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The Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS) is the City of Toronto’s action plan for building partnerships in Toronto’s neighbourhoods so they can succeed and thrive. The strategy supports community well-being by partnering with residents, community agencies and businesses to invest in people, services, programs and facilities in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs). The strategy strengthens the social, economic and physical conditions and delivers local impact for city-wide change.

TSNS Mission

To achieve equitable opportunities across all Toronto neighbourhoods by:

  • Activating people
  • Activating resources
  • Activating neighbourhood friendly policies

TSNS Vision

No matter what neighbourhood Torontonians call home, there are equitable opportunities for well-being.

TSNS: Then & Now

In 2005, City Council identified 13 Priority Neighbourhoods as part of the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy. In 2011, residents, businesses and agencies from across Toronto helped review the Strategy and suggested ways to improve it. The Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS)  included their suggestions and reflects how neighbourhoods are doing now, with an updated list of Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

Throughout 2019, City staff partnered with residents, agencies and businesses to begin the TSNS evaluation process. Feedback was collected through online surveys, focus groups, and at a Neighbourhood Summit event.

In March 2020, Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy activities were paused in order for City staff to support the emergency needs of disproportionately impacted residents, families and communities through the TO Supports: COVID-19 Equity Action Plan. City staff and United Way of Greater Toronto developed the Community Coordination Plan to inform and collaborate with community-based organizations to connect residents to resources, services, programs, and partnerships during the COVID-19 pandemic. City staff continue to work with community-based organizations across the City to operate the Community Coordination Plan to support issues management, ongoing sector engagement, and service coordination for the City’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

Based on 2022-2023 engagement activities and evaluation learnings, City staff have updated their approach to engage with local residents and community-led groups with ongoing opportunities to participate in City equity strategies and action plans, including the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy.

City staff have been working with Social Planning Toronto to support the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS) Advisory Group. The TSNS Advisory Group is made up of passionate leaders from Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and Emerging Neighbourhoods.

The Advisory Group provides input on:

  • City-wide networking
  • Priority setting and implementation that is responsive to the priorities of advisory members
  • An equitable approach to neighbourhood wellbeing and resiliency to address challenges that have surfaced and/or been exacerbated
  • Neighbourhood-level strategic planning and coordination
  • Succession planning for community leadership
  • Strengthening the connection between systems-level coordination and locally determined community priorities
  • Engagement of Black, Indigenous and other equity-deserving groups

TSNS Advisory Group members have developed a Resident Engagement Toolkit designed to support community-based organizations and City partners in deepening their understanding of the best practices for engagement, particularly with equity-deserving groups. This toolkit will be publicly available Fall 2023.


In 2022, City staff surveyed over 90 community and resident-led groups to deepen the City’s understanding of community-based leadership and engagement activities, and how they might be better supported through the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS). Based on these survey responses City staff engaged external community consultants to host four virtual discussion sessions with community and resident-led groups to help further inform the TSNS engagement plan.

Key findings and recommendations from these discussion sessions included:

  • Establishing neighbourhood-based and cross-community networking and collaboration opportunities
  • Creating a centralized online system to access information and resources
  • Providing access to resources to support network engagement
  • Connecting community and resident-led groups to training and skill development opportunities that support community-based leadership and activities

Local Leaders Forum

City staff established the Local Leaders Forum to support community and resident-led groups from all neighbourhoods. The Local Leaders Forum aligns with the TSNS and other City Equity Strategies, and incorporates learnings from the ongoing work of the Community Coordination Plan.

The Local Leaders Forum is virtually convened in quarterly sessions to provide:

  • Opportunities to gather information about City initiatives, capacity building and/or other resources
  • Connections to community organizations and networking opportunities that support learning, relationship building, and/or collaboration
  • Space where resident leaders and community-led groups can deepen their connections with each other and explore synergies

Goals of the Local Leaders Forum include:

  • Introduction of City Service engagement, community development and capacity building opportunities
  • Best practices for being responsive to community issues and residents/community members while supporting equitable approaches to neighbourhood wellbeing and resiliency
  • Intentional engagement of Black, Indigenous and other equity-deserving groups

Social Planning Toronto is working with the City of Toronto to deliver the Building Community Strength Workshop Series to support continuous learning and skill building for community and resident leaders. Workshop sessions are divided into three groups that focus on three unique themes.

Group 1: Building Community

This workshop group is for community members starting out in their community engagement journey and who are interested in becoming community development leaders.

Session Topics include:

  • Facilitation Skills
  • Relationship Building, Group Dynamics & Creating Welcoming Community Spaces
  • Conflict Resolution

Group 2: Inspiring Change

This workshop group is for community members who have some experience in community development and are interested in connecting their engagement actions to City decision making and policy and systems change.

Session Topics include:

  • City Governance & Civic Engagement
  • Community Development & Dynamics of Power
  • Facilitation Skills using Civic Engagement Tools

Group 3: Sustaining the Movement

This workshop group is for community members who have significant experience in community development and are interested in adding to those experiences with technical skills and a deeper understanding of how to maintain community engagement actions and activities.

Session Topics include:

  • Applying for Grants & Working with Trustees
  • Outreach & Engagement – Promising Practices
  • Collaboration & Consensus Decision Making

A final Community Asset Mapping session will be held for all workshop group participants to create space for everyone to work together to map out community assets, build neighborhood/community pride, and knowledge-share about how community asset maps can be used to inform and enhance community development.

To support continued engagement through Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS), City staff are working with The Neighbourhood Organization, in partnership with Rexdale Community Health Centre, Progress Place – West Mount Dennis Community Place Hub, University Health Network – Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine, The Neighbourhood Group and St James Town Community Corner, to establish an Ambassador program that supports TSNS Community Networks. This initiative grows out of learnings from the City’s Vaccine Engagement Teams as Ambassadors are positioned in communities to increase and/or enhance communication, trust, engagement and information sharing across equity-deserving groups and communities. This approach will aim to deepen relationships and connections across five regional areas representing 9 TSNS Community Networks.

Implementation will follow a phased approach, as follows:

Community Coordination Plan Clusters Community Networks Total # of Ambassadors Implementation Timeline
North Etobicoke North Etobicoke 2 January 2024
South Scarborough South Scarborough 2 January 2024
East York Don Valley East York Don Valley 2 January 2024
Black Creek Humber Summit Jane Finch Downsview 2 March 2024
York Weston Pelham York Weston Pelham 2 March 2024
Downtown East, Downtown West Downtown 2 March 2024
North Scarborough North Scarborough 2 May 2024
North York North York 2 May 2024
South Etobicoke South Etobicoke 2 May 2024

Learn more about Community Coordination Plan Clusters.

Ambassadors will be recruited to:

  • Inform local resident and community-led groups of City service and community sector opportunities, actions and investments
  • Engage local groups and resident leaders to increase awareness of locally led activities
  • Promote collaboration and coordination opportunities among network participants
  • Convene, administer and monitor Community Network meetings

As a part of Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS) engagement in 2023, Community Development Unit staff outlined a TSNS Community Network Engagement plan that will be implemented in a multi-step, phased process.

This phased approach to TSNS Community Network development will:

  • Provide an in-depth TSNS update to residents and community members, including 2019 evaluation findings, 2022 TSNS Advisory Group actions, and Local Group consultation
  • Position resident leaders and community members at the center of TSNS Community Networks and civic engagement activities
  • Align the work of various resident leaders, community members, and related groups, from across Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs), Emerging Neighbourhoods (ENs), and other communities of focus
  • Prioritize the participation of Black, Indigenous and other equity-deserving groups

Inform, Engage, Collaborate

Building on previous learning models, the Inform, Engage, Collaborate approach will develop a shared understanding among participants and center equity across all TSNS Community Networks. City staff will work with The Neighbourhood Organization, in partnership with Rexdale Community Health Centre, Progress Place -Community Place Hub, University Health Network – Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine, The Neighbourhood Group, and The Corner @ SJT, as well as TSNS Advisory Group members and Social Planning Toronto to highlight outputs of partnership work. Community Development Unit staff will work with an external facilitator to develop and lead sessions based on the framework that is provided by City staff

Inform Sessions

Inform sessions will offer a brief history of TSNS and an engagement update, an overview of the engagement apporach, and an opportunity for dialogue with participants. This will include:

  • TSNS timeline and actions review
  • Information about the Community Leaders Newsletter, Local Leaders Forum and Community Networks
  • Resource availability, roles and responsibilities, timelines, place-based and equity-driven approaches to engagement
  • An explanation of how resident leaders and community members might participate in TSNS Community Networks through upcoming Engage and Collaborate sessions
Session Date & Time Time Location
Oct 12, 2023 6 – 8 p.m. Virtual on WebEx
Oct 18, 2023 6 – 8 p.m. Virtual on WebEx
Oct 26, 2023 6 – 8 p.m. Virtual on WebEx
Nov 2, 2023 6 – 8 p.m. Virtual on WebEx
Nov 7, 2023 6 – 8 p.m. Virtual on WebEx


Register for a session

Engage Session

An in-person Engage session will be held in December 2023 and will invite interested community and resident-led group leaders to:

  • Deepen their understanding of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)
  • Participate in a community asset mapping exercise
  • Establish collaborative relationships with other participants who live/work/play in the same geographical area
  • Identify how individuals/groups can come together to jointly develop a TSNS Community Network for their geographic area
  • Develop an understanding of the Community Playbook that has been developed by Social Planning Toronto
  • Develop an understanding of the Resident Engagement Toolkit that has been developed by the TSNS Advisory Group

Collaborate Sessions

A series of in-person Collaborate sessions will be held to support each newly aligned TSNS Community Network, based on their individual needs, to:

  • Completing the TSNS Community Network Playbook during an interactive in-person meeting
  • Identifying key roles, priorities and actions for various TSNS Community Networks
  • Clarify the purpose and practice of the Network and its alignment with TSNS

City staff have partnered with Social Planning Toronto to develop a Community Playbook for engaging Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS) Community Networks. The playbook will serve as a place-based engagement guide with tools and resources to support the work of each TSNS Community Network.

Implementing the Community Playbook will:

  • Increase tracking of local actions, resident leader capacity building and city-wide networking
  • Identify local resident/community-led groups who are connecting with TSNS and Community Safety Networks
  • Support autonomy and continued local leadership of community groups
  • Allow for city-wide sharing of local actions and achievements

City of Toronto Community Hubs are designed to house City services, non-profit partner services and offer community space to local community groups in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

You can find a wide range of programs, services and community space all available in a single location.

For information regarding specific programs, services and available space in your area please contact the Community Hub you are interested in directly.

Hub Name Address Programs & Services Contact Information
Keele Community Hub 1652 Keele Street

Toronto, Ontario, M6M 3W3

  • 5 Non-Profit Community Organizations & The City of Toronto’s Social Development Finance and Administration, Community Development Unit
  • Agencies that provide on site programs and services include:
    • For Youth Initiative
    • Woman Abuse Council of Toronto
    • Midaynta Community Services
    • York Hispanic Centre
Community Hub Coordinator: Melodie Anderson


Phone: 416-392-2981

Dawes Road Library & Community Hub 416 Dawes Road

Toronto, Ontario,
M4B 2E8

  • The entire Dawes Road library branch will be reconstructed at its current location and expanded to also include a Community Hub run by the City of Toronto. All public spaces will be revitalized to ensure that they meet the needs of our vibrant community.
Email anytime with your suggestions or questions.

The City of Toronto now has 158 social planning neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood designations help City staff collect data, plan, analyze and forecast City services. While these neighbourhoods may not fully encompass every historical, cultural, ethnic or economic neighbourhood area, they do provide a way for planners and researchers to track information about them over time.  Learn more about updates to Toronto’s social planning neighbourhoods.

Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool (HEART) Domains

In 2014, the City used the Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool to score neighbourhoods under five domains of neighbourhood well-being.  The five domains were:

  1. Economic Opportunities: The Economic Opportunities theme is about the economic status that neighbourhood residents can achieve; it includes income levels and quality job opportunities.
  2. Social Development: The Social Development theme is about the opportunities and connections that help residents reach their full potential; it includes education, literacy, and access to social, recreation, and cultural services.
  3. Participation in Decision Making: The Participation in Decision Making theme is about the opportunities for neighbourhood residents to get involved in making local and city-wide decisions; it includes voting in elections and working with neighbourhoods to make plans and priorities.
  4. Healthy Lives: The Healthy Lives theme is about the physical and mental health of neighbourhood residents; it includes medical care, disabilities and illnesses that residents live with, and the number of years that residents live in good health.
  5. Physical Surroundings: The Physical Environment theme is about the natural and built environment in the neighbourhood, community, or workplace; it includes access to transportation, parks and green spaces, public meeting spaces, and air quality.

The Urban HEART scores helped the City identify Neighbourhoods Improvement Areas for additional investment through the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy.