City Council votes YES to Wabash Community Centre

Birds-eye view drawing of the old brick linseed oil mill building, re-imagined as the Wabash Community Centre

2009 concept plan for Wabash Community Centre by Oleson Worland_Taylor Smyth architects, in joint venture. The plan would use the footprint and exterior of the old linseed oil mill

Toronto City Council has voted to start work this year on the Wabash Community Centre at Sorauren Park.

Work will begin with a modest $50,000 budgeted for pre-engineering. That will be followed by design in 2018 and 2019, with shovels in the ground planned for 2020, towards a 2022 or 2023 opening. Total project budget is $32.4 million.

“After 17 years on the books and many years of community advocacy before that, this is wonderful news,” said Joël Campbell, chair of the all-volunteer Friends of Sorauren Park. “This is a milestone.”

The Friends of Sorauren Park recently concluded its “Unlock the Community Centre” awareness campaign, the latest in a long series of actions to advocate for the centre.

The project is included in Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s capital budget and plan, which City Council approved Wednesday, February 15, 2017, as part of the overall City budget.

The most recent plans for the community centre, prepared as part of a 2009 feasibility study, would convert the abandoned Canada Linseed Oil Mills building next to the park into a 40,000 sq. ft. community hub with a gym (shown above), multipurpose rooms, studios and fitness rooms, youth space, kitchen and third-floor event space with a rooftop terrace.

Follow us on social media @SoraurenPark, our website and this newsletter for updates and news on design consultations.

Friends of Sorauren Park would like to thank Councillor Gord Perks, along with previous Ward 14 councillors Sylvia Watson and Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, who all moved the project along at various stages at City Council.

Most of all, thanks to the community, which has advocated ceaselessly for the community centre since the early 1990s. Never stop believing.

Illustration showing a gym and hallways with light streaming from the top

Artist’s rendering of gym and first floor of community centre

Unlock the Community Centre campaign announcement

Joël Campbell, volunteer Chair of Friends of Sorauren Park, with the keychains outside the future community centre

Joël Campbell, volunteer Chair of Friends of Sorauren Park, with the keychains outside the future community centre

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friends of Sorauren Park Rally Community Support to “Unlock” the proposed Wabash Community Centre

TORONTO, ON – February 13, 2017 – The Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP), the non-profit organization dedicated to the completion and enjoyment of Sorauren Park, announced today the successful end of its Unlock the Community Centre campaign, launched in 2016, to rally community support around the City’s pledge to invest $34-million in building the Wabash Community Centre.

More than 2,000 residents and students from neighbourhood schools purchased keychains, decorated them and hung them on the fence next to the long-abandoned flaxseed factory – the proposed site for the new Wabash Community Centre. Local businesses including Scooter Girl toy store and Sunny Joes coffee shop supported the effort by making keychains available for purchase in-store.

“The Unlock the Community Centre keychain awareness campaign was inspired by the ‘Love Locks’ on the Pont des Art in Paris,” noted Joël Campbell, the Chair the FOSP Board. “We wanted to show a visual representation of community support and raise awareness. With thousands of keychains now on the fence, we are delighted with the results,” added Campbell.

The local community has been advocating and campaigning for the community centre since the early 1990s, and it has been a project on the City’s books for at least 17 years. During that time, FOSP has raised or leveraged approximately $750,000 for park development including the Fieldhouse and the park’s Town Square. The Wabash Community Centre is currently included in the City of Toronto’s proposed capital budget scheduled to be voted on by council at its upcoming Feb. 15-16 meeting.

“We are encouraged that we are in the proposed budget and that the development process is scheduled to begin later this year. With completion scheduled for 2022, one year earlier than expected, residents are very excited that the Wabash Community Centre is closer to reality,” said Campbell.

About Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP)
The FOSP, formerly known as the Wabash Building Society, is an all-volunteer community non-profit dedicated to the completion and enjoyment of Sorauren Park. In partnership with Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation and many supporting organizations, the FOSP has been a key advocacy group successfully lobbying the government to fund the establishment of Sorauren Park, the building of the Fieldhouse and the Town Square. Through its continued community engagement, fundraising and awareness efforts, the FOSP was instrumental in convincing the City of Toronto to allocate $34-million from its capital budget for the construction of a new community centre slated to begin the design phase in 2017 and opening to residents in 2023. http://www.soraurenpark.com Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @SoraurenPark
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Media Contact:
Friends of Sorauren Park (FOSP). Stephen Dorsey, Director    T. 647-938-5449    E. Stephen@dorseystudios.ca

Rink back in action

Friday night, February 3. The rink crew is out there, in the dark.

Friday night, February 3. The rink crew is out there, in the dark.

After a week spent knocking down footprint craters and pouring on the water, the volunteer Sorauren Hosers have brought back the natural ice rink.

Conditions are OK. The rink is flooded every night at 9 p.m.

Forever hopeful, as one must be, the Hosers are watching the forecast closely. Conditions may be soft early next week. As always, please stay off the surface when things get mushy, to preserve the flat surface for speedier recovery.

See you at the rink!

City looking for tennis instructors

Tenniscourts540

Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation is looking for certified tennis instructors for the park’s tennis programs.

You must be able to teach various age groups on Mondays and Wednesdays during spring session 2017, starting May 1, 2017 and running for nine weeks.

Apply through Talent Flow on toronto.ca.

Questions can be directed to Maxwayne Christy at Parks, Forestry and Recreation, maxwayne.christy@toronto.ca

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