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Regent Park Community Improvement Association

The Regent Park Community Improvement Association (RPCIA) was founded in 1969 at a meeting organized by a previous organization, BLAST, which consisted of Regent Park South Residents. BLAST had been formed to improve recreational facilities in the neighbourhood after a 9 year boy was killed by a train on his way home from a distant swimming pool. The initial purpose of the RPCIA, they proposed, would be to improve the quality of life for residents in the community, especially for children and seniors. Soon thereafter the RPCIA founded a local newsletter called the Regent Bell which was later renamed the Regent Park Community News in 1972. They also received a federal grant to hire permanent staff members and improve their organizational capacity.

In the early days the RPCIA worked hard to pressure their landlord, the Ontario Housing Corporation, to spend money on maintaining their homes. The OHC, however, were slow to respond so local residents marched over to their office and symbolically dumped a bag of garbage on their front desk. Their action got strong media attention and forced the OHC to speed up their repairs. The RPCIA also organized to contest the way that the OHC scaled their rents to income, and succeeded in convincing their provincial landlord to alter their formula.

In 1973 after their initial federal grant ran out the RCPIA organized an agreement with their OHC landlords to allow tenant management of Regent Park in certain areas. The OHC began paying the RCPIA executive as well as representatives of different units to manage things like recreation, maintenance, laundry and security. At first this scheme seemed to have worked well but participation declined and infighting increased with the expansion of paid representatives.

In 1978 the Ontario Housing Corporation disbanded the RCPIA after the organization went on strike to demand an increase in representative salaries. RCPIA members began picketing laundry rooms and other amenities when the OHC tried to hire replacements. The RCPIA eventually voted to end their strike but the OHC still cut their funding soon thereafter.

Sean Purdy, "By the People, for the People: Tenant Organizing in Toronto's Regent Park Housing Project in the 1960s and 1970s," Journal of Urban History, Vol 30 (2004)

Regent Park Community News