Not the Jane and Finch you used to know- the City is working with community developers to transform the cultural hub
Compared to other large cities across the world, Toronto is incredibly safe. According to the Safe City Index (SCI), Toronto is the 6th safest city in the entire globe. This is impressive considering all factors including the multiplicity of backgrounds that the city boasts. Nonetheless, even with this high degree of security, several communities in Toronto have faced historical challenges and need support and consideration.
Jane and Finch is a neighbourhood that has been ever popular for immigrants across various backgrounds. African and Caribbean (24.2%), European (23.2%), Southeast Asian (13%), Latin American (12%), South Asian (7%) immigrants have created communities in the area recently also referred to as University Heights.
To the residents’ delight, the Ontario government has announced that it is providing 2.174-acres of land to the City of Toronto to build the Jane-Finch Community Hub and Centre for the Arts. These actions are part of ongoing efforts to revitalize this neighbourhood, bringing creative and recreational options for the burgeoning youth of the area.
The City, along with Metrolinx and a local community group, the Jane-Finch Community Hub and Centre for the Arts Organizing Committee, identified the portion of 2050 Finch Avenue West as the proposed site of the community hub. The land is adjacent to the future Finch West LRT and is being transferred at no cost.
The property acquisition builds on the feasibility study completed in 2019 by community planning groups, in consultation with local residents and the City. The study established a vision, programming, and concept design for the future community hub. The proposed site is located on the boundary of Black Creek and Glenfield-Jane Heights neighbourhoods, two of 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas identified through the City’s Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy.
Councillor Anthony Perruzza, who proposed the University Heights rebrand and works tirelessly towards poverty reduction, noted that “this has been a long time coming for this community. Together, we are going to build a magnificent community hub and centre of the arts in the dynamic and vibrant Jane-Finch neighbourhood.”
According to 2016 Census data, close to one in three residents in these two neighbourhoods are low income, close to 80 percent are racialized, almost 60 percent are newcomers and over 80 percent are families with children. The proposed site provides an excellent opportunity to optimize social, economic, and environmental returns in ways that reap multiple benefits for residents of the Jane-Finch neighbourhood.
The community hub is also in alignment with the development of a complete community framework for the area under the Jane-Finch Initiative. The aim of the Jane-Finch Initiative is to develop an integrated plan for the neighborhood that advances social equity and economic inclusion for current and future residents, and foster growth.
“The Jane Finch Community Hub and Centre for the Arts will be a huge, positive addition for the northwest part of our city and for the residents who live in the area. I want to thank the provincial government for providing the City of Toronto with this land that will allow us to create a much-needed community hub. I’m confident that the programs and services that will be offered at this community centre will have a lasting impact,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people with fascinating backgrounds and lived experiences. It is Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most.
Projects like The Arts Centre and Community Hub will not only promote a sense of wellbeing amongst residents in the Jane and Finch neighborhood, it will also have a considerable impact on poverty reduction. Engaging the youth in meaningful activities will have wide benefits for the neighborhood and the city as a whole.