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The Village Prepares for WorldPride: The 519 releases report on The Village Study as the Church Wellesley Village prepares to welcome the world

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

After more than a year of consultation and planning and just days before WorldPride, The 519 released the final report from The Planning Partnership which proposes the next steps to ensure a strong, vibrant LGBTQ village in Toronto.

The Village Study, led with the support of TD Bank Group, investigated two key questions: “What is the role of a ‘LGBTQ village’ in a modern, progressive city?” and “What must be done to support the Church-Wellesley Village to solidify its role as a major cultural and community hub now and into the future?”

“Thousands of stakeholders participated in surveys, town halls and focus groups to contribute to this plan” stated Maura Lawless, Executive Director of The 519. “The final report provides the community with a strong foundation upon which we can plan, collaborate on and advocate for the future of The Village and to ensure socially inclusive communities.”

The report details recommendations on enhancing the cultural framework of the neighbourhood, developing a cohesive, intentional public realm and engaging with the development process to moderate and influence changes to the built form.

“Our neighbourhoods form an integral part of our branch community, and as the platinum sponsor of World Pride, our Church and Wellesley branch stands proudly at the centre of the action,” shared Tim Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of TD Asset Management. “Through this report, we can be sure that the Village will continue to grow and prosper for years to come.”

Over the coming months, The 519, the business and neighbourhood associations in The Village will review the report and develop an action plan for moving the recommendations forward. A summit is being coordinated for September that will bring together key stakeholders to develop an annual update on the plan and its successes.

“We are looking forward to working closely with our communities to review the report and to develop a strategy on how we can advance its recommendations” stated Tyler Fleming, Chair of The 519’s Board of Management. “Some of the report’s recommendations require more time to review, but there are many recommendations on which we have consensus and which we can begin implementing immediately.”

The full report is available for review here: RPT_TheVillageStudyPhase2_140422 (PDF, 9MB)

 

The 519 Church Street Community Centre is an agency of the City of Toronto with a mandate for building healthier, more welcoming communities for Toronto’s downtown and LGBTQ residents. As a charitable public-private partnership of the City, The 519 receives core funding to maintain public access to its building while attracting individual, corporate and government investment in its programs. In 2013, The 519 received more than $2.80 in community investment for every dollar provided in core funding. Through innovative and engaging community programs and partnerships, The 519 enables over 200,000 people to meet, participate and celebrate together every year.

 

What people are saying about The Village Study:

 

“The Village Study represents an extraordinary planning initiative that has made exceptional efforts at reaching far into the depths of this complex community – the social lens that this report brings to bare and reinforces is, to my knowledge, unmatched in neighbourhood planning.  There are solid and progressive ideas contained here for community governance and self-determination, enhancing the built environment and livability, and for asserting and thriving the LBGTQ social and cultural dimension.”

Harold Madi, Director of Urban Design, City of Toronto

 

“This report is an important step forward for our community in terms of having a solid plan that we can all work from. We are proud to be working hand-in-hand with our neighbours and our community centre to build a stronger, healthier neighbourhood.”

Mychol Scully, General Manager, Church Wellesley Village BIA

 

“Collaboration between community institutions, local businesses and residents is essential to build healthy neighbourhoods. The recommendations in this report provide some concrete first steps that will help us to build consensus around our next steps as a neighbourhood community.”

Andrew Horberry, President, Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association

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Church and Wellesley under review, community planning study underway.

Friday, April 26th, 2013

“For nearly 40 years The 519 has stood at the heart of this neighbourhood and we have experienced its continuous evolution and growth. We are excited to work with our community and a diverse group of stakeholders to identify opportunities for supporting and enhancing our village over the next 40 years.”

Maura Lawless, The 519 Executive Director

This spring, with World Pride just months away, a team of urban planners, community enthusiasts and activists, neighbours and businesses will be taking a closer look at Toronto’s Church and Wellesley Village. The 519 has hired a team of consultants to answer two key questions: “What is the role of a ‘LGBTQ village’ in a modern, progressive city?” and “What must be done to support the Church-Wellesley Village to solidify its role as a major cultural and community hub in the Toronto context now and into the future?”

The Village Study will be managed by the Planning Partnership with the support of Ken Greenberg, Jane Farrow, Doug Kerr and N. Barry Lyons Consultants. The project will have two phases; the first will examine the Church Wellesley Village today and look at other LGBTQ villages in order to understand the opportunities and constraints that will influence and inform the future of the Village. The second phase aims to develop a vision and plan that incorporates social, economic and urban components in the short, medium and long-term. The plan will play an integral role in focusing village priorities as we head into World Pride in 2014 and the Pan Am / Para Pan Am Games in 2015.

The full project plan, including strategic advisors, steering committee and opportunities for public engagement and consultation, will be announced in the coming weeks. Visit The Village Study page on our website for updates: http://www.the519.org/newsfeed/thevillagestudy

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