Community Development

Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in Thorncliffe Park

Tower Neighbourhood Renewal (TNR) is a United Way of Greater Toronto (UWT) funded project with TNO as the lead agency. Thorncliffe Park is one of four Toronto neighbourhoods chosen for a pilot project.

The goals of the project are to revitalize the community through the development of local partnerships between residents, landlords, social agencies and other stakeholders. The project priorities are to facilitate the physical upgrade of community and recreation programming, to respond to the needs of children, youth and families, to diversify land uses in tower properties and to enable local economic development.

TNR has worked with Q Residential, Park Property and Morguard to deliver three community gardens, a youth mural, a children’s playground and benches to create outdoor meeting / recreation space.

In cooperation with the City of Toronto, Parks and Recreation, women’s only fitness programming has been organized with synchronized weight room times to accommodate both day and evening users. Child minding will be provided for day programs. Starting on September 1, 2014, as a result of a new City of Toronto policy that identifies Thorncliffe Park as a Neighbourhood Improvement Area (NIA), programs at the Jenner Jean-Marie Community Centre are free of charge. Women’s only programming at the community centre takes advantage of this benefit to offer women the fitness programs that they requested be part of the TNR program.

Gardens were planted at 35, 53 and 71 Thorncliffe Park Drive. The allotment garden at 71 Thorncliffe Park Drive was especially successful, the tenant organizers have a passion for organic gardens and their vision inspired fellow gardeners. Wrigley’s Canada was similarly inspired by their work and sent 100 volunteers to install a fence; dig a bioswale trench to deter flooding of the garden from the parking lot, install a garden shed, create a ravine garden and much more. A park bench was placed in the garden to honour their involvement.

The Youth Mural painted in the hallway attached to the parking garage at 53 Thorncliffe Park Drive, has an environmental theme. It depicts the Thorncliffe Park Area in a degraded state on the right hand side where the area is filled with garbage and pollution; youth, in silhouette, travel along a bridge (with the CN Tower and tall buildings in the background) to a greener area, on the left side, where the air is clean and the environment treated with respect. The words reduce, reuse, recycle and respect are painted in along the bridge in languages spoken in the community. National flowers of many countries are painted at the edge of the mural on the left side. A magnificent blue jay overlooks the scene; a profound, powerful image!

In May, 2014, City Council approved a new zoning by-law (RAC zoning) for Thorncliffe Park that will allow new commercial uses in the area. TNO will organize a community meeting to inform residents what opportunities are available under RAC zoning.

Comments are closed.