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Neighbourhood watch: Why Bloorcourt is one of Toronto’s most diverse places to live

September 18, 2015

By Andrea Chiu, Globe and Mail |

10 Blocks: This is the first in an occasional series examining what makes Bloorcourt tick, and how an inventive digital documentary about the neighbourhood is taking shape.

Welcome to Bloorcourt: ten blocks along Bloor West and – right now – one of the city’s most diverse places to live. As rents begin to rise, a new interactive documentary from two Calgary natives immerses viewers in a vibrant community in transition. But don’t say the G-word: Locals say their hood is different – they won’t forget the people who first set up shop here

Despite being stood up by his potential landlord, Marc Serpa Francoeur felt he was home. He couldn’t view the apartment, but was standing under a sign that read “Ponta Delgada Bar,” a reference to his mother’s hometown in Portugal. Looking around, he saw the street alive with activity and knew he wanted to live in this area.

“I had a particular idea of the neighbourhood I wanted to live in. It would be walkable, ethnically diverse and have small commercial strips,” Mr. Serpa Francoeur says. A few weeks later, he moved into an apartment above the sushi restaurant across the street at Bloor and Dovercourt.

With that intersection at its heart, Bloorcourt stretches along Bloor Street West between Dufferin Street and Montrose Avenue. A month after Mr. Serpa Francoeur arrived here, his childhood friend, Robinder Uppal, would move into an apartment just a few streets over on Gladstone Avenue.

Take a closer look at the interactive trailer for Marc Serpa Francoeur and Robinder Uppal’s coming documentary on the immigrant business owners of Bloorcourt.

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