Category: Community Centre

Wabash Community Centre: how we got here

Watch Stephen Dorsey, a volunteer member of the board for Friends of Sorauren Park, give the quick history of how community advocacy turned an industrial site into Sorauren Park and soon, the Wabash Community Centre. For a longer history, visit our History page, or watch the 25th Anniversary documentary video.

This is the latest in a series of short video updates on the progress of the community centre.

Also visit the City of Toronto’s Wabash Community Centre project page, and follow @SoraurenPark on social media or subscribe to our popular newsletter.

Wabash Community Centre update: next steps

Stephen Dorsey, a volunteer member of the board for Friends of Sorauren Park, provides the latest update on Wabash Community Centre progress in our video series.

Watch and listen as Stephen outlines the next steps in the process, including hearing back from the City of Toronto on the results of the recent consultation around the building massing options on the site of the old linseed oil mill and surrounding land in Sorauren Park.

Also visit the City of Toronto’s Wabash Community Centre project page, and follow @SoraurenPark on social media or subscribe to our popular newsletter.

Community centre updates: new video series

There’s one question that every volunteer director of the Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP) gets from friends, family and neighbours: What’s happening with the Wabash Community Centre?

To answer that question and help the community stay current with updates, FOSP is launching a new series of short videos hosted by FOSP board member Stephen Dorsey. The first video describes the purpose of the drilling and testing work that recently took place in Sorauren Park.

The Wabash Community Centre, to occupy the site of the old linseed factory in the park, is currently in the design phase with the City of Toronto’s contracted design consultants, Diamond Schmitt Architects. Following public consultations undertaken by FOSP and three rounds of consultations undertaken by the City, the architects are expected to report back on a preferred site design this fall. Construction is expected to start in 2023 following completion of final design.

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FOSP endorses Wabash design option 5 “Angler”

aerial diagram, looking north over the park, showing the "Angler" option nestled against the rail corridor, with additions behind and partially on top of the existing Canada Linseed oil mill building.
Screen shot showing option 5, the Angler, from City survey of design options. Visit toronto.ca/WabashCRC to take the survey and have your say.

The City has unveiled for public comment five site design options for the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park. From May 5 to May 31, you can complete the City’s survey seeking feedback on the five options. The City will also be holding a virtual public meeting May 11 at 6:30 pm via Zoom to review the design options. Take the survey or register online for the public meeting at the City’s Wabash Community Centre project page.

Because the programming plan, including a pool, requires more space than what is available at the site of the old Canada Linseed Mill property at 40 Wabash Avenue, all five design options have an impact on the park.

The board of directors of the non-profit Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP) has voted to support option 5, called “the Angler” by the City’s design consultants, Diamond Schmitt Architects. While none of the options is perfect, No. 5 the Angler has many advantages in the opinion of FOSP, including:

  • least impact on the park, tucking the community centre along the back
  • preserves the Town Square and Fieldhouse, in which the City and community have invested more than $1 million and which are key elements of the park
  • the only design that preserves the full grassy slope facing the Town Square and creates an integrated hardscape/softscape community event space, enhancing the way the park is used for outdoor movies and performances (remember the Tragically Hip concert simulcast and Raptors playoff games?!)
  • preserves the popular (and growing) tree grove including the serviceberries near Wabash Avenue, and many other trees cared for by Adopt-a-Tree volunteers in 2014 and 2015
  • speaks to the reality of the rail corridor that cuts the park on an angle, and to the angled Robert Watson condo building north of the park, part of the neighbourhood vernacular
  • the fourth building block tucks neatly into the landscape of the park along the railway creating a “wedge” that becomes a clear focal point on the park side, and an entrance space on the rail corridor side, with the potential for a “great lobby” that invites community interaction
  • accommodates all the City-mandated community centre program plans
  • creates interesting roof space options
  • maintains the circular flow of the park and provides easy access to a planned future footbridge crossing the tracks and connecting the park to the West Toronto Railpath
  • retains and integrates the industrial heritage features of the linseed building
  • aligns with the preferred design principles already outlined by Friends of Sorauren Park and confirmed through FOSP-led community consultations and survey (1,200 responses)

“We’ve looked closely at the options, and while there are always site compromises in a constrained space, in the end there was little debate among the directors,” says Joël Campbell, chair of Friends of Sorauren Park. “Design option 5, the Angler, was the clear winner for us. We look forward to continuing the collaboration with the City and the design consultants as work progresses through the design process.”

That process is continuing through multiple stages, including the current survey and May 11 virtual public meeting. See more details on the City’s Wabash Community Centre project page; excerpt below. We encourage you to get involved.

Virtual Public Meeting

  • May 11, 2021
  • 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Attend the virtual public meeting to learn about the site design options and share your feedback.

Two ways to join:

  1. Online
  2. By calling 647-558-0588 and using meeting ID: 816 1425 3169. A participant ID is not required

Online Survey

May 5 to May 31, 2021

Complete the online survey to learn about the site design options and share your feedback.

A survey link will be posted on May 5, 2021.

You can also request a hard copy of the survey in the mail by calling 416-642-6605 or e-mailing klamparero@swerhun.com.

Public meeting May 11 for new community centre

Photo of old brick linseed factory, bright sunlight on the west wall
The old linseed mill at 40 Wabash Avenue, the site of the future community centre

Mark your calendar: The City of Toronto will be holding a virtual public meeting May 11 at 6:30 pm to review site design options for the new Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park. Register online at the City’s Wabash Community Centre project page.

The City and its architects, Diamond Schmitt, will unveil proposed plans for how the new centre will fit into the site. Because the programming plan requires more space than what is available at the site of the old Canada Linseed Mill property at 40 Wabash Avenue, there will be an impact on the park.

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