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New life for an old public building – Bloor Dufferin Hub

March 2nd, 2022

New life for an old public building—Bloor-Dufferin Hub

We are pleased to announce that the City of Toronto has qualified a group of local Toronto community service agencies and arts organizations as the prospective tenants for the City-owned Community Hub space in the former Kent School.

The local community advocated for publically-owned space for community programming in this location for more than 10 years, since the Toronto District School Board declared the property surplus. The new development, approved in principle at the Local Appeal Planning Tribunal in early 2020, secured funding for a new subsidized Child Care Centre and a partially finished community space in the rehabilitated former school building at 980 Dufferin St. The building will be owned by the City of Toronto.

Under the City’s Community Space Tenancy policy, the City uses a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) process to qualify not-for-profit agencies to occupy City-owned spaces. City staff issued an REOI for a proposal from community agencies to work with the City to inform the development and best use of the space.

Working together, the successful group proposed a collaborative association of three local contemporary dance companies with four community social service agencies. The group is led by West Neighbourhood House, with the co-applicants of BALANCE for Blind Adults, CORPUS Dance Projects-Kaeja d’Dance-Tiger Princess Dance Projects, The Neighbourhood Group, and the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape. They submitted a joint proposal for combined services to create a community hub.

City staff and the collaborative will be working with the developer to enable a design that supports programs for this community. Elements to be considered in the approximately 20,000 square foot space include a community kitchen and flexible publicly bookable multi-purpose rooms.

As the program develops along with the finishing of the space, authority to enter into leases will be sought from Toronto City Council.

QUOTES:

Our partnership is delighted to qualify as the tenants of the new Bloor Dufferin Community Hub.

This Community Hub is a new home for our community-based organizations, some of whom have been displaced from their local space.     

We are committed to the Community Vision of a community home for people with diverse backgrounds, needs and interests.  It will be a welcoming and inclusive place with an interesting mix of programming and supports for people of all ages and abilities, and a publicly-accessible space to support continued community organizing and convening.

We appreciate and have great respect for the local residents, particularly the Build a Better Bloor Dufferin group, who worked for years to ensure maximum public benefit from these school lands, as well as the hundreds of diverse residents consulted by the Visioning Group for this Community Hub. We are committed to supporting the spirit and vision of this wonderful community.

We also thank the City of Toronto, and in particular Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao, for perseverance and diligence negotiating with the province, school board, and developers.

Maureen Fair, West Neighbourhood House

With the confirmation of the community service agencies which will serve as prospective tenants for this City owned space in our Davenport community, we continue to move forward with the creation of this important and vital space that ensures that community service and cultural groups continue to thrive in our community.  The Request for Expressions of Interest issued by the City for our community hub was based on our Community Vision Plan that was led by our community and local organizations.

Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao

Councillor, Ward 9

Davenport

-30-

Contact:

Michael Giles

Chief of Staff

Office of Councillor Ana Bailao

Ward 9, Davenport

416-338-5274

Michael.giles2@toronto.ca

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