Throughout most of the 20th century, Queen Street West was a neighbourhood of Toronto that was known mostly for its various ethnic-based communities. Irish, Jewish and Chinese immigrants were some of the past immigrant groups to settle in and around Queen Street West as well as Polish, Ukrainian and Portuguese communities.
In the 80s and 90s however, many of these past immigrant communities were pushed out of the Queen Street West neighbourhood as the area experienced a period of much gentrification. Many young artists, shops, galleries, restaurants and bars moved into the Queen Street West area. The gentrification of Queen Street West started just west of Nathan Philips Square and over time, it slowly expanded westward and it is now extends almost all the way to Dufferin Avenue.
In 2008, the Queen Street West Business Improvement Area (BIA) was established in the section of Queen Street West that runs from Simcoe Street to Bathurst Street. Queen Street West is now one of Toronto’s hippest arts and culture centers.