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March 22, 2010
Exhibit opens Thursday - ‘A New Lease on Life: Rental housing in 20th century Toronto’
An exhibition called “A New Lease on Life: Rental housing in 20th century Toronto” will open at the City of Toronto Archives on March 25.

Although Toronto is known as a city of homes, it has also been a city of renters. During the 20th century, the proportion of Toronto residents who rented their homes seldom fell below 40 per cent. After 1971, that percentage stabilized at about half of the population. In spite of their numbers, Toronto tenants have often struggled to find suitable lodgings in a market characterized by high rents, low vacancy rates, limited amenities and rundown properties.

This exhibit looks at examples of public and private rental housing developments that responded to Toronto's need for rental accommodation in unique and sometimes controversial ways. Whether creating more liveable spaces, devising new methods of financing, or incorporating modern planning theory, developers aspired to raise the status of rental housing. Through their success, or lack of it, they have shaped our understanding of good rental housing and offered lessons for future development.

The City of Toronto Archives gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association and the Social Housing Services Corporation.

A New Lease on Life will continue through 2010. Admission is free. The City of Toronto Archives is located at 255 Spadina Rd. Hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays (October to April) from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call 416-397-5000 or visit

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contacts:
Karen Teeple, City Archivist, 416-397-7393,
Sarah Carson, Archivist, 416-397-4567,



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