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Arts

Inside the new Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park

Posted by Robyn Urback / September 26, 2012

daniels spectrum torontoDaniels Spectrum seems to have found that sweet spot between revitalization and community roots. Formerly dubbed the Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre, the new 60,000-square foot community centre manages to feel in sync with the neighbouring community, uniting sophisticated hanging lamps and shiny new finishes with community-sourced art and unpretentious programs.

daniels spectrum torontoAnd while the centre will soon also host its own (rather refined) catering spot and restaurant with Paintbox Bistro, local favourite J Pizza Plus will operate a canteen by the front entrance as well. Of course, that's just the food. The real draw of the new Daniels Spectrum is the home it affords to several local programs.

daniels spectrum toronto
COBA Collective of Black Artists

Drumming, music, dance — COBA is all about teaching and celebrating the Africanist aesthetic. Started back in 1993, COBA will continue to offer classes for kids and adults out of its new digs at Daniels Spectrum. Programs are open to everyone, and include classes on drumming and vocal chanting, ballet, hip hop, traditional West African dance, Caribbean indigenous folk dance, and more.

daniels spectrum torontoNative Earth Performing Arts

Canada's oldest Native theatre company (it's now in its 30th year), Native Earth Performing Arts is one of those totally multifaceted not-for-profits that not only puts on productions about the Aboriginal experience in Canada, but also helps emerging artists find their footing in Aboriginal Theatre. Its first performance since its move to Daniel Spectrum will be this weekend as part of Nuit Blanche.

daniels spectrum torontoRegent Park School of Music

Formerly on Queen, the Regent Park School of Music has moved up to Daniels, offering subsidized music lessons for in-area youth-in-need and beyond. With more than 600 students enrolled and counting, the school offers both theory and practical classes with programs for kids as young as three, as well as a choir that's open to everyone to join. Instruments can be borrowed from the school if needed, and piano students can receive a donated piano in their home after one year of study.

daniels spectrum torontoRegent Park Film Festival

While the festival will be held this from November 7-10, Regent Park Film Festival programming will be hosted at the Daniels Spectrum all year round. The Festival and screenings throughout the year will include both local and international independent films, with a focus on issues that are relevant to the Regent Park community. The Festival also offers school and community filmmaking and media workshops.

daniels spectrum torontoArtHeart Community Art Centre

While it calls itself "Art" Heart, this program is now equipped in its new space to offer a little bit of everything. There's a kitchen for cooking, computers for Photoshop and website design, and, of course, an expansive workshop space to melt crayons and experiment with acrylic paints. There are (free) open classes for both kids and adults scheduled twice a week, with the long-term goal of programming every day of the week.

daniels spectrum torontoPathways to Education

Pathways to Education is all about helping kids get through and succeed in school. Now with its swanky new Google lounge workspace, the program offers tutoring in five core subjects, as well as financial aid, group mentoring, and career planning. Each student is assigned a Student Parent Support Worker, with the goal of helping kids get to graduation and beyond.

daniels spectrum torontoCentre for Social Innovation

New to Regent Park but no stranger to Toronto, this Centre for Social Innovation occupies 10,000 square feet on the third floor of the Daniels Spectrum. Much like CSI Annex and CSI Spadina, CSI Regent Park offers community workspaces, meeting rooms, shared amenities, and business incubation. Bichon Frise Chloe might also be seen scampering about the floor at this location.

daniels spectrum torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

8 Comments

brilliant / September 26, 2012 at 09:38 am
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Fantastic job. Great project.
iSkyscraper / September 26, 2012 at 09:58 am
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Really wonderful. People whine all the time about it, but history will show that the condo boom was the best thing to happen to Toronto since the original subway line. This terrific community centre is a direct result of that boom.
dare / September 26, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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Kudos to everyone involved - a brave, thoughtful and exciting rejuvenation of Regent Park!
RealityCheck / September 26, 2012 at 01:41 pm
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Really wonderfull... but why was there no public tender on this project or on any of the phases of the RegentPark redo with the exception of the first phase. No matter how much one may like the result, sole sourcing on such a huge construction project is not the right way to do business that produces value for residents of this city.
BM / September 26, 2012 at 06:04 pm
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Given its location, this place will look like total ****hole in a few years. What a complete waste of money.
yerajerk replying to a comment from BM / September 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm
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And you sir, may I call you douche, should go back to your hole and yell at yourself.
BM replying to a comment from yerajerk / September 27, 2012 at 07:58 am
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Ha ha. Such an incredible vocabulary. I rest my case.
Alex replying to a comment from RealityCheck / December 15, 2012 at 12:10 am
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I think it makes sense to choose a single developer for the revitalization. It's a massive undertaking with a master and clear vision in mind. Dividing the project up between various builders would likely cause a loss off the vision. Daniels has seemed to do a great job in proving themselves as effective carrying through the project.

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