What Makes You Feel At Home? Visitors Respond to 5 Questions in Our Exhibit On Migration, Life and Change in Toronto

October 20, 2022 | Nicole

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Block by Block weaves together stories from 100 newcomer, immigrant, racialized and Indigenous community members from Agincourt, Parkdale, Regent Park and Victoria Park. Led by Toronto Ward Museum, the free exhibition is on display in the TD Gallery at Toronto Reference Library until November 20, 2022. 

There are many powerful, personal stories of displacement, migration, arrival and survival to discover in the exhibition. Interactive elements invite visitors join the conversation and respond to the key questions and themes. 

Here's some of what we've heard from you.

Speech bubble says "Describe something in your current neighbourhood that makes you feel at home." Background is yellow street grid.

1. Describe something in your current neighbourhood that makes you feel at home?

“Picnics in the park. Greeting neighbours. The smell of outdoor cooking fires.”

“The multiculturalism. I grew up in Downsview – home to many Filipinos, Latin Americans, Jewish, Italians, Caribbean and African families.”

“Watching people congregate & socialize in public spaces – TTC stops, Plaza parking lots, in front of the library :) Speaking in their own mother tongues.”

“There is a park directly across the street from my apartment. It’s nice seeing so much greenery in an otherwise grey space.”

“The library I’ve visited since I was young. And the neighbours I meet walking down the street and in the parks.”

“The fact that we live in a court where we share space and time.”

“The greenery and all the nature. In a city that is hard to come by but it really makes the area special.”

“Being able to get Vietnamese food within walking distance.”

“The relationships I’ve built and found. The trails and tracks through mud and field. The hawk perched on the tower supporting the power lines.”

“I’m originally from Woburn in Scarborough. My current apt is in the Annex. I love it when I see gay/queer people chilling in the parks. That feels like home.”

“Breakfast, lunch & dinner in Agincourt.”

“Actually my neighbourhood doesn’t remind me of home. It’s Greektown, which is definitely unlike home. But there are a few Chinese restaurants there. However, I like what the neighbourhood has to offer – a true meeting pot. Fantastic!”

“I love how it’s quiet then suddenly you’ll hear a VERY loud noise [in Parkdale].”

“All the puppies! Also green space.”

“My neighbours, that come bring home cooked food and fruit from their garden.”

“Trees, muddy trails, body of water, smell of wet earth, cherry blossoms in the spring. Loud children bouncing basketballs. Sunshine streaming in through my window.”

“The Bengali and Asian grocery stores make me feel at home.”


Speech bubble sWhich foods, smells or objects remind you home?" Background is pink street grid.

2. Which foods, smells or objects remind you home?

“Fish, Mango, Coconut.”

“Last week was the mid-autumn festival. I shared with my colleagues the Chinese mooncakes & the special dragon eye fruits from the Southern region of China. I feel so fortunate to live in Toronto/Canada where I can easily access the cultural foods that often makes me feel at home & belongs to the community here.”

“Fresh sugar cane juice from Lucky supermarket [in Parkdale] reminds me of Barbados.”

“The smell of fried plantain. Kensington Market.”

“Sautéed cilantro & garlic. The base of most Lebanese meals.”

“Mangoes and kothu roti”

“Fried plantains! Rice and beans! The smell of fresh coffee! Summer sun! A warm sea/ocean! Viva Panama!”

“King Patty’s Beef Patty (Spicy Beef). Growing up in Teesdale, it was the greatest snack. We would all as kids have them eating on the playground pretending to be a family. We were a family. We are a family.”

“Tea, teapots, honey & lemon, latkes, lox & cream cheese.”

“Japanese chow mein”

“As I am from HK [Hong Kong] originally, what reminds me is celebrating the mid autumn festival with moon cakes. I have celebrated it a couple of days ago. The moon is the biggest and brightest then!!”

“Curry, rosemary, cut flowers and crosses.”

“A huge patch of tomatoes reduced to fading greenery at summer’s end.”

“Banana leaves!”

“Subway = Mumbai’s local trains. Untimely rain. Community.”

“Until now, nothing here reminded me of my home. Right now, it is all new to me."


Speech bubble says "What do you associate with your home of origin? Is there a kind of weather, landscape or event that reminds you of home?" Background is blue street grid.

3. What do you associate with your home of origin? Is there a kind of weather, landscape or event that reminds you of home?

“The open sea.”

“Yonge Street reminds me of my home of origin; the way it is a hill-downwards hill. Also some of the older-un-renovated buildings – roofs, windows, arches.”

“Cycling with the neighbourhood kids on a hot summer day.”

“Newfoundland is about fog, rain, ice, and wind. Rocky shores and big waves.”

“Highways, wide streets, short buildings, parking lots, asphalt, concrete.”

“Flemingdon Park – plaza, science center and seeing the CN Tower from home.”

“Southern Ontario heavy summer rain – stops before you know it but it drenches you.”

“Ocean. Island. Hot weather. Jackfruit.”

“Home feels like the sound of the wind in the trees.”

“Green hills, rocky outcrops and rain. St. Patrick’s day and thanksgiving.”

“The best food in the world!! The fresh smell of Pandan. Sudden heavy, tropical rain and the fresh air after.”

“I used to think that 'Home' was a place I could point to on a map. I know now that home is where 'all your attempts to run cease to exist'.”

“The sea, the mountains… the salty sea, air blowing on a windy evening! That scorching sun that we hide from in the olive groves. I miss home.”


Wall of Block by Block exhibition, showing wall with post-it notes of responses from visitors to questions about hopes for the future of the city.

4. What is a place you hope will change? How?

“I hope politeness returns.”

“There is a huge need for more public transit – both in the city and into the city. Too many cars. Congested roadways.”

“More trees so we can breath.”

“More gay/lesbian awareness in our communities.”

“Cheaper housing!”

“Returning stolen land to the Indigenous”

“Green the lakeshore. It can be done!”

“More parks!”

“Affordable housing.”

“Fewer cars. More daring policies – diversity of thought.”

“TTC. Public transit should be free and accessible.”

“Affordable bike share.”

“Toronto to be pedestrian friendly.”

“Cheaper, safer, reliable commuting & dedicated and connected bike lanes, especially outside of downtown!”

“I do believe we are doing an okay job right now. But we can do better. There is always room for improvement.”


5. What is a place you hope will stay the same? Why?

“I love the TTC. During the pandemic, I rode the bus and the subway to feel connected to other people. It was very important to me.”

“Toronto Islands.”

“Dundas and Spadina. Chinatown.”


“West Chinatown (Dunas & Spadina). Protect and preserve our community.”

“Morningside Park.”

“Trout Lake (Vancouver)”

“I hope Parkdale never changes.”

“Warm wind at nighttime.”

“Scarborough – I want it to continue to be a place of community & care instead of gentrification.”

“That the beautiful people in my community can afford to live here and have greenspace.”

“Daniels Spectrum Art & Community.”


“Toronto’s Victorian 1700s architecture is so cool!”


We want to hear from you!

We hope these stories encourage you to reflect upon your own story and relationship to the place you now call home. How are these stories similar or different from your own? To share your perspectives, visit the Block by Block exhibition at TD Gallery at Toronto Reference Library before November 20, 2022 — or let us know in the comments below.

Table with writing supplies in Block by Block exhibition at TD Gallery
Block by Block exhibition in the TD Gallery at Toronto Reference Library.