| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Development News

City adopts idea of food education hub on TDSB property at Dufferin and Bloor

The city is moving ahead on a proposal to a Toronto District School Board property into a hub for food and learning.

As Yonge Street reported in the spring, the 7.3-acre site at the corner of Bloor Street and Dufferin Street) is home of Bloor Collegiate Institute, Alpha II Alternative School and Kent Senior Public School. But the TDSB has designated the property for redevelopment and the city has put together an idea that would turn it into a community hub focusing on food and agriculture.

City council voted this week to enter into discussions with Toronto Lands Corporation (which is tasked with handling underused TDSB real estate), the Toronto District School Board, the province and FoodShare, a non-profit that works with communities and schools to deliver healthy food and food education, and other groups to come up with a plan. FoodShare’s HQ is already in the neighbourhood. The total property involved in a deal would be 10.4 acres and include Brockton High School, though a portion of the property would likely be sold to private developers to generate some revenue from the project.

“The property is strategically important for all four of the city’s defined municipal interests in school properties, and in particular is recommended as the setting for a flagship urban agriculture centre/community food hub, as requested by Council in 2013,” states the city’s agenda item. “Such a hub would promote linkages between education, community economic development and a healthy, sustainable urban food system.”

The staff report points out that there is a significant shortfall of licensed infant child care spaces in
Ward 18, where the property is located, as well as a shortage of parkland, both of which could be remedied with the right kind of facility. Since the provincial government has made the creation of community hubs one of its signature priorities, the city is hoping there will be increased motivation (and possibly cash) to make it happen. “Hubs can provide co-located services that are managed and delivered separately, or the hubs may be coordinated to respond to specific needs, populations, or sectors,” states the report. “Community hubs are advantageous in Toronto for many reasons, including potential cost-savings, service alignments and integration, the ability to target priority populations, bringing services to residents in their neighbourhoods, providing better customer service, and maximizing the use of and repurposing of public property. Every community hub will be spatially and organizationally unique, to reflect local conditions and community needs.”

An urban agriculture centre would provide education and training around growing food, provide economic opportunities and pathways to employment in the food processing and catering sectors, improve the city’s green infrastructure and create a vibrant public space.

The TDSB will review an updated report on the proposal next month.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: City of Toronto

UPDATE: The headline and story have been amended to reflect council adopting the item at its Sep. 30 session.
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts

Related Content