December 16, 2021

jfm+ Virtual Community Event (December 14, 2021)

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.