jane and finch

Ontario keeps promise to donate land for Jane and Finch community hub after all

The Ontario government announced this week that it's following through on its promise to donate land to the City of Toronto for a community hub and centre for the arts in the Jane and Finch community after Metrolinx backtracked on a plan to provide part of the land at Finch Avenue West and York Gate Boulevard last summer.

The province said Thursday that it's transferring 2.174 acres of land adjacent to the future Finch West LRT Maintenance and Storage Facility to the city at no cost, allowing Toronto to continue design-related work and establish partnerships to construct a new 65,000-square-foot centre. 

"As we continue to build much-needed transit along Finch West Avenue, we recognize the importance of recreation, arts, education and community-building to the Jane and Finch community," said Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney in a statement.

"That's why we are providing the land at no cost to the city so area residents can have a vibrant community hub and arts centre that will offer a variety of services and programs."

Metrolinx abruptly pulled out of the agreement to transfer land to the city last summer and said they would instead be selling it to the highest bidder, a decision that was in line with the Ontario government's realty directive due to its high value.

The Jane and Finch community, which is mostly made up of low-income and racialized residents, has been advocating for this much-needed community hub for many years, and both members of the public and local officials were outraged when it looked like the project might not materialize. 

Mayor John Tory and city councillor for the ward Anthony Perruzza spoke out in favour of the community centre at the time, urging the province and Metrolinx to find a way to make it happen, and residents also took to the streets to demand the initial commitment be honoured.

Premier Doug Ford and his team later promised to ensure the centre gets built one way or another, but no further details were provided at that time.

Now, roughly seven months later, it seems the province is making good on that promise.

"We need to acknowledge the tremendous effort and work of the Jane Finch community, a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood, towards securing this land. Today is an important step in this resident-led community initiative to create our Jane Finch Community Hub and Centre for the Arts," said the Jane-Finch Community Hub Organizing Committee on Twitter Thursday.

"We look forward to continuing our stewardship of this process with the Province, City of Toronto and Metrolinx, and securing the necessary sustainable funding to build and operate the hub that our community has envisioned over many years."

Lead photo by

Anothony Perruzza

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