What is a Community Land Trust?

The Community Land Trust (CLT) model focuses on the acquisition of donated or purchased land within a defined geographical area of a city to serve the needs of community residents, with an emphasis on social justice.

CLTs are non-profit organizations that work with and on behalf of community residents to identify uses for the land based upon participatory planning exercises and collaborative decision-making.

Most often, the use of land is geared towards affordable housing provision as a commonly identified community need. Buildings on CLT land can be owned or rented by individuals and families.

A central aspect of the role of CLT organizations in countering gentrification is the emphasis on the de-commodification of land through its removal from the speculative property market.
The contemporary origins of the CLT lie in community organizing by Black tenant farmers in the southern United States as part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

In Canada, several CLTs, such as Colandco in Toronto and Communauté Milton Parc in Montreal, have been in existence since the 1980s.

While land acquisition for affordable housing and other community uses remains a core part of CLT work, more recent CLTs in Canadian cities, such as the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, Hogan’s Alley Society in Vancouver, and the Kensington Market Community Land Trust, reach beyond this to raise public awareness about the impacts of gentrification, affordable housing constraints, displacement and eviction.

Click here for the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts.

Neighbourhood Change Indicators

The 2016 city of Toronto Neighbourhood Profile for Kensington-Chinatown shows that renter households make up the majority, and there is a higher-than-average percentage of renters in the neighbourhood compared to Toronto as a whole.

In 2016, the median household income in Kensington Market-Chinatown was significantly lower than the Toronto median.

This information provides a snapshot of the prevalence of renters and low-income households in the neighbourhood.

While there is certainly variation, there is no doubt that pressures on housing security and tenure are keenly felt within our community. Kensington Market is represented by Census Tract #38, according to Statistics Canada.

KMCLT understands the boundaries of Kensington Market to be delineated by College Street to the north, Spadina Avenue to the east, Dundas Street to the south, and Bathurst Street to the west.

Average Gross Rent

There was approximately an 80% percent increase in average rent from 1996-2016
Statistics Canada data sourced from The Canadian Socio-Economic Information Management System (CANSIM).
  •  1996 Average Gross Rent: $598
  • 2006 Average Gross Rent: $840
  • 2016 Average Gross Rent: $1078

Housing Type

Total*OwnedRented% of Rented

Total*OwnedRented% of Rented

Total*OwnedRented% of Rented

* Total number of occupied private dwellings

Statistics Canada data sourced from The Canadian Socio-Economic Information Management System (CANSIM).

Land AcknowledgementWe, as members of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust, are aware that we are a settler organization. Kensington Market sits in the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit (an Anishnaabe people), the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat and Petun Nations, land which is now home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum belt covenant, an agreement by the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee to share resources equally and peaceably. It is also covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. As a settler organization concerned with land ownership, we acknowledge that we have broken the treaties. Our work for the well-being of this land must include accountability to our relatives.
Our Contact

Mailing Address:
103 Bellevue Avenue,
Toronto, ON, Canada