Slated to open in late 2018, Artscape Weston Common will be a dynamic, publicly accessible space, enlivened and activated by arts and culture in the Weston community of Toronto. Artscape Weston Common will be a community cultural hub composed of an indoor programming space, an outdoor programming space and affordable housing for artists. It will seek to maximize community benefit, providing a platform for arts programming that is accessible to the entire community, and that responds to the social and cultural diversity of the community.
Artscape Weston Common will transform ground floor space in the podium of an existing high-rise apartment building, located just east of Weston Road between King and John Streets, north of Lawrence Avenue West. The project also includes the redevelopment of a surplus parking lot as public outdoor programming space. Artscape Weston Common is part of a larger development by the Rockport Group, which will also see the addition of approximately 350 new rental homes to the site.
The community cultural hub will consist of:
- An indoor programming space of approximately 8,200 square feet that will be operated by Artscape. The community cultural hub’s indoor spaces will provide a venue for public arts programming and space for not-for-profit arts, cultural and community organizations.
- An adjacent outdoor programming space of about 12,400 square feet that will be programmed by Artscape as well as its tenants and program partners. It will serve as a community gathering place, including for the organizers of the Weston Farmers’ Market and other groups planning community events/uses.
- 26 affordable housing units for artist-led families, and managed by Artscape.
Artscape will be the facility operator, and will have legal and financial responsibility for the operations of Artscape Weston Common.
Artscape Weston Common is a project of Artscape, a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms community. You may know us through our popular community cultural hubs located across the city; our live/work studios and multi-purpose creative spaces; our distinctive event venues run as social enterprises; or the innovative programs and services we offer to artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural professionals. Discover Artscape at Artscape.ca. Find our tools and resources for creative placemakers at ArtscapeDIY.org.
What is a community cultural hub?
A community cultural hub is a place where artists, local residents, community leaders, organizations, governments and businesses combine their efforts to foster culture and community. There are many different types of community cultural hubs. The vision for a community cultural hub is best built from the ground up in response to the needs, dreams and aspirations of community stakeholders.
Community cultural hubs are often multi-tenanted facilities including a range of components such as: theatres, galleries, and other types of indoor and outdoor public programming spaces; offices for cultural and community-based organizations; affordable housing for artist-led families; urban agriculture and food security initiatives; and social innovation centres. Community cultural hubs are often designed to serve multiple needs and interests and therefore can generate strong positive cultural, economic, social and environmental outcomes.
What Makes this projet a Community Hub
The vision for Artscape Weston Common will be developed from the ground up in the local community and will respond to the needs and interests of neighbours, community partners and other local stakeholders . Plans for Artscape Weston Common will be developed in response to this shared vision and the community will continue to have an important role to play in stewarding the project once it has opened.
How does it work?
Artscape Weston Common is not funded by the public–it has to pay for itself. The project is built on a social enterprise model to maximize community benefit and accessibility.
The spaces and programming at the Hub will be supported by a Community Access Fund, created by a gift from Rockport and by Artscape fundraising. The Fund will ensure the Hub is financially accessible and sustainable for the first 15 years of its operation. The Fund will support high levels of free community access to event, flex and meeting space, affordable rents for Hub tenants and accessible programming.
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Partners & the Larger Development
Artscape Weston Common is made possible by an innovative partnership between Artscape, the City of Toronto and private developer the Rockport Group together with its development partner Woodbourne Capital Management. Artscape Weston Common is part of a larger development project involving these project partners that has been championed for many years by area City Councillor Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston).
About the City of Toronto Affordable Housing Office
Creating and maintaining affordable housing is one of the City of Toronto’s key priorities. The Affordable Housing Office expedites affordable housing development, facilitates the development of new policy and works in partnership with the federal and provincial governments and the private and voluntary sectors on a range of initiatives.
About the Rockport Group
The Rockport Group is the development partner for Artscape Weston Common, having enlisted Artscape to lead the community cultural hub component of the larger redevelopment taking place on John Street. For almost 60 years, Rockport has developed and built innovative projects and has provided thousands of people in Toronto and the GTA wonderful places to live, work and play. Rockport was an early adopter of the idea of ‘intensification’ and making the most of its urban resources. Rockport is focused on the delivery of high quality mid and high-rise condominiums, outstanding retirement residences, leading edge purpose built rental apartments and unique retail/commercial environments. Rockport’s unsurpassed commitment to ‘thinking like a customer’ and attention to detail has earned them their reputation as one of Toronto’s leading providers of outstanding real estate service products.
Our steering committee will guide our community consultations process. The members of this committee are:
- Laura Alderson (Vice-chair, Weston Village Residents’ Association; community member)
- Debra Baptiste (Artscape Board member; arts administrator)
- Mike Fenton (Executive Director, ACG)
- Rosa Fracassa (Professor, George Brown College; community member)
- Marlene McKintosh (Executive Director, UrbanArts)
- Suri Weinberg-Linsky (Local business owner; community member)
- Shadya Yasin (Coordinator, York Youth Coalition; community member)
Local residents, organizations, businesses and community leaders have been directly involved in the development of the community cultural hub concept since the origins of the project in 2010. Artscape will continue to develop the vision for Artscape Weston Common with the local community. The Weston community will eventually contribute to guiding the operations of the hub through participation in advisory and steering committees, the details of which will be established in a community stewardship plan.
2015: Artscape begins community consultation process
2016-2017: Construction phase
2018: Anticipated project completion