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Jane-Finch to be Re-Branded as University Heights


The area surrounding the Jane and Finch intersection frequently gets pointed out as an example of a violent, crime-ridden neighbourhood in Toronto. In an effort to help change that image, community leaders in the area have decided to re-brand the area as University Heights.

Actually, Jane and Finch already sits on the western edge of an area called York University Heights, a section of North York that includes York University. While York U is close by, it's not usually associated with the infamous intersection that sits in the largest concentration of criminal gangs in Canada.

To start the re-branding, a Tour de University Heights bike road race has been scheduled for today. The event, announced as Toronto's first official road race in 20 years, was organized by the city, the police and Councillor Anthony Perruzza. Donors like Canadian Tire have given 110 bikes and helmets to kids in the area for the
event.

I used to live two blocks away from the infamous North York intersection and the area was always rough. I got mugged once and crack addicts hung out in my roach-infested apartment building. On the other hand, the area continues to try to better itself and even won a Caring Community award in 1998.

Okay, so I'm not planning on moving back to Jane and Finch (even if it's called University Heights) anytime soon, but despite its problems the area has a huge diversity of cultures, even for Toronto, living in a functioning, relatively normal suburban neighbourhood that you could never say is boring.

As for the University Heights re-branding, that could be a bit of a challenge. While living there, I had no idea I was technically in an area called York University Heights. Locations with less crime in the area, like York U and Black Creek Village, may as well be in another city. I doubt changing the name will reduce crime but trying to associate the intersection with other safer areas of the the neighbourhood won't hurt.


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