It has been a tough road ahead for more than 1500 residents of 650 Parliament Street after their high rise caught fire on the 21st of August 2018. The residents have been placed at various locations on a temporary basis with help of The City and The Red Cross while the reconstruction is in progress. Several organizations and individuals have come forward to support the residents.
As a part of the residents’ support, The Corner has been offering several services to the displaced residents. The Health Access team conducted an outreach at Wellesley Community Centre on the 22nd and 23rd of August following which Sherbourne Health Centre provided a walk-in clinic at the Corner on the 23rd of August. A total of 35 residents availed the services provided on both the days.
The Corner’s ‘Back to School Clothing Drive’ initiative was extremely helpful and provided me and my kids with much needed moral support.” – Ms. Fathima (Name changed)
Community Matters, a charity working towards a sustainable practices in St. James Town alongside The Corner also organized a ‘Back to School’ Clothing drive for Kids of 650 Parliament. Donations in the form of new clothes, shoes, bags, school supplies and gift cards came in. With more than 35 volunteers from the community, Trinity Church and The City staff, a three-day collection drive was conducted from the 29th – 31st of August. The collected items were distributed to about 125 families serving 221 children/youth on the 1st and 2nd of September. Apart from clothing and other essentials the effort also mobilized gift cards worth $18,275 which were distributed among 299 units of 650 Parliament.
The relief efforts for residents of 650 Parliament continues and The Corner along with The City and several other organizations are working towards the cause. For the latest updates click here.
Table Talk With Candidates
The Toronto Municipal Elections were held on the 22nd of October 2018 and as a run-up to the elections candidates were busy campaigning in many communities including St. James Town. Despite such elaborate campaigning, it is quite ironical that most voters do not really get the opportunity to know and assess their candidates before the elections. In an effort to address the issue, St. James Town Service Providers Network (SJTSPN) alongside The Corner organised a ‘Table Talk with Candidates’ running for City Councillor of Ward-13 on the 19th of October. Fifteen candidates running for City Councillor were present in the event where voters could directly interact with them.
The event was organised exclusively for Ward-13 and an estimated 50 residents took part in the discussions. The event was designed in a way where each and every candidate contesting would be able to interact with each and every resident taking part in the discussion. This allowed for various issues and concerns being voiced by the residents that need to be addressed and in turn, the candidates shared their views and understanding of the same. Some of the major issues discussed included Poverty, Housing, Employment, Community Safety and Access to Health among others.
The event which is the first of its kind to be organised in St James town was organised in a semi-formal manner allowing a much more collaborative, inclusive and responsive interaction. Participants were also provided with refreshments during the event and their feedback collected. Plans are on to make this type of event a regular one in St. James Town, thus promoting civic engagement and inclusiveness in public policy making.
Open Streets To A Unique Way To Explore Your City
Open Streets TO is an advocacy project and collaboration between two organizations, 8 80 Cities and Streets Plans. The event opens up the streets to people by closing motorways to encourage participation in physical activity and healthy recreation. This allows the residents of the city to experience their streets like never before. As a part of the event on the 19th of August and the 16th of September 2018, residents of St. James Town took an active part in Open Streets TO.
This year’s event was organised along the Bloor Street between Grace/Christie to Sherbourne Street and Yonge Street between Bloor to Queen Street. The Corner played the lead role for Sherbourne and Bloor St hub with support of St. James Town Service Provider’s Network (SJTSPN). Open Streets with its unique design has the potential to provide stimulus to local businesses, offer a setting for greater civic participation and integration. Exploiting these opportunities, and with the aim of providing greater exposure to the residents, the team from The Corner offered face painting, interactive games, and an instant photo booth to the public, all free of cost. The team also invited a Senior Chinese Residents’ dance group to perform and a resource and information sharing kiosk for the public highlighting the services available at The Corner. The Corner team comprised of eleven volunteers, seven staff including members from SJTSPN members and seven performers.
There are no finish lines, parades, or sidewalk sales in Open Streets and this is something that sets it apart from other events like marathons or street festivals. The residents of St James Town have been active participants in Open Streets since its inception in 2011.
Repair Café To Mend And Restore
Repair Café Toronto is a grassroots, volunteer group that organizes events where neighbours help neighbours learn how to repair things. Repair Café events are hosted by local community centres, branches of the Toronto Public Library and other community-based organizations. The first Repair Café started in Amsterdam in 2009 and the initiative has now spread globally and there are more than 1,400 repair cafés worldwide.
On the 18th of August 2018, The Corner partnering with Repair Café and the Central Neighbourhood House conducted a Mini Repair Café event for the residents of St. James Town. The event was held at Wellesley Community Centre and it attracted a steady crowd, 37 of whom were served by eleven volunteers who possess different skills in repairing. Items ranging from household appliances to bikes and computers were repaired during the event.
The Corner is in talks with Repair Café Toronto to organise the event more frequently or on a yearly basis in St. James Town. The event has been identified as one with huge potential in a community like St. James Town.
In The News
Residents of a St. James Town highrise who were displaced by a fire in the summer have been allowed to return to their homes to retrieve belongings for winter. Officials have said it will take months to complete repairs at the building and many of the residents did not take winter clothes with them when they left. Read More…
In Toronto, condo prices are rising faster than house prices
Condo prices in Toronto are rising at a higher rate than the price of houses, a new study found. In Regent Park and St. James Town, houseprices leapt by 58 per cent, with the average home going for $1,891,000, while condo prices rose by 14 per cent. Read More…