The Government of Canada committed to providing $25 million to the City of Toronto towards the new Lawrence Heights Community Recreation & Child Care Centre – one of the City’s largest community and recreation centres at 72,000 square feet and serving more than 48,000 residents.

The new facility is part of TCHC’s Lawrence Heights Revitalization project, which includes replacing 1,208 TCHC units, building more than 4,000 new market units, along with new parks, retail space and roads connecting Lawrence Heights to the surrounding community.

The funding comes from the federal government’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program and offsets part of the $128 million Toronto City Council has budgeted for the centre’s construction and design. Additionally, the City has budgeted $13 million for the new child care centre.

“Today’s historic federal funding announcement under the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program will see the construction of a new community centre in Lawrence Heights, one of the largest public housing communities in Canada. This new community centre will be resident focused, provide a multitude of services, and create a safe and inclusive space. Revitalizing our neighbourhoods is an important priority for the federal government, and our investment in this project will contribute to a higher quality of life for the community,” said Marco Mendicino, MP for Eglinton-Lawrence.

Designed to minimize carbon emissions, the facility will feature two pools; a double gymnasium with a raised track; fitness, dance, and aerobic studios; weights and conditioning rooms; multi-purpose rooms; a community kitchen; and space for a social services office. Indigenous place keeping elements will also be included in the design

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“This is a wonderful example of how Federal and Municipal governments can come together and work towards creating better communities and recreational opportunities that are so important to the health and wellbeing of our residents. We would like to thank the Federal government for their significant funding which will go towards building a beautiful community recreation and child care centre that will serve generations to come,” said Mayor Olivia Chow.

Some of the proposed community recreation facility features include:

  • A six-lane, 25-metre pool and leisure pool
  • A double gymnasium with a raised track
  • Fitness, dance and aerobic studios, as well as weight and conditioning rooms
  • Multi-purpose rooms, a community kitchen and a social services office
  • Indigenous Placekeeping elements

The new child care centre will have 88 spaces including 10 infant spaces, 30 toddler spaces and 48 pre-school spaces.

The existing community centre will remain open until the new facility is built and operational.

“I am thrilled that this community will have access to this beautiful, new high-performance, multi-purpose facility. As this neighbourhood continues to grow and transform, it’s essential that local residents have access to a modern facility that they need and deserve. It will provide new programs and services that will support the success and well-being of the community and a safe space for youth,” said Deputy Mayor Mike Colle, Councillor (Eglinton-Lawrence).

The existing Lawrence Heights Community Centre has been an important gathering place for residents and the surrounding community since the mid-sixties. To ensure it continues to be a welcoming and inclusive space for all, the new facility is being designed with the community through an extensive public engagement and consultation process. This work began in 2022 and includes participation from Indigenous communities and Rights Holders, youth, seniors, families, people with special needs, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) residents and racialized community members. Phase two of community engagement will begin later this month and will focus on sharing draft design options to the local community for feedback.

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“We are proud to deliver a state-of-the-art City of Toronto facility and gathering place that meets the needs of the neighbourhoods that surround it. This centre will help us meet Toronto’s goal of becoming a net zero city while providing more child care opportunities for families in the Lawrence Heights Community,” said Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Infrastructure and Environment Committee Chair.

Featured image: (City of Toronto)

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