About wabashbuildingsociety

Volunteer Chair, Wabash Building Society, Toronto, Canada

Sorauren Pumpkin Parade Nov. 1


pumpkins-everywhereThe annual Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade takes place the evening of Sunday, Nov. 1, the day after Halloween. Bring your jack-o-lantern to the park, line it up along the path, and enjoy the parade!

The 11th annual Parade is produced by you, and sponsored by Councillor Gord Perks and the Wabash Building Society.

This year, volunteers are required the day after the parade to help pitch the retired pumpkins into the City-provided composting bin. Please come to the park on Monday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. with your wheelbarrows, wagons and gloves to help out.


Sorauren Park 20th Anniversary: Save the date, Sept. 26, 2015

Sorauren Park 20th Anniversary A Celebration of Community & Urban Greenspacing

Poster for Sorauren Park 20th Anniversary, September 26, 4 to 10 p.m.Save the date: Saturday, September 26, 2015, 4 -10 p.m.

Sorauren Avenue Park opened in September 1995 following a hard-fought community campaign to establish a new neighbourhood park on industrial land slated to become a depot for municipal garbage trucks. The park has become everything its founders imagined: a treasured public green space for leisure, recreation, sports and community. Our common ground.

For its 20th anniversary, local non-profit organizations and dedicated volunteers have come together to plan a special event, celebrating the past, present and future of our park.

We’ll be updating these pages during the countdown to Sept. 26, as details become available. Get anniversary news by subscribing to Sorauren Park News monthly e-newsletter, and following us on Twitter @SoraurenPark. Have ideas, talents or sweat equity to contribute? Contact us. Interesting in becoming one of our official sponsors?

20th Anniversary Events

20th Anniversary Partners & Sponsors

20th Anniversary Volunteer

20th Anniversary Birthday Cake Decorating Contest

20th Anniversary – Contact Us

Community centre funding “secure” for 2017-2023


Birds-eye view of the old brick linseed oil mill, 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. This view looks south-east with Wabash Avenue and the homes on Lukow Terrace in the background

Councillor Gord Perks’s office brought good news to local residents assembled at the annual general meeting of the Wabash Building Society last week: funding for the long-awaited Wabash Community Centre is “secure.”

A representative from the Councillor’s office delivered the news to about 40 people at the public meeting (the Councillor was in a City Council meeting that went late). The funding is set out in the City’s 10-year capital plan (Parks, Forestry and Recreation). Funding for the Wabash Community Centre is slated during the 2017-2023 period, for a total of $34 million covering design and construction.

An article in the Parkdale Villager, “City commits $34 million to new Wabash Community Centre,” provides more coverage.

While the news is encouraging, members of the community-based Wabash Building Society (WBS) pointed out the community centre has been a line item in the City’s budget since at least 2000. The dream for a community centre by Sorauren Park goes back to the late 1980s, prior to the opening of the park itself in 1995. The WBS will not stop advocating.

The most recent plan is contained in a 2009 report, Wabash “Green” Community Centre Feasibility Study, prepared by Oleson Worland_Taylor Smyth architects in joint venture for the City and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Building on previous studies, the 2009 plan would mostly retain the footprint, exterior and layout of the abandoned 40,000 sq. ft. linseed oil mill on the Wabash Avenue site, adjacent to the park. The interior and mechanicals would be completely rebuilt.

The plans include a gym space, several multipurpose rooms, recreation and culture rooms, youth lounge, cafe, and third-floor event space with walk-out terrace.

It’s expected more design consultations will be held with the community in the upcoming months to update the plans to reflect a changing neighbourhood.

The City has already invested about $3 million in the site, with the property purchase in 2000 and environmental remediation in 2004.

Aerial map showing how park was built in phases: main park 1995, Fieldhouse 2008, Town Square 2014, Community Centre 2017-2023 plan

The main park was opened in 1995, the Fieldhouse in 2008 and the Town Square in 2014.

Other portions of the linseed site have been redeveloped thanks to community efforts led by the Wabash Building Society. WBS campaigns have raised or leveraged approximately $750,000 since 2006, to create the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse (2008) and Sorauren Town Square (Phase 1, 2014).

The fence on the old industrial site is now pushed back to the old linseed oil mill, leaving one piece of the Sorauren Park vision to be completed. Stay tuned.

Wabash Community Centre update April 2 with Councillor Perks

With the opening of the Sorauren Town Square last July, one piece of the Sorauren Park vision — dating from the late 1980s — remains: the proposed Wabash Community Centre on the old linseed oil mill property.

Come get a status update on the Wabash Community Centre project on Thursday, April 2 at the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse, starting at 7 p.m. Councillor Gord Perks along with community members will be in attendance.

This is public meeting also serves as the Annual General Meeting of the Wabash Building Society, your community non-profit in support of Sorauren Park and the community centre.

It’s a great opportunity for getting involved in community life. Refreshments will be served.

Poster for public meeting on the status of the Wabash Community Centre

THANK YOU! Town Square opens to blue skies and dancing

Photo of adults, kids, taking over new Town Square space under blue skies with future community centre in the background

Residents flock into the new Town Square after the official opening. Photo courtesy Erin Hatfield

Phase 1 of the new Sorauren Park Town Square — Toronto’s newest magical public space — opened July 7 to rave reviews and under blue skies despite the day’s rain.

While the Farmers Market bustled and soccer players hustled on the park’s sports field, the Square was officially opened by Parks staff removing fencing, on cue from Councillor Gord Perks, who gave welcoming remarks.

Prior to the opening, Company Blonde Dance Projects performed an initiation dance on the Square. Chander Chaddah, a board member from the Wabash Building Society, thanked Square supporters and gave a brief history. The Wabash Building Society is the non-profit community group that initiated and shepherded the project in collaboration with Parks, Forestry and Recreation and funding groups.

After the fence opened, everyone was invited to join a Zumba dance on the Square. Meanwhile, the new all-volunteer Adopt-A-Tree crew, led by coordinator May Haslam, furiously attended to the 40+ new trees and hedges with plenty of water.

Visit the Parkdale Villager website for story and photo.

Photo of gravelly field in front of the old linseed factory on Wabash Avenue beside Sorauren Park

BEFORE: the derelict and off-limits industrial land prior to the new Town Square and green spaces

SPECIAL THANK YOU to these supporters:

Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation: Alex Mut, Peter Didiano, Peter White, Lennox Morgan, Trena Cesario, Rob Richardson and many other PFR staff

Live Green Toronto: Jeff McCormick and staff

TD Friends of the Environment: Carolyn Scotchmer and staff

Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation: Jayne Fry and board

Sound system: Natalie Waddell and Jorge Miguel

Company Blonde Dance Projects

Diane, the awesome Zumba instructor

The Planning Partnership: Town Square designers

Sorauren Farmers’ Market

Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents’ Association, which started the Sorauren Park initiatives many, many years ago

The many Phase 1 donors listed on the website and now on the Phase 1 donor banner posted in the park on the east-side fence

Phase 2 fundraising is now under way to furnish the Square with benches, a bake oven, an iconic trellis from which to hang movie screens, donor walls and art, and more. Learn about the Buy a Bench program (limited benches available), how to get a tax receipt, and how to join the donor wall.

See you at the Town Square!