Parkdale is a neighbourhood in Toronto. Parkdale is a neighbourhood in the midst of decline. It started life as a small village beyond the western edge of Toronto. The railway along the lake brought upper middle class families and large houses and, by the end of the nineteenth century, it had become a Victorian suburb and was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1889. In the early 20th century Parkdale continued to grow as an upper-middle class suburb and the area along the lake became a popular beach with a large amusement park. In the 1950s the Gardiner Expressway was built along the lake, causing the demolition of the amusement park, separating the neighbourhood from the beach and forever changing Parkdale from an area of mansion and large houses into an area of cheaply built apartment buildings, boarding houses and urban blight. The issues affecting the neighbourhood were worsened when, in the 1980s, the provincial government decided to release most of the patients from the nearby Queen Street and Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospitals as a cost cutting measure; most of these patients made their homes in Parkdale due to the proximity and the cheap housing. Parkdale Village is the area along Queen Street from Dufferin to Roncesvalles and is home to a number of inexpensive diners and restaurants as well as several soup kitchens and a salvation army outlet. Despite this, gentrification is inching its way into this long overlooked neighbourhood. With rising rents in the Queen West area, many young hipsters are renovating dilapidated houses and apartments in the eastern section of Parkdale, around Queen and with them are coming many new restaurants and shops. Unlike the section to the south of Queen, the area north of Queen remains home to many large, turn-of-the-century houses that retain their upper-middle class status. The houses get bigger and more attractive the further north and west you go.