A Big Thank You

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Thank you to everyone who came to the Town Hall on Wednesday!

The turnout was amazing and we appreciate everyone taking the time out of their busy lives to get involved with their community. The night was a great success and we’d like to underline how much this kind of support helps us in reaching our goal of the making the JCP Community Hub a reality. So, again, thank you to everyone who came by. We hope that this meeting inspired you to become actively involved in the project. We look forward to seeing you!

Photos and further information on the outcome and future plans stemming from the meeting will be available soon.
To build a good foundation for the Junction Commons, it is important that we educate ourselves on the various forms of community governance.

Dynamic governance is about:
- Equivalence (valuing people equally)
- Transparency
- Effectiveness

Take a look at this video for some inspiration!

We are always open to new forms of discussion and value your opinions! Stay in touch with us through our Facebook and blog or sign up as part of a committee!

Urban Toronto wrote an article about the JCP Town Hall. Check it out.

 

Indoor Public Space Blog Reviews our April 16th – Junction Commons Townhall

[ It's great when other people do such a good job of reviewing our events. Thank you Matthew for the review and for introducing us to your Foundation for Indoor Public Spaces. Our organizations share many aims. ]

[ Reprinted from the Indoor Public Space blog]

by Matthew Lie-Paehlke

On Wednesday April 16, I attended a townhall meeting about the ‘Junction Commons,’ a proposed community space on the site of a vacant police station in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. A volunteer task force has been developing a vision of the Junction Commons, collaboratively, over the past 18 months. Even as some members have come and gone, the idea has carried itself along. The current vision for the site is a building which contains accessible public space for events, programs and socializing with one floor of revenue-generating rental space that will cover the costs of the entire building.

The Junction Commons task force won a Trillium grant to hire Urbanmetrics and ERA architects to complete a feasibility study. The big news at the recent Town Hall was that the study (which should be available on the JCP website soon) found that it would be possible to renovate the building to create both community space and income-generating rental space. The study also concluded that the rental income would be sufficient to cover the building’s maintenance and staffing costs and pay off a bank loan for the renovations (app. $3.5 million). Because it would be difficult to cover the costs of purchasing the property outright and still maintain sufficient public space, the task force is currently negotiating a long-term, low-cost (like $1 a year low) lease from the City of Toronto.

The task force envisions the Junction Commons as a community hub. Referring to earlier research on Community Hubs, the JCP task force described a community hub as a space which intertwines the following objectives: service delivery, place-making and community building. The Junction Commons will be a place where people can obtain services, a space that’s comfortable and attractive, and a space where local people can gather, get to know one another and pursue collective objectives. The JCP task force is seeking to make the Junction Commons financially sustainable, so that it won’t be reliant on government funding – a valid concern in these times of global ‘austerity.’

Early renderings of potential designs, produced by Ryerson planning students, were on display at the Town Hall. The task force has also held design charettes with local people throughout the neighbourhood in order to better understand their needs for the space. From the various activities, programs and events suggested in these charettes, the task force developed five ‘pillars’ of the Junction Commons:

ARTS – The Junction Commons will be a site for the discussion, production and experience of theatre, music and visual arts.

FOOD – The Junction Commons will be a place where people can come together to eat and cook. It will be equipped with a community kitchen and host a farmers’ market.

HEALTH – The Junction Commons will be a space for exercise, dance, yoga and a site for the provision of health services. The University Health Network was mentioned as a possible anchor tenant.

COMMUNITY BUILDING - The Junction Commons will be a space for both casual conversations and community meetings.

LOCAL EXCHANGE – The presence of so many different people in the Junction Commons makes it an ideal site for local development and learning. It will be an excellent site for co-working, public lectures, skills exchanges, sharing and local trade.

209 Mavety Street from Google Streetview, with a little photoshop spice.

At the outset, creating a commons requires real initiative and effort from one or more individuals, but as the idea and project grow and more people are drawn in by the vision, the work can be distributed. Hundreds of people have come to JCP meetings and townhalls. Thousands have signed a petition to delay the sale of the property until the completion of the feasability study. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for a for-profit company to produce a space like this. It will be possible to fund the public space within the Junction Commons from rental income, in part, thanks to the efforts of so many volunteers. Eighteen months of planning, design and outreach by a private development company would be extremely expensive — as it stands however, the JCP will only have to cover the cost of the physical renovations. The JCP is currently looking for new volunteers to step up and help to shoulder some of the load. The task force has formed a non-profit organization and will soon be electing a volunteer board. If you live in the Junction – especially if you have legal, marketing or accounting experience – consider becoming a Junction Commoner and volunteering your time.

After the presentation of the feasibility study and the preliminary plans for the space, a member of the West Junction Historical Society took the stage and spoke passionately about the importance of open and accessible ‘third places‘ — spaces which are neither home nor work — in building a community. As access to schools and churches becomes more tightly controlled, it becomes harder and harder for ordinary people to find places to gather and discuss community initiatives. The self-sustaining, community-driven model developed by the Junction Commons Project is one possible solution to this problem.

[ Reprinted from the Indoor Public Space blog]

Town Hall Tonight!

TOHA

Last reminder that the JCP Town Hall Meeting is tonight!

Join us at the Masonic Temple at 151 Annette Avenue tonight from 7- 9 pm to learn more about the newly incorporated Junction Commons Community Hub Project.

Door open at 6:30.
Light refreshments will be provided.

Come meet community members, network with your neighbours and get acquainted with what we’re all about. The Town Hall is a great opportunity to have your say on what you believe to be important in your community. Help us establish goals that will serve you in the best possible way.

See you tonight!

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“Principles of Good Governance”, by George Elliott Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto

Principles of Good Governance*
In Memory of Two Eminent Torontonians:
Dr. Sheela Basrur, OOnt (1956-2008)
& Mr. Charles Roach, LL.B (1933-2012)

I—Background Paper
1)  Educate the electorate.
2)  Illiteracy rots Democracy.
3)  Equality? Fine schools, fine teachers, in every district.
4)  The Citadel of Reason? The Library.
5)  Quote Scripture; cite History; recite Poetry.
6)  Do not plague the people by shouting opinions.
    Do not demonize opponents.
    Do not mislead or confuse.
    Produce Facts.
7)  Honesty is State Treasure.
8)  A governor’s speech must be as clear as water.
9)  Clarity is a branch of Charity.
10) To be decisive,
    First be incisive.
11) Judgment must be as cool as steel, as sharp as steel.
12) To convince is better than to conquer.
13) Complaint is Revelation.
14) News perpetually startles,
    Yet its truths are ancient:
    To the Perceptive.
15) Do not pander; also, do not puff up superiors.
16) Flattery is bribery; it is slush.
17) Excuses enshrine Cowardice.
18) Remember: Great Thought leaps upward—
    To try to discern Divinity.

II—On Lawmaking 
1)  Political success? A silver tongue and a heart of gold.
2)  Elected? Serve the people.
3)  Sobriety, Punctiliousness, Generosity, and Intelligence:
    These qualities demand allegiance.
4)  Ethics is a scythe,
    Separating the correct from the corrupt.
5)  Even the bad governor envies good policies.
6)  The heedless governor is soon headless.
7)  Good laws set themselves good examples.
8)  Extremism only serves thermometers.
9)  Excess disguises Dysfunction.
10) Egoism is Insufficiency.
11) Envy dreams up conspiracies.
12) Err in one law?
    Correct it in the next.
13) The law suit never fits—
    Unless it’s a straitjacket.
14) First, comprehend Justice;
    Then, apprehend criminals.
15) Dust dwells and swells—
    When the broom is stayed.
16) Police secrecy equals Sedition.
17) Citizens must be activists;
    Lest they be oppressed.
18) Plant vineyards, not prisons.
    Plant vineyards; cart home the city wine.

III—On Economy
1)  The Treasury is for the citizens’ convenience.
2)  Sacrosanct is Renminbi.
3)  Capital flows;
    Labour pools.
4)  Greatness? Public works, public art.
5)  Spend: Do not let potholes become sinkholes.
6)  Beauty demands Maintenance.
7)  When in Debt, build.
    When in Doubt, build.
    Paper Wealth is air:
    Build.
8)  Diversity rouses Beauty.
    (Light does not discriminate.)
9)  Nurture
    Infrastructure,
    Agriculture,
    Manufacture,
    Architecture,
    Arts & Culture—
    To richly prosper.
10) Create, profit; save, invest;
    Create, profit; save, invest.
11) To secure heaven, help the lowly.
12) Benevolence staves off Violence.
13) Charity engineers Miracles.
14) Plutocracy vomits black bread, black flags,
    and black batons.
15) Arms dig Deficits.
16) Spending should be like planting,
    Never like eating.
17) Taxation should be transfusion,
    Not vampirism.
18) Squander revenues, spark revolts.
19) Paltry is that government careless of Poetry.

IV—On Beauty
1)  Youth creates; Age preserves.
2)  Revere children; respect elders.
3)  Sun is balm; rain is ointment.
4)  Light allows no doubt.
5)  Good Style wins popularity;
    Good Deeds inspire reverence.
6)  Be a Caesar to allies and a Sphinx to adversaries.
7)  Beauty escapes Chastisement.
8)  Good wine precedes good Poetry.
    Good wine succeeds good Poetry.

*By George Elliott Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15). Note: The poem riffs on Confucius (via Pound), Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, several T’ang Dynasty and Song Dynasty poets.

Used  with permission by the Junction Commoners who found much wisdom in these words.

Kick Start the JCP

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The JCP is pulling together a Facebook initiative starring Junction residents! The “Kick Start the JCP” album is your space to get creative and show us what you would like to see at the Junction Commons. We encourage you to post pictures of anything that embodies the Junction Commons from your eyes.

Head to our site at www.facebook.com/JunctionCommonsProject and add a comment and a picture. We encourage you to post pictures of anything that embodies the Junction Commons from your eyes.

Do you love Yoga? Post a picture of you in your favorite pose.

Do you knit? Post a picture of a ball of yarn and some needles.

Want to attend a cooking class? Post a picture of you and your friends enjoying a meal together.

All ideas and creative expressions are welcomed and celebrated.Let us know what you would like to see in your comment and post a picture.

We will add you to the album!

 

#kickstartthejcp

News: Incorporation and Town Hall

street-view

The Junction Commons Project has officially submitted the documents for not for profit status this week! Thank you to all of our supporters, especially those who donated through the Junction Famers Market, in making this a success.

The goal of the JCP is to establish a community hub that promotes the interests of the residents of the Junction and the surrounding neighbourhoods, provides facilities for programs that foster communication, lifelong learning and community interaction, and advances the social, cultural, environmental, and economic wellbeing of Junction residents.

It’s thanks to active and engaged community members (like you!) that we have achieved this milestone and surpassed expectations. If you are interested in learning about the project or if you want to get involved, get in touch with us at the next Town Hall. We have exciting community building activities planned for the evening and it’s a great chance to learn more about this initiative.

Here are the details:
JCP Town Hall
April 16th, 2014
Toronto West Masonic Temple at 151 Annette Street in Toronto.
7 – 9pm

Light refreshments will be served by Jayne’s Gourmet, an environmentally conscious catering firm with a passion for food that uses locally sourced ingredients.

At the Town Hall, you’ll get to learn more about the mission of the JCP and how it relates to you! We’ll be providing a detailed explanation of the feasibility study, our current action plan and hopes for the future with lots of fun activities and opportunities to get to know members of your community.

Join us and learn about the many ways you can contribute to your community by making our dream a reality.

JCP_Townhall_poster02a

You’re Invited: Junction Commons Townhall #2

7-9pm
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Masonic Temple (151 Annette St, Toronto, ON M6P 2N7)
Free Tickets: http://junctioncommons.brownpapertickets.com (you can still show up at the event without a ticket but registering helps us prepare the event)

We’re celebrating!

The Ontario Trillium Foundation funded Feasibility Study for converting the old police station 209 Mavety into a Community Hub is now complete.

Come out and hear what we discovered, what we’re planning and how you can help.

Let’s make this a real community hub event. Come share refreshments with your neighbours and get involved with this great community project.

We still need volunteers for the event and to help out with the Junction Commons in general. If you’d like to be involved in any of these drop us a line, junctioncommoner@gmail.com.  We will be building a board for the freshly minted Junction Commons not for profit society over the next few months and we are looking for some passionate new members who have board experience or are willing to learn. Please forward this information on to people you know who might be a good fit.

Free Tickets: http://junctioncommons.brownpapertickets.com (you can still show up at the event without a ticket but registering helps us prepare the event)

Facebook: JunctionCommonsProject
Twitter: JunctionCommons
Townhall hashtag: #JunctionTownhall
To volunteer or ask questions: junctioncommoner@gmail.com

Download, print and share the big poster: Townhall_big_poster_2014-04-16-sizefixed

and the handbills: Poster 02a-mini-sizefixed

Next public meeting: Thurs March 6, 2014 SMASH 7:30-9:30

Was your news years resolution to do something for your local community? Or maybe you’ve been curious about how the Junction Commons Project really works from the inside? Or perhaps you’ve got mad skills in grant writing, marketing, community engagement, or you want to learn from people that do?

Well this Thursday, 7:30-9:30 at SMASH 2880 Dundas West, is the time to come out to a public JCP meeting and share your best self with us. We’ve got a fresh feasibility study and we need help getting ready to share it with the neighbourhood at a Townhall in late March/ early April.  We need your vision, experience, and open mind.

If you can’t come to this meeting do let us know if you are interested in helping us build the vision for 209 Mavety this year.  Email junctioncommoner@gmail.com with a note or any questions you have about what’s involved. * Also forward this email to anyone you know who lives in the area and might be interested in getting involved.

*Right now the core team meets 12 hr/ month (3 hr x 4 meetings), and working groups meet less but communicate a lot via email. 

Jonah Schein MPP for Davenport and big JCP supporter, comedy night

Our MPP to the East,  Jonah Schein  for Davenport, has been a big supporter of the Junction Commons Project as well as one of the first MPPs to take the need for electric clean train development along the West Rail Corridor seriously. He previously worked for The Stop Community Food Centre as a civic engagement coordinator, and understands how to help citizen initiatives like the Junction Commons Project succeed.

If you are interested in keeping him around why not go to March 4th comedy fundraiser touted as “a special night in support of the pro-environment, pro-community and pro-having-a-good-time elected representative of Davenport, NDP MPP Jonah Schein!” Continue reading

Map of Graduation Rates in GTA. Junction Average.

St. Michael’s research project analyzes the overall health of 140 Toronto neighbourhoods, Junction rated average

Thestar.com released a story today on Toronto neighbourhood health indicators released by St. Michael’s hospital.

“The hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health spent the last year developing a new tool that grades every neighbourhood in the city on 15 measures of health and well-being: everything from education to voting rates, the number of healthy food stores and the rate of premature deaths.

“Researchers used 11 databases, extracting information and then geo-coding it, for example, based on postal code, to reveal precise details on neighbourhoods. Most of the information has never before been available drilled down to such a local level.”

The report identifies the area known as the Junction Area ( #90 in the above city neighbourhood map ) to be average in almost all indicators. We are sandwiched between have neighbourhoods to the south and west, and have-nots to our north and  east. We know the neighbourhood is undergoing rapid gentrification as well, so this is an important time to ask where will all the old time residents go if the housing and business rents continue to skyrocket.

And where will all  the new residents coming into developments like Heintzman Place and the new Duke residence find healthcare, community space and be able to meet their neighbours from diverse backgrounds. Right now our only meeting places are coffee shops lining Dundas West.  On the other hand we know the Junction is very walkable, as long as you don’t need to cross the street anywhere along Dundas,  Keele or Annette.

This report is especially interesting to us at the Junction Commons Project because we’ve been researching our neighbourhood in detail over the last 5 months, both through community meetings and by considering census driven reports like this one. We’ve been told by the local Health Links that West Toronto is a Health Desert, meaning we don’t have enough health care providers  to serve the current and anticipated future populations. We think part of the 209 Mavety site would be a perfect central location for this kind of Health care service delivery. And we can see as churches and other public spaces get bought up for condo conversions that preserving spaces like 209 Mavety that are centrally located, on transit lines and  beautifully built, for public use is going to be a high priority for Toronto residents who want to build a liveable, walkable, economically fair and healthy city.

We’re in talks with some health providers right now about this possibility and will be giving you more details in the coming weeks about the very positive conclusions of our feasibility study.  We’ll be doing a call out for more volunteers to run for our board in the next year, and will be inviting you all out to another town hall in the next 4 weeks or so – where we will release the findings of the feasibility report, and ask for your feedback and help to get 209 Mavety converted into a functional Community Hub for the Junction and surrounding areas.

The St.Michael’s executive summary of the report concludes:

“Urban HEART @ Toronto paints a picture of a city where many people are doing quite well, but too many others are at risk of falling behind. It also reveals a picture of a city where people in each local neighbourhood are connected to — and depend on — the health and well-being of those around them.

“Examining multiple indicators across several domains serves as a powerful reminder that assessing the success of our city involves a complex and inter- connected matrix of individual factors.

“While this rich source of data helps us to identify which neighbourhoods in our city need a closer look, that’s just the first step in building stronger neighbourhoods. The next step is for governments, funders, and community organizations to use this information to develop effective strategies for local renewal.

“One of the key learnings from Urban HEART @ Toronto, and the relationship we can see between various indicators, is that it’s not effective to focus on a single issue. Every aspect of neighbourhood health must be considered and interpreted in relation to all other indicators. That’s why neighbourhoods across our city need a coordinated, comprehensive strategy for renewal that involves multiple aligned efforts.

“The good news is that Urban HEART @ Toronto will enable this kind of collaboration among multiple partners, improving their ability to target issues and improve access to opportunities across all neighbourhoods. Ultimately, this tool will provide an evidence base that organizations can use to close the gaps between Toronto’s neighbourhoods and ensure Toronto meets its full promise: a city of thriving neighbourhoods, where every resident has the same opportunity for a healthy and successful life.


Reports referenced in this blog post:

MY BROOKLYN
D: Kelly Anderson | USA | 2012 | 85 min | STC

JCP member and Ryerson architecture prof Taymoore Balbaa behind documentary series at Bloor Cinema

Taymoore Balbaa has been a dedicated member of the Junction Commons team. You may have seen his students’ work envisioning a renewed 209 Mavety on display along Dundas West in June 2013. He’s now running a documentary series at Bloor Cinema on behalf of the Toronto Society of Architects.

Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to see these kinds of documentaries shown in the Junction. We at the JCP have been learning a lot about the city bylaws, architecture, design and how people are building vital community spaces across the world. Documentaries are a great way to have public discussions about these issues. 


Oppositions: Architecture On Film

This series offers insights into the role of design in the built environment by presenting pairings of films that have opposing themes related to issues of design and cultural development.  Each film pairing will be followed by a brief discussion moderated by the Toronto Society of Architects.

Continue reading