Greater Toronto Chinese Downtown
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Greater Toronto Chinese Downtown (GTCD) is the largest Chinese Canadian community in the Greater Toronto Area and one of the world’s most unique Chinese diasporic cities outside of Asia. Created by the sudden influx of Hong Kong and Chinese immigrants since the early 1980s, Toronto’s suburbs have become the center of the Chinese Canadian community, hence our downtown, outside of downtown Toronto. What appears to be a random and incohesive social space has turned my attention to the ways this cultural network has formed in a suburban context. In this thesis, I begin with a theoretical description of architectural innovation and the typological development of Chinese malls. With archival research, on-site observation, mapping, and family stories, this thesis produces a catalogue of cultural production and hybridization based on ten architectural mall typologies, which have never been studied before. However, the catalogue is not enough to fully understand the difficult development and transformation of the Greater Toronto Chinese Downtown. Seven Urban Figures are studied through a series of historical narratives, illustrated through mapping and archival material, to uncover the struggles and celebrations of the Chinese Canadian community. This work expands the theory and methodology of urban morphology. Previous academic research has dismissed Toronto’s suburbs as a static context for individual building achievements. Ultimately, this thesis is dedicated to recognizing the informal GTCD and its malls as a significant cultural space, over the last forty years. It asks, what urban strategies and architectural innovations were used in the suburban context to make the Chinese Canadian community unique?
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Pui Yue Iris Ip (2023). Greater Toronto Chinese Downtown. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19060