In December 2021, we were proud to host our inaugural virtual event, open to the public, to discuss the future of the Jane Finch Mall site and our community.

The full jfm+ Project Team was joined by Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Tom Rakocevic, Toronto City Councillor Anthony Perruzza, City of Toronto staff from the Jane Finch Initiative, community leaders and activists, and other members of our Jane Finch neighbourhood who shared their hopes for the future. The meeting, which was hosted by the Community Engagement Team, included a welcome and introductions to the larger jfm+ Project Team, site and planning policy context, details on the planning and engagement process, a Q&A period, breakout rooms for smaller group discussions and a final recap.

Watch the recording or keep scrolling for additional resources, and a list of key themes including specific community feedback.

Here’s what we heard:

The Mall is an important space for people to gather and connect
  • The Jane Finch Mall intersection has always been considered to be important. There is desire for the intersection to be a major point for all kinds of activity where everyone can come together
    • Taking up space on private property is different, more of an act of resistance (consider what this means in relation to POPS)
  • Continue to maintain the gathering functions of the Mall today (e.g. people hanging around having coffee)
  • Need more common/congregational areas (parkettes, cafes with different cultural backgrounds)
  • Not a lot of physical organizing spaces that are not overpoliced, safe, and visible
Community spaces and services are important
  • Community-owned spaces will allow people to be prouder of the community and their involvement
    • Cost of affording these spaces currently are a significant barrier
    • Designate some area strictly for and about community
  • Quality of services is critical, especially with increased demand from new developments
  • Youth and students need a community space they can access, places where kids can drop in and come together, just to hang out, without organized activity
    • Free spaces where everyone is welcome, not monitored, especially young Black males
  • Want recreational spaces and all-weather environments
  • Desire for outdoor programmed spaces, with resident-led events (mini golf, games nights, bingo)
  • Wanted shared spaces where folks can host events, participate in programs etc.
  • Space for community gardening
  • Programs for seniors
  • Need a food bank or donation centre
Ensure that change brings physical improvements and greening to the community
  • Want this to be a Downtown in the northern part of the City - a central hub, optimize and maximize development (with focus on retail, commercial, housing, community services)
    • Want these uses to cater to the needs of the community
  • Need vital development on all 4 corners
  • More flowers and greening, seasonal planting
  • Active and passive spaces
  • Development should be comprehensive and cohesive
Jobs and economic opportunities are important for the community to grow and thrive
  • Support local start-ups through incubator space, pop-ups, small stalls, / food trucks, markets etc.
    • Spaces specifically for residents to start their own businesses - find ways to get local people into space (e.g. people doing nails out of their homes, is there a space for them?)
  • Local hiring is important, always an objective but doesn't always play out
    • Want community benefits beyond construction (e.g. tech industry)
  • Need training programs to help people build their businesses
    • Climate change as an industry for training and business opportunities
Community members would like to see their history, heritage, culture, and diversity incorporated, reflected and honoured
  • Food as a tool to promote diversity and culture of the community
  • Interested in a multicultural hub, immigration centre, community centre
  • Create opportunities for local artists in the process and in the redevelopment
    • Involve them in the décor/design of spaces, host art events or space for a gallery with rotating events showcasing local artist
  • Want the culture to feel localized and capture the community's identity
    • Can be many things - design, colour, imagery
    • Not imported, there's true ownership of the culture
  • Ensure whatever is done is welcoming
    • Want existing residents to feel they have a right to be there
    • Fences, lighting, planters, artwork all impact this feeling
  • Concerned that culture will be lost if lower-income people are pushed out
    • Should have agreement to set aside buildings for low income residents to maintain diversity and strong history
People were hopeful about the future of the Site but also had concerns (gentrification, affordability, safety, construction/traffic, Mall as an ally)
  • Need to make community fully aware that change is upon us
  • Displacement - concerned that housing will cater to wealthier people (e.g. townhomes)
    • Psychology of belonging which is impacted through unaffordability and displacement
  • Accountability / Transparency related to mistrust
    • Continue to have mistrust toward the development community
    • Concerned that promises made today under one leadership group won't be maintained by another
    • Concerns about this being a corporate-led initiative, with lack of accountability and transparency around what can and cannot be included in the plan
    • Concerns that community ideas won't truly be heard / followed through with, want to know more about the services and amenities that will be planned
  • Phasing - tearing down and building back up can shut people out, how can we go about this without interfering with access to the Mall?
People want to continue to have a voice and be engaged about the future of the Mall site
  • There is a belief that residents and community leaders can change the community together
    • Need to overcome territorial vibes (can't do something in one location because it's being done somewhere else)
  • Ensure people are kept in the loop the entire time (from planning to redevelopment and completion)
  • Ensure that all sectors and demographics have a say in the process
  • Future redevelopments should continue to engage with community partners to host events / programming

Stay tuned for future engagement and outreach updates on our News & Events page. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive notifications as events, news and other content are added to our site.

The first step toward developing a shared vision for how the Jane Finch Mall site can continue to play an important role in our neighbourhood was Round 1 of our Community Engagement and Outreach, focused on listening.

Round 2 of our Community Engagement and Outreach was designed to reflect upon what was heard and continue digging deeper. From October 4, 2021 to December 4, 2021, this eight-week engagement period focused on making sure we accurately understood what the community had told us, confirming key themes and insights gathered in Round 1 and reflecting these back to community members and organizations, while continuing to gather more information.

The confirmation and exploration of these key themes will provide guidance to the project team on community issues and priorities for the redevelopment process.


Here's how it happened:

Our engagement team of nearly a dozen members, all of whom have deep roots in our community, and are passionate about our neighbourhood's future used a range of platforms to connect with over 600 community members. This included:

  • Small group discussions with 35 agencies, organizations, schools, network tables, and grassroots groups representing a variety of demographics within our community
  • Individual discussions though direct, one-on-one outreach and community connections
  • Over 200 visitors to the Mall storefront space

Here's what we heard, boiled down into seven key themes:

  • A gathering space. The Mall is an important central location in the neighbourhood where community members gather and connect. It's important to people that the future Mall site continues to make space for gathering and community connections.
  • Community space and community services. Access to unprogrammed space and to effective services supports community building and civic engagement and needs to be included in the plan for the future.
  • Economic opportunities. There is a need to increase economic opportunities within the community, especially for youth. Community members see jobs, opportunities, and local economic development in the community as an important part of the process and the finished redevelopment.
  • Physical improvements & greening. Redevelopment can present opportunities to make physical improvements to the neighbourhood through attractive, well-designed spaces with more modern buildings. Parks and greenspace in the community are valued but could use improvements and be more family friendly and include residents in planning and design.
  • Preserving & enhancing local history & culture. The redevelopment process should include initiatives that maintain and build on neighbourhood history and culture, preserve community identity, and include local artists in the design and execution of beautification efforts
  • Challenges. Community members are hopeful about positive changes that come with development but are also concerned that change will make it less affordable for them to live, work, and shop in the neighbourhood.
  • Making it real. Residents were optimistic about the process but remain vigilant, eager to see real outcomes that confirm the initially positive and responsive process will deliver meaningful benefits to the community.

In summary, our Round 1 and Round 2 Community Engagement and Outreach efforts have provided a solid introduction to the process of planning improvements to the Site for community members. Key themes, issues, and priorities have been identified through the consultations that will serve as the starting point for the planning process.

There is a strong desire and willingness from individual Jane and Finch community members, as well as agencies and organizations, to continue to be engaged and help shape the future of the Site. Notwithstanding some concerns about the impacts of development, there is a clear sense of hope and optimism about the project.

We will continue our commitment to inclusive engagement processes and ongoing and open communication that shows residents that they are heard, and concrete outcomes that show their input had an impact. Stay informed about future engagement and outreach updates on our News & Events page. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive notifications as news, events and other content are added to our site.

We are working with tenants, neighbours, and the larger community to develop a shared vision for how the Jane Finch Mall site can grow and change while continuing to play an important role in our neighbourhood.

The first step toward developing this understanding was Round 1 of our Community Engagement and Outreach, facilitated by our team of nearly a dozen members, all of whom have deep roots in our community, and are passionate about this neighbourhood's future. This phase, which was conducted over approximately four weeks during summer 2021, revolved around listening. It was designed to gather insight into our community's priorities and values, and subsequently reflect them back to the community for confirmation of key themes that can serve as the basis for redevelopment principles.

The community engagement team connected with individual residents, community groups, agencies and key community leaders.

In total, the engagement team gathered feedback from 329 residents as well as 30-35 community leaders and activists connected with 18 community-based organizations and networks.

Here's how it happened:

  • Thanks to the diverse background of the Community Engagement Team, we were able to gather a broad group of community members, including residents in public and private market rentals, homeowners, and a diversity of racial and cultural backgrounds, and a range of languages, including Italian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Somali and English.
  • The outreach included direct one-on-one conversations with residents through surveys. The responses were gathered in-person, over-the-phone and through Zoom.

Here's what we heard:

What people like about the Mall:

  • It has “everything I need”
  • It's close and convenient
  • It's affordable
  • It's a gathering place
  • It's community friendly

What people see as the Mall's role in the community now:

  • It's a “town square”; a connection point for Jane Finch residents
  • It's convenient and walkable
  • It supports the community, through hosting local services, giving to community agencies and hosting local events
  • It meets needs affordably

Jane and Finch residents have a strong attachment to their community. Including:

  • Connection to their neighbours
  • Diversity
  • Walkability
  • Programs and events
  • Affordability
  • Green space

What people hope for in the future:

  • Safety
  • Programs and services
  • Facilities
  • A space that is aesthetically pleasing
  • Community engagement
  • Economic opportunity

What people worry about for the future:

  • Gentrification, affordability and community sustainability
  • Safety
  • Construction, traffic and disruption

What people see as the future role for the Mall in the community:

  • Physical improvement
  • Community connection
  • Gathering
  • Economic opportunity

What matters most about the jfm+ planning process:

  • Trust, accountability and inclusion

In Summary

Jane and Finch community members are interested in ongoing participation in the jfm+ process, and are interested in playing active roles in connecting the process to the community, though often with the caveat that they needed to see clear, concrete commitments to community goals as part of that arrangement. Many are eager to see concrete plans and are looking forward to moving into the next phases of engagement.

Our engagement continued throughout 2021, and you can read more about it in future posts.

Stay tuned for future engagement and outreach updates on our News & Events page. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive notifications as news, events and other content are added to our site.