2020 has been a rather odd year. While it has been a year of toilet rolls, zoom calls, and YouTube fitness videos, it has also been a time of learning, retrospection, and creativity. The Corner has stood by the St. James Town community through it all. New challenges have provided our community with new opportunities to work together and find innovative solutions. Despite physical distancing measures, this year has brought people closer through love, compassion, and care.
The Corner@240 provides a prime example of how we have adapted to changes to benefit the community. While the prices of masks flew, The Corner@240 made and distributed 1,000 masks to the community. While people avoided taking public transport in favour of cycling, 650 bikes were repaired for free. And while we have transitioned to e-learning and working from home, reliable software has been critical. As such The Corner@240 fixed 150 laptops and desktops. In total, 2,487 hours have been volunteered this year, an incredible feat for such a new space. One resident described the initiative: “It’s like magic!”. They aren’t wrong. Although some programs had to be halted, The Corner@240 continued to strive forward, training residents in fixing, sewing, mending and balcony gardening.
Concurrent to all these external changes and adaptations, The Corner has undergone some major changes of its own. Building on insights from anthropological research conducted with staff, volunteers and residents at The Corner@200 and The Corner@240, The Corner 2.0 has been launched. The Corner 2.0 takes a fresh look at how things are done at The Corner. Reflecting the diverse community of St. James Town, the reports found that The Corner and its grassroots model is unique when compared to many other community hubs in Toronto.
In addition to our strong points, the reports clarified key areas of improvement. In particular, it found that while The Corner has strong foundations for community participation, more can be done to increase community involvement. Residents are vital for the success of The Corner 2.0. These two research reports can be found on our website alongside a survey. Please help us to improve by giving your feedback and suggestions on the reports and The Corner 2.0. We are excited to see what The Corner 2.0 has in store for 2021!