The concerns for affordable housing in the downtown core promoted the development of a Housing Task Force at Holy Trinity in the late seventies when the Cadillac Fairview/ Eaton Centre/Bell Telephone development began. Holy Trinity insisted that land for affordable housing should be available in return for land lost by Holy Trinity in the whole project.
We settled for a promise of land in the downtown core. It did, however, take many years, hours of volunteer time and effort, including the formation and incorporation of a consortium of Holy Trinity, St. James Cathedral, Metropolitan United Church and Central Neighbourhood House (Victoria Shuter Non-Profit Housing), and eventually the hiring by Holy Trinity of a staff member to specifically assist with housing work, before the fulfilment of the initial dream.
The legacy of this work are two apartment buildings. Although we were instrumental in the establishment of them, we no longer have any operational oversight of either complex.
Mary Lambert-Swale, named for the Holy Trinity benefactor and foundress, is a 75-unit building at 269 Jarvis St.
John Frank Place is a 138-unit apartment building at 80 Dundas Street East named by the tenants to commemorate the former social activist priest of Holy Trinity who brought concerns of the homeless to the fore during the great depression of the ’30s.
Both projects were developed and are run on the principles of building tenant communities, open to diversity and emphasizing safety and affordability with opportunities for cooperative projects and tenant participation in management. Both projects have continuing participation of community members on committees and on the Board, along with tenant members.
This brief statement hides a multitude of negotiations with other developers, with the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario Housing Ministry, with architects, lawyers, contractors and neighbours, symbolized by the continuing name of Victoria Shuter Non-Profit Housing Corporation, in spite of the fact that we did not build on the corner first promised.