killah’s. “Do you eat fish, tossed salads, and make rap ballads”? It’s a hip hop world, and you are all just living in it.
So when you rep Regent Park as an emcee, what will that mean in 2020? If a new Halal Gang compilation album were to hypothetically drop in 2018, where exactly would you advise them to shoot the video? Nearby a shiny glossy new condo development? Or in front of a Sumach Street apartment complex that’s either about to be demolished and/or is still in desperate need of repairs? Mustafa the Poet or Mustafa the Property Developer? Or both.
Will OVO influencer Mo G – and everybody else around here for that matter – need considerably Mo’ Money, like Wiggins, to be able to cop a two or three bedroom condo with a sun deck from the homies at The Bartholomew?
Are area residents supposed to play it Safe (or just play Safe on YouTube) and Feel this one out? When Point Blank’s 30 th anniversary hits in 2022, will their lyrical gems include references to both swimming with sharks and swimming in state-of- the-art aquatic centres? Will “Born in The Ghetto” morph into “Born in The Condo – the remix”? It’s all Styles P and TNT (Turk & Tyke), kid.
My job is simple. And that’s to drive a wedge between the two of you. The Old. The New. The Black. The White. The Bi. The bi-polar. The Grey. Mixed use this. Mixed income that. The answers to the Park might actually lie in the purgatory. Somewhere in between the mid-rises, townhomes, apartments and towers.
Extra! Extra! Read (and blog and tweet and IG and snapchat and FB and WhatsApp) all about it! Canada’s oldest and largest housing project has gone under the knife, like a Kardashian and a Jenner.
Perhaps some parts of this facelift can feel like an Eff You to the working poor, while simultaneously being viewed as The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World to downtown 6ix urban hipsters, one percenters and poverty pimps.
But don’t get it twisted. Regent Park is still very much a Priority Neighborhood – for developers. It’s both wavy and weak and even sometimes remotely Lillian Allenian…that’s Rub a Dub Style Inna Regent Park (Daltpak Chopra remix, 2016).
Have no fear. The Bizarro World of Tneger Krap is quite real. And perhaps you can walk your Chow Chow with latte firmly placed in hand while Babylon simultaneously burns, and stops and frisks, and pulls cards. Uplift. Downpress. Regent Parkers need to get their hands on some of that Cabbagetown guap.
I say go out and level the playing field, you ocean wide (Daniels) Spectrum of Great Friends, Patrons and Partners, Champions and Transformational Leaders. Cough up some more Lead Gifts and Cornerstone Gifts. Make it rain on me and you, your momma and your cousin too.