I hope you’re all having a fabulous spring. Summer is around the corner and we thought it a good time for a brief update on what’s buzzing with the Junction Commons Project (JCP).
Talks with the City still encouraging
We continue to be in direct contact with the City, including two key connections for the JCP: the Social Development, Finance and Administration department (great supporters of exploring community hub models, and our liaison for keeping the building from being sold); and our long-time cheerleader and community supporter, our own councillor, Sarah Doucette.
Everyone we talk to in the City is still keen to see an accessible, welcoming community space at 209 Mavety – services and programs based on what the neighbourhood has said it wants (health, food, arts, community connections). So, despite the fact that things are moving slowly we remain confident they are moving towards something wonderful for the Junction. This was reinforced yet again at a meeting on May 20 that included City staff, the JCP and people from Sarah’s office.
Potential partners for the hub
Also present at the meeting on May 20 were administrative representatives from community health services: together with them and the City, we are looking at how healthcare programs could be an anchor of our community hub. Funding and management responsibilities are two key things to hammer out as part of this discussion before any official agreements or partnerships are possible.
JCP monthly meeting hiatus – for now
Thank you to those who made it out to the JCP May general meeting. It was a small but enthusiastic bunch.
We are putting our monthly JCP general meetings on hold for a few months – a bit of a summer break, but also in anticipation of a more active, energized period once things move ahead with the City and potential partners. So stay tuned for the date of the next meeting.
In the coming months, the JCP will continue talks with the City and potential partners for 209 Mavety. We will share any updates with you via email or our website. Though the City need to have some committee discussions on its own, JCP representatives are making sure our neighbourhood’s voice is being heard and we are part of the process to shape our community.
The current board of directors will also start work soon on plans for our first annual general meeting (AGM), to be held before the end of October as per the rules set out by the province when we were officially incorporated as a not-for-profit in April 2014.
Stay with us
We’re still here; we’re still devoted to making a community hub in the Junction a reality.
And we still need your support. Even though things are a bit quiet right now, we can all keep this Junction dream alive, including you. We hope to put together more fun and creative public events later this year and we’d love your help organizing and celebrating when the time comes. We also hope to see all of you at our first AGM this fall.
In the meantime, keep talking about the JCP, keep sharing the hopes of the neighbourhood that together we will build something wonderful for our Junction.
It’s been a busy year of learning, spreading the word and laying the groundwork for the Junction Commons. Volunteers working on the Junction Commons Project (JCP) have tabled at a number of events, attended a conference, thrown a street party, negotiated, studied, debated, planned and filled out a pile of paperwork as part of our efforts to establish a new community space in the vacant police station on Mavety Street and build community in the Junction.
Spring: Assessing Local Needs and Determining the 5 Pillars of the JCP
Looking over the results of our charrettes, we determined that people in the Junction need and are asking for space for Art, Health, Food, Community Building and Local Exchange (The 5 Pillars of the JCP), and we’ve been working all year to help meet those needs. Our main focus has been to ensure that 209 Mavety Street becomes a valuable and exciting part of the Junction landscape. We’ve had an ongoing email dialogue and a series of in-person meetings with city officials about the future of the site and we’ve also reached out to a number of potential anchor tenants to better understand how their plans might correlate with the community’s vision for the space. It hasn’t always been easy, but we feel that we’ve been making steady progress in the right direction.
Key Take-Aways from our Meetings with the City of Toronto:
public ownership of the building is preferred by both the city and the community
a designated anchor such as a service provider would provide a good foundation and minimize the risk of failure
a Building Condition Assessment by the city’s Facilities Management should be ready shortly
the proposal to create a hub in the Junction will hopefully go to council as soon as possible in 2015 (February)
Representatives of our different committees have attended monthly meetings to review our progress and discuss future plans. We’ve also put a lot of effort into defining and shaping the JCP as an organization. Earlier this year, we applied for and obtained official non-profit status from the Ontario government and selected an interim board from among our volunteer committee heads. We plan to elect a full board at our first Annual General Meeting next spring and we’re also going to need more volunteers to work on new projects.
Autumn: Meeting New People and Connecting with New Organizations
Over the course of the year, we’ve also been sharing our vision and learning about other great community initiatives. We manned a table at the perpetually delicious Junction Farmer’s Market where we met lots of people who were excited by the idea of a new kind of community space at 209 Mavety Street. The Junction Farmer’s Market is exactly the type of popular and well-loved local initiative that needs access to a friendly and bustling community space. We also tabled at Toronto’s Annual YIMBY festival, an inspiring mini-conference for non-profits and community groups. There were so many great organizations in attendance including community hubs like East Scarborough Storefront and Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre (PARC) and a few organizations that we would love to see pop-up in the Junction in the near future such as the Toronto Tool Library, The Kitchen Library and Repair Café. In November, a member of our Governance Committee attended the Community Knowledge Exchange, a summit about measuring and utilizing community-level knowledge. We also recently visited the Rexdale Community Hub for a tour of their space. It was a great opportunity to pick their brains about what services they provide, how they organize themselves and how they stay in touch with the people in their neighbourhood.
The all-night food, drink, art and music event (Blackout!) we hosted on October 4 during Nuit Blanche was definitely the most fun we had all year!
2015: More Hands-on Projects and Hopefully a New Home
As the year came to a close, we’ve becoming a little introspective ourselves and we’ve been talking about how we can do more to keep in touch with the community-at-large and continue our work both inside and hopefully outside the 209 Mavety Street location. One idea we’re working on is pursuing a collective impact model of change-making. We’d love to help connect all the great organizations and initiatives in the Junction to the resources they need to address local issues. A lot of the work we’ve done this year had been behind-the-scenes – and we apologize for that – but the seeds we’ve been planting will start blooming early in the new year, so keep an eye out for more parties, talks and public gatherings, more regular updates and more opportunities to share what is important about the Junction and work together to make it an even better place to live.
The work of all past and present members and friends of the Junction Commons Project, the work of the many consultants who prepared feasibility studies, town hall meetings, and community charrettes was absolutely indispensable – we thank you ALL and we thank our community for their unwavering support.
Kate Sita is a fifth year student completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking at OCAD University. Her current work is inspired by bioluminescent qualities of the ocean, outer space, and natural glowing phenomenon. She creates detailed drawn and painted figures, reflecting this phenomenon in nature to bring life and light from material subject.
For Blackout you will find a mysterious crystalline structure glowing in a dark space, producing a beautiful spectacle from the outside. The source of light is revealed to the viewer who looks inside the structure.
Known as Concrete Katie, Kathryn Tarver creates drawings on public property across the city. Working primarily in chalk, her works range from classic depictions of art historical figures to popular culture imagery. Her recent productions have focused on forced perspective and three dimensional drawings.
For this event, Katie is creating a large-scale drawing and invites all visitors to take photos with her work.
Maya and Agnieszka Foltyn are a mother-daughter team creating a site-specific installation specially for Blackout. While they have independent and distinct art practices, they joined forces for this occasion to make The Moon Gate. Visitors will be treated to a grand entrance through the Moon Gate into the temporarily transformed world of Blackout on Mavety Street.
The Junction Commons will be tabling at the Junction Farmers Market tomorrow from 9am to 1pm! Come join us!
Blackout, the multimedia art and community event is coming up next week.The Junction Commons team has been hard at work preparing for it. We recently finished making lanterns to illuminate Mavety Street on the night of October 4th.
The Junction Commons is celebrating its 2nd anniversary this fall and wants to commemorate the event by hosting a large-scale interdisciplinary art and community event with the purpose of bringing people together.
There will be a temporary public leisure area created by the community for the community. The goal is to create an inclusive and accessible space where the community can gather in a comfortable environment and have meaningful and exciting moments of exchange. Transformed by a creative landscape designed for seating and exchange, viewers will be invited to partake in performances by community organizations and city-wide performers!
The event is free!
Mavety Street, just South of Dundas Street West
4pm to 12am