Join the Unlock the Community Centre campaign

Unlock the Community Centre

Hundreds of keychains with supporter names on the fence outside the future community centre. Growing every day!

Hundreds of keychains with supporter names on the fence outside the future community centre. Growing every day!

The City of Toronto has pledged $34 million to build our New Community Centre by 2023, starting 2017.

We need you to Show Your Support to ensure this remains a priority project for our neighbourhood.

Get your keychains at:

  • Joe’s Cafe, corner of Sorauren and Fermanagh
  • Scooter Girl Toys, 187 Roncesvalles Avenue

We also sell the custom keychains at our booth at various events during the year. Buy your keychain (suggested $5 donation) and place it on the fence outside the old linseed oil mill on Wabash Avenue at Sorauren Park… joining the other keychains already there.

Funds raised support the continued efforts of the non-profit, all-volunteer Friends of Sorauren Park to enhance the Sorauren Park experience including Movie Nights in the Town Square, construction of a Pizza Oven (permit submitted), operation of the Natural Ice Rink and much more.

For notices on events where you can buy your keychain, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, follow us on Twitter, or check the Upcoming Events calendar on our home page.

The community centre has been under discussion since the late 1980s, and a line item in the city’s capital budget since 2000, continuously delayed. Over those years, thousands of new people have moved into the area through redevelopment, with thousands more expected in coming years.

Proposed City budget includes Wabash Community Centre

Gym on basement level of Wabash Community Centre, from 2009 study

Gym on basement level of Wabash Community Centre, from 2009 study

The City of Toronto’s proposed capital budget for 2016 and beyond appears to have good news for the future Wabash Community Centre by Sorauren Park.

The “40 Wabash Parkdale CC” community centre project remains in the proposed Parks, Forestry and Recreation budget for the years 2017 to 2023. Final design studies would start in 2017, with shovels in the ground by 2020.

40 Wabash refers to the street address of the old linseed oil mill by Sorauren Park, purchased by the City 15 years ago for repurposing into a new community centre.

The proposed budget still needs to be approved by City Council at its meeting starting Feb. 17.

The budget reinforces the commitment made by Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks at the annual general meeting of the non-profit Wabash Building Society in April 2015. The total cost of the community centre is estimated at $34 million, including design and construction. The City has already invested about $3 million in the site, with the property purchase in 2000 and environmental remediation in 2004.

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 first feasibility study was conducted 12 years ago, following several years of community advocacy and needs assessments.

Since that time, thousands of new people have moved into the area through redevelopment, with thousands more expected in coming years. In the city’s 2004 Recreation Facilities Report, the Wabash Community Centre was listed as the No. 7 priority, with a proposed completion “in the 2005-2009 timeframe.” Of those seven projects, four have been completed and two are under way, leaving Wabash as the last.

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 large and small multipurpose rooms, recreation and culture rooms, dance studio, youth space, cafe, and third-floor event space with walk-out terrace.

“This is great news, and we look forward to kick-starting the design process with the community in 2016,” said Joël Campbell, volunteer chair of the Wabash Building Society.

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 (2014-2015). These successful developments once again prove the need for a new community centre in a rapidly growing and diverse community.

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.

Sign up to the Sorauren Park News e-newsletter and follow us on Twitter for updates.

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

May 22 meeting to discuss Metrolinx construction at Wabash site

Councillor Gord Perks is holding a meeting to discuss the Metrolinx proposal to use the area behind 40 Wabash Avenue as a staging area for track work. 40 Wabash Avenue is the address of the abandoned linseed oil factory, the future community centre, and the land is owned by Parks, Forestry and Recreation. The access point is at the intersection of Wabash and Macdonell.

Metrolinx says it needs the space for approximately 20 months, starting this June, and predicts up to 30 dump trucks a day on neighbourhood streets during peak times. For more information, visit the Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents’ Association website.

Meeting details:

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fern Avenue Public School – 128 Fern Avenue

Councillor Perks, Metrolinx and Parks Forestry and Recreation staff will be reviewing details of the proposed staging area.