45 The Esplanade photo
45 The Esplanade leased by the City of Toronto to create physical distancing.

Location: 45 The Esplanade
Shelter residents: All gender, shelter and Streets to Homes referrals
Number of rooms: up to 254 rooms
Opened: February 2021

Planned decommission: December 31, 2022

Service operator:  Homes First Society


45 The Esplanade was leased by the City in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help provide additional space for physical distancing and move people indoors from encampments.

The property owner has confirmed intentions to transition the site back to hotel operations in 2023. As such, the site will close to new admissions on October 12. The City, in partnership with Homes First, will work with residents to develop individualized relocation plans, which could include a move to another shelter or transition to permanent housing. Staff will assist clients with moves to their new locations and work to ensure a smooth transition of wrap-around supports. All relocations will be completed by December 31, 2022.

During decommissioning, the site will remain operational and all safety and security measures will remain in place.

Community Bulletins

Virtual Community Information Session on Feb 18, 2021

Thank you to everyone who participated in and watched the 45 The Esplanade Information Session on February 18, 2021.

Safety and security is a priority for the City and ongoing safety planning is a key component of the community engagement process. The operator of the site, Homes First, works closely with Toronto Police Services, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and Corporate Security at the City of Toronto to develop community safety measures for the location. Homes First also brings management practices that have proven successful at its other locations. All Homes First staff are trained on de-escalation, conflict resolution and crisis prevention, intervention and management.

A number of community safety initiatives and measures are in place and are reviewed periodically by the City, in partnership with Homes First. Some of these community safety items include:

  • A security team of four guards and a team of two community safety team members provide onsite support inside the shelter and the immediate perimeter of the property.
  • Security personnel perform hourly, proactive patrols of the exterior and perimeter of 45 The Esplanade to ensure the safety and wellness of staff and clients, and respond to and deter against prohibited activities.
  • A community safety team is stationed immediately outside of 45 The Esplanade every day for 12 hours per day to help keep the area clean and de-escalate issues that may arise.
  • Two Community Safety Teams conduct 24/7 patrols in the area around the property from Yonge Street to Parliament Street, and from Lakeshore Boulevard East to Richmond Street. These teams are connected with four Community Safety Teams that operate 24/7 in the downtown core.
  • All Community Safety Team members are trained to respond to immediate non-police or non-EMS related matters when made aware by the community. Community Safety Teams will also be patrolling “hotspots” identified by the community and picking up needles. Shelter residents themselves will be assisting with community clean-ups and picking up drug paraphernalia
  • Two paid-duty Toronto Police officers have been contracted  24/7 to support the security efforts and patrol the Esplanade area.
  • An onsite video surveillance system that is proactively monitored.
  • A contracted team to survey and clean the area three times weekly of any drug paraphernalia.

The City and Homes First continue to closely evaluate the value of this program based on the data that is being collected and making appropriate adjustments to this program as we go to best utilize this resource effectively during peak periods of activity.

Additional updates will be provided at the Community Liaison Committee meetings (mentioned below) and on this webpage.

You can reach the Community Safety Team by telephone at 647-333-0478 and by email at securedbyus@gmail.com.

The City has contracted management and provision of service at 45 The Esplanade to Homes First. Homes First has been providing supportive housing and shelter services to Toronto residents for over 35 years, with a focus on the chronically homeless, people with complex mental health and addictions issues, and seniors.

This site is open to adult singles and couples. A key focus of this site is to provide space for people currently experiencing homelessness in the City of Toronto.

Services made available for residents at 45 The Esplanade include:

  • A minimum of 12 Homes First staff are available on-site to support clients 24/7 in addition to supervisors on each shift
  • Special supervisors in Health Navigation and Living Standards are integrated into the program
  • Residents are assigned an Intensive Case Management Worker and a Housing Help Worker to work with them on developing a permanent housing plan and a plan to obtain personal documents, a local primary care physician, employment, etc.
  • All meals are provided onsite
  • Recreational and social engagement programming is offered onsite
  • The Inner City Health Associates and Multi-Discipline Outreach Teams provide a number of mental and physical health related supports including nursing, a clinic with a primary care physician and psychiatry support
  • Pharmacy is onsite every day
  • Physical, social and health supports from individuals and organizations serving people experiencing homelessness are invited to continue their work at 45 The Esplanade
  • Harm reduction supports onsite (see below for more information)
  • Control for containing COVID-19 will include internal cleaning protocols for dining and elevator

Services listed are only available to shelter residents.

Toronto is seeing a substantial rise in fatal opioid overdoses and related shelter deaths, which is increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

iPHARE, which stands for Integrated Prevention and Harm Reduction initiative, is a multi-pronged effort by the City and community agencies to address opioid-related deaths in Toronto’s shelter system. As part of iPHARE, the City is working with Toronto Public Health and other community harm reduction programs to introduce a range of harm reduction measures in all shelter locations.

The temporary shelter at 45 The Esplanade has harm reduction measures as part of the iPHARE program. This includes an Urgent Public Health Needs Site. The City of Toronto has established Urgent Public Health Needs Sites, also known as overdose prevention sites or supervised consumption services, to allow shelter residents to consume drugs under trained supervision to reduce the risk of overdose.

iPHARE will save lives, reduce public drug use and reduce drug paraphernalia in parks and public spaces in communities. It will also assist first responders, harm reduction workers and shelter workers who are faced every day with the difficult job of reversing overdoses or coping with overdose fatalities.

Visit the iPHARE web page to learn more. You can also sign up to get e-updates, and share your comments and questions online.

The Shelter Hotel Overdose Prevention Project (SHOPP) is also active at 45 The Esplanade. SHOPP is a community designed response to the opioid crisis where people with lived experience of homelessness and who have experience with drug use provide support to resident residents. People at risk of overdose can use their drugs in front of, and with the support of, a SHOPP peer worker who is trained in overdose prevention and response measures like administering Naloxone, oxygen, CPR, and who can call emergency services if needed.

Learn more about overdoses in homelessness service settings.

For 45 The Esplanade, the City established a community engagement team to connect with community residents and stakeholders. Due to current physical distancing restrictions, internet tools like online meetings, email bulletins, and online posting of information have been used to establish regular communications, keep residents informed and address any concerns or issues that arise.

Community Liaison Committee: A key highlight to the community engagement process is the formation of a Community Liaison Committee (CLC), with membership and input from the existing CLC in the area. A CLC is a formal committee connected to a shelter service made up of representatives of the community (condo boards, residence associations, businesses or local community organizations) that meets semi-regularly to address questions, share information, discuss and collectively problem solve community concerns.

If you have questions about the Community Liaison Committee, or are interested in participating, please review the Terms of Reference and email the Manager of Community Engagement & Client Programming at Ryan.Evershed@homesfirst.on.ca.

Get in touch with the Manager of Community Engagement & Client Programming: Ryan.Evershed@homesfirst.on.ca.

General inquiries about homelessness services can be directed to:  ssha.homeless@toronto.ca

For site inquiries and immediate concerns at 45 The Esplanade, please contact: 647-454-8824


We appreciate that the community is very interested in 45 The Esplanade and have questions and concerns. Representatives from the City and community partners who operate and engage with the community are available to respond to these questions and concerns. However, please note that communications should be respectful. The City of Toronto is an inclusive public organization. Racist or other forms of prejudicial, derogatory, or discriminatory comments and questions, including name calling, will not be tolerated.