Your Arena Board Needs You!
Are you passionate about recreation? Do you want to support the work of important facilities in your community?
The City of Toronto has eight indoor ice arenas operated by boards of management. These boards oversee the programs and operations of the arenas and are a way for local residents to get involved in supporting facilities in their community.
We are looking for local residents with an interest in community engagement and recreation to serve as public members on the following arena board:
- McCormick Playground Arena Board (4 positions) - located in the west end of Toronto, at Dundas Street West and Brock Street. Apply at:
Application deadline for the above Arena Board: March 9, 2021.
If you have any questions about this opportunity or the application process, please contact the City of Toronto's Public Appointments Secretariat at 416-397-0088 or [email protected].
Starting in September, repairs will be made to the McCormick Recreation Centre to increase accessibility, improve energy usage and refresh the facility. The work will include a complete rehabilitation of the pool area, HVAC, and installation of a new main elevator and accessible change room.
The facility will be partially open in May of 2020 with the pool expected to open in September 2020.During the closure, programming will be offered at Trinity Community Recreation Centre, Wallace Emerson Community Centre, Sorauren Park Fieldhouse and Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre. The Afterschool program will be offered at MacGregor Playground Fieldhouse. All aquatic programs have been re-routed to other facilities. For the complete schedule, please visit www.toronto.ca/swim. For specific program information visit www.toronto.ca/funguide.
My office has been meeting with the Friends of McCormick Park (FOMP) on a regular basis for the past three years and several fantastic improvements have resulted from this continuing partnership and dialogue. I am happy to report that another ground-breaking local project has just been scheduled for installation at McCormick Recreation Centre & Arena, in partnership with the City of Toronto's Renewable Energy office and Toronto Hydro.
Around two years ago, during a FOMP meeting where we were looking and the park and surrounding neighbourhood as part of a master planning process, the friends remarked that the huge open space on top of the arena and community centre would be an ideal space to blanket in solar photovoltaic panels. My office took this grassroots idea and ran with it, contacting Parks staff, the Renewable Energy Office and building the necessary partnerships to bring this project to life.
Last week my office received word that this project will be moving forward in June 2015. The solar PV system will be comprised of approximately 550 solar panels tilted at 10/15 degrees facing south. The total size is 210 kilowatt (kW DC). The system will be connected to the Toronto Hydro electrical grid and the City will receive revenues for 20 years from the sale of electricity generated by the system, through Ontario's Feed-in Tariff program.
This will be the second solar pv project installed on a City-owned building in Ward 18. One year ago we installed another system on the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) building at 760 Dovercourt Road. I look forward to facilitating more of these projects in the future and promoting grassroots community initiatives throughout Ward 18.
Project Summary Table:
Expected Commercial Operation Date
Estimated Annual Output
Estimated Annual Revenue
GHG Emissions Reduction (Tonnes/Year)
Houses off Grid/Year
[This article originally appeared in the Winter 2014/15 issue of Spacing Magazine, so you’ll have to forgive the opening paragraph. But isn’t it great that it’s spring now and warmer weather is around the corner instead of colder?]
It’s an early autumn Saturday afternoon and the chill in the air hints at colder weather around the corner. A hot coffee would hit the spot. Luckily, the shipping container café by the basketball court is open for business.
“All our packaging is biodegadeable,” I’m informed as I’m handed my Americano and veggie samosa. I wrap my hands around the cup, settle down on a bench, and enjoy a coffee from Toronto’s first shipping container café in a park.
McCormick Park, located southwest of Dundas Street and Dufferin Street, is not a park hurting for amenities. In its 1.5 hectares, there is a recreation centre with an indoor pool, a skating arena, a bocce court, a little free library, a basketball court, a wading pool, a baseball field, and a playground.
The park also benefits from an engaged group of residents called the Friends of McCormick Park who help care for an animate the space. When this group surveyed the community on what they wanted to see in the park, food was a frequent answer.
Friends group member Adriana Beemans says she and her colleagues were inspired by the community-drive café in Dufferin Grove Park.
“It helps strengthen community,” she says. “There’s something nice about sharing a coffee and talking with someone—it makes it more of a community gathering space.”
Offering food and drinks can also help animate a park in the winter, getting people outside in the cold and dreary months. “In the evening, having hot chocolate or apple cider makes that experience much nicer,” Beemans says.
Unfortunately in Toronto, being able to buy food from a café in a park is rare—even more rare is finding food that isn’t pizza, hot dogs, or hamburgers. The Friends wanted food that was local and healthy.
City Councillor Ana Bailão was supportive of the idea and approached the arena about opening up the building’s unused kitchen to the park, but they weren’t interested.
Enter that ubiquitous symbol of urban pop-ups everywhere: the shipping container.
Bailao contacted Kevin Lee at Scadding Court Community Centre, which launched the successful Market 707 shipping container market and has developed “Business out of the Box” program to bring the idea to other communities. SCCC advised on the park café project, obtaining and outfitting the shipping container for café use. The cost was covered by the City of Toronto’s community benefit funds from the Planning Act, Section 37.
The café is being run by Aangen Community Centre, a non-profit social service agency that relies on projects like the café, rather than grants, to funds its programs. It was important to have a non-profit run the café, Beemans says, so that any profit is put back into the community.
Aangen’s philosophy is about creating healthy lives and healthy communities, Executive Director Gurbeen Bhasin says. The café offers work experience and local employment for those who are in need, and she’s quick to point out that they use all local farm products and serve organic, fair trade coffee, all for under $5.
“Aangen has been wonderful in working with us in finding healthy snacks at an affordable price point,” Beemans says.
The café also helps tie the community centre in with the park, Bailão says, bringing more programming outdoors. “We have to stop thinking about programming just inside the four walls of the community centres and bring it outside.”
Indeed, Bhasin was excited speaking about the potential for activities centered around the café, from nutrition classes to movie nights to Sunday brunch. “We can explore lots of things,” she says.
Bailão hopes to see the idea replicated in other parks. There has been “great interest” from other councillors already, she says.
However, she adds that City parks staff had been somewhat concerned that shipping container cafes might quickly start popping up in parks around the city, so the McCormick Park Café will be studied for a year as a pilot project. “I’m sure there’s going to be some growing pains.”
Meanwhile, Bhasin says residents are still discovering the café, but first impressions are often positive. “They’re like, ‘wow, we didn’t know this was here,’” she says. “They’re excited about it.”
“I think people are truly impressed that we did this,” Bhasin says. “And it’s fun. It’s like, can this really happen?”
Photo by Heather Jarvis
Shipping Container Cafe to bring food and programming to McCormick Park
This fall, McCormick Park will welcome the City of Toronto's first shipping container park cafe.
Spearheaded by Councillor Ana Bailao and the Friends of McCormick Park, the container cafe aims to meet the needs identified by neighbourhood residents, to provide food and local programming for the community.
Operation of the container cafe will be lead by Aangen Community Centre and will incorporate the successes of Scadding Court Community Centre's Market 707 including supporting community engagement initiatives and micro-entrepreneurs.
Through the generous donation of two shipping containers by TAS Design Build and the commitment of Councillor Bailao, the Friends of McCormick Park, Aangen Community Centre and Scadding Court Community Centre, the container cafe will launch on September 27.
For more information, email [email protected] or call 416-392-7012.
Friends of McCormick Park look to Scadding Court’s shipping container model to bring healthy food to the community
The Friends of McCormick Park are taking a page out of the Scadding Court Community Centre’s ‘Business in a Box’ book to deliver a much-needed amenity in the 1.5 hectare park near Dufferin and Dundas West streets.
The McCormick Park Shipping Cafe Project will be an experiment in creating a not-for-profit, community-oriented food outlet and activity hub.
“Our McCormick Park Shipping Container Cafe will provide an accessible, open and flexible space to prepare and serve nutritious food for the community,” said Davenport Councillor Ana Bailao in a statement. “This is another example of Ward 18 residents and local organizations working with my office to make our neighbourhood a great place to live, work and play.”
Friends of McCormick Park have been trying for some time to figure out a way to serve food in the park, according to spokesperson Jennifer Cypher.
“We did a survey and that’s what people said they wanted,” she told The Villager.
There is a kitchen in the Mary McCormick Recreation Centre, however, commercial food cannot be prepared there because of a venting issue, Cypher said. The Friends looked into capitalizing on the snack bar at the McCormick arena, but its board wasn’t receptive to the idea.
A few months ago, Bailao approached the group about Scadding Court’s community engagement economic development project that it initiated four years ago.
“We’ve taken shipping containers and modified them into market stalls,” said Kevin Lee, executive director. “We have 17 businesses operating out of shipping containers.”
These businesses at Dundas West and Bathurst streets include retail, food, an inorganic market and many more.
“We rent them out for $11 to $24 a day so people are able to start a business. To try to rent something in Toronto is really expensive. That’s why we set this up,” Lee said.
Scadding Court also hosts community events at its market place, like TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks and movie screenings. It is because of Scadding Court’s success with its market place that the councillor approached Lee to share his expertise. Earlier this month, Lee was instrumental in helping Friends set up a shipping container at McCormick Park to showcase the potential for a shipping container cafe during Bailao’s free compost day.
“We’ve had a number of meetings with Ana Bailao and the Friends of McCormick Park,” Lee said. “We’re looking at installation for September in time for a harvest festival.”
Community members are intrigued, said Cypher, who has lived near the park for the past 10 years and has been a part of Friends of McCormick since its inception in early 2012.
“It has a lot of support,” she said.
The launch of the pilot project will coincide with the completion of the park playground’s retrofit. Construction is set to begin soon. Its footprint is expanding both east and west. There will be a new water-sand play area and a climber for older kids as well as an accessible swing and other accessible play options. Low-impact sport equipment, such as a pull up bar, will be incorporated for adults. A free library, near Brock Avenue, is set to open anytime.
As for the shipping cafe, it will take a number of months to get a sense of what its hours will be and who its customers are, Cypher said.
“We are trying to get local entrepreneurs from marginalized communities involved,” she said. “Like Scadding Court, we’re trying to make this a social enterprise.”
For further details, visit mccormickpark.ca
Innovative 'community-focused' project will activate local park
The McCormick Park Shipping Cafe Project will be an experiment in creating a not-for-profit community-oriented food outlet and activity hub.
Councillor Ana Bailão, the Friends of McCormick Park, the Scadding Court Community Centre, City of Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Aangen Community Centre and Working Women Community Centre are collaborating on an innovative pilot project that has immense potential to benefit the McCormick Park/Brockton Triangle neighbourhood. This could soon see similar shipping container cafés in parks throughout Toronto.
Showcase Date: Tuesday, June 3rd
Location: Mary McCormick Park, 66 Sheridan Ave (one block west of Dufferin, between Queen and Dundas)
This project, to be implemented later this summer, builds from the successful Market 707 project at Scadding Court Community Centre and will be customized to suit the neighbourhood’s needs of the McCormick area. On June 3rd, a 10' shipping container will be showcased and food will be served in addition to free compost that members of the community can pick-up for their gardens.
“The Friends of McCormick Park are very excited about the potential for this project to offer food for families in the park at an affordable price point. This experiment was generated by the master plan that our group created to guide future improvements in the park and we look forward to seeing this alongside our newly improved playground at the end of this summer.” - Jen Cypher, Friends of McCormick Park
“Our McCormick Park Shipping Container Cafe will provide an accessible, open and flexible space to prepare and serve nutritious food for the community. This is another example of Ward 18 residents and local organizations working with my office to make our neighbourhood a great place to live, work and play. “ - Councillor Ana Bailão
"Through our experience with our shipping container market, Market 707, Scadding Court Community Centre has witnessed how these structures can foster a strong and vibrant community that provides real opportunities for small businesses and public space for community building. Through the simple re-purposing of shipping containers, we have seen our community thrive by providing positive space for economic and social growth. We look forward to continuing to support Councillor Bailao and the McCormick Park community in defining how their own container-based community can flourish and meet the needs of local residents." - Kevin Lee, Executive Director, Scadding Court Community Centre
“We are thankful to the friends of McCormcik Park and Councillor Ana Baliao for putting together this shipping container pilot program where we can bring fresh food and products to the McCormick Park community. Aangen Community Centre is a Toronto-based, self-sustaining volunteer-run not for profit organization. We work with local farmers to bring fresh farm products to our neighbourhood and local cafes, 40% of our net proceeds go back into running our outreach initiatives where we help families in need. ” - Gurbeen Bhasin, Executive Director, Aangen Community Centre
“Working Women Community Centre is proud to embark in this journey that will bring people together. We are committed to providing opportunities for newcomers and immigrants to become more involved in their neighbourhoods and communities, and build on their existing skills, assets and ideas to develop their leadership skills. As communities change a grow our centre works closely to ensure that our holistic approach to community engagement foster new opportunities for residents and users of the McCormick park.” - Marcie Ponte, Executive Director, Working Women Community Centre
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Nicholas Gallant, Special Assistant to Councillor Ana Bailão 416-338-5275, [email protected]
Effie Vlachoyannacos, Manager of Development and Community Engagement, Scadding Court Community Centre, 416-392-0335, [email protected]
Users of McCormick Recreation Centre at 66 Sheridan Avenue in Ward 18 should note that there was flooding in the group fitness room.
Water seeped in from the roof of the building. A contractor was installing an HVAC system on the roof (in order to provide air conditioning during the summer months) and failed to properly re-seal the roof. With the recent ice-storm and subsequent warmer weather this weekend, the flooding became severe and resulted in the need to move group fitness classes.
Facilities staff at Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation are working hard to fix the problem, however there will be no group fitness classes in the group fitness room until this issue can be fully resolved. In the interim, fitness classes will take place in the youth lounge.
If this is not a suitable arrangement we will be happy to extend your pass once the programs return to the fitness room, or refund the remaining portion of your pass. Please contact Christopher Coombes at [email protected] if you would like to discuss your options.
I will endeavor to provide more updates as new information comes available.
If you have further questions or concerns about this issue, feel free to contact Nicholas Gallant in my office at 416-338-5275 or [email protected]
McCormack Park Upgrades
As part of an initiative to improve the greenery and tree canopy of McCormack Park, 24 new trees have recently been planted. I will also be working with residents to create a stewardship Council for the park to guide and inform the future improvement of the park.