Today, Mayor John Tory and Chief Jason Gauthier, from the Missanabie Cree First Nation, announced the Missanabie Cree First Nation as the development partner for new housing at 140 Merton St.
Mayor Tory and Chief Gauthier were joined by Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee, Nicholas Gefucia, Vice President, EllisDon Community Builders, and representatives from CreateTO.
The site at 140 Merton St. will be the first non-profit developed Housing Now site led by an Indigenous organization and will be dedicated to providing housing options for Indigenous elders and other seniors. It will provide 184 new rental homes, of which approximately 50 per cent will be affordable. Rents for the affordable homes will average 77 per cent Average Market Rent (AMR), with 15 per cent of these homes set aside as deeply affordable (40 per cent AMR). The building will also include ceremonial space, a smudging room and indoor and outdoor amenities for residents.
The site is currently home to SPRINT Senior Care, a community agency that provides services to midtown Toronto seniors ageing in place. SPRINT will be temporarily relocated next door and will return to 140 Merton St. once construction is completed. The City will also be providing an additional community space as part of the redevelopment for the future tenants of 140 Merton St. and the senior community in midtown Toronto. The operator of this community space will be determined through a competitive call for proposals process, led by the City.
Beginning in 2019, City staff, in conjunction with the area Councillor, held community meetings and consultations regarding the proposed redevelopment of 140 Merton St. These activities included two public open houses and additional community consultation activities. In June 2021, a Request for Proposals (RFP) for this site was issued to the non-profit sector.
The City received a number of proposals in response to this call. The project was awarded to the Missanabie Cree First Nation, whose team includes EllisDon Community Builders,
based on their affordability and financial commitments, their commitment to community benefits and their experience delivering supportive housing for seniors. Missanabie Cree First Nation is active in community building and reconciliation by leading and contributing (including financially) to initiatives in health, elder care, affordable housing, economic development, relationship-building, culture and intercultural dialogue.
The City is supporting the delivery of this project through the Housing Now Initiative which includes dedicating City-owned land and financial incentives for the development of affordable housing within mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented communities. In total, 21 sites have been approved to date as part of the Housing Now Initiative and will deliver more than 14,600 new residential homes across Toronto, including more than 10,000 rental homes, of which approximately 5,500 will be affordable rental homes.
Today’s announcement further advances a number of key strategic actions of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan including enhancing partnerships with Indigenous community partners and meeting the diverse housing needs of seniors. The HousingTO Action Plan also established a target of approving 40,000 new affordable rental homes, including 18,000 supportive homes by 2030. Of these new affordable and supportive homes, 5,200 will be allocated to Indigenous Peoples, to be directly delivered by Indigenous housing providers and supported by the City and other orders of government. In October last year, the City’s Housing Secretariat entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Miziwe Biik Development Corporation to support the creation of these 5,200 new affordable rental and supportive homes for Indigenous residents across Toronto. Working with Indigenous development partners, the City will be seeking capital investments from other orders of government to help deliver these partnerships and mitigate rising construction costs and interest rates.
The City is committed to advancing truth, reconciliation and justice with Indigenous Peoples and supporting the right to self-determination. Toronto has the largest Indigenous population in Ontario and the 4th largest in Canada. Indigenous Peoples continue to be overrepresented in Toronto’s homeless population and experience barriers to finding and maintaining affordable and safe housing. The City will continue to support Indigenous community partners through the implementation of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan and will work to support Indigenous-led solutions to address the unique housing challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples in Toronto.
In 2020 and 2021, more than 200 Indigenous households were housed in various new and existing supportive housing opportunities across the city, including 389 Church St., 11 Macey Ave., 321 Dovercourt Rd. and 877 Yonge St. More than 300 more Indigenous households also received housing benefits to assist with rental costs.
Construction at 140 Merton St. is slated to begin in November of 2023 with occupancy to begin in January 2026.
More information is available on the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan webpage.
A video about how the City is working to build homes for Indigenous Peoples in Toronto is available on the City’s YouTube channel.
“Supporting Indigenous-led housing projects is an important part of the affordable housing strategy in the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. We will continue to advance our commitment to reconciliation and moving forward together with Indigenous communities. I am committed to making way for more Indigenous-focused housing projects as quickly as possible as part of our overall efforts working with the other governments and our community partners to get more housing built.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Providing a safe, respectful and holistic environment for our Nation’s members is a foundational part of who we are as Missanabie Cree First Nation. We are delighted to be working with the City of Toronto and EllisDon Community Builders on critical affordable housing and social infrastructure initiatives for our members and the community-at-large and appreciate their efforts and commitment in helping us deliver on this value. These projects are generational and will work to house not just our present communities, but also to build towards a sustainable, inclusive future for us all.”
– Chief Jason Gauthier, Missanabie Cree First Nation
“The City is committed to supporting Indigenous communities and organizations in Toronto. I am proud to see this partnership between the Missanabie Cree First Nation and EllisDon that will create new affordable rental housing for Indigenous Peoples in Toronto”.
– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee
“We are thrilled and inspired to work with the Missanabie Cree First Nation and the City of Toronto to ensure the community has a safe and affordable place to call home. EllisDon Community Builders is leveraging its team of dedicated professionals and resources as one of Canada’s top builders to address the growing nationwide challenge of affordable housing.”
– Nicholas Gefucia, Vice President, EllisDon Community Builders
The Missanabie Cree First Nations’ homelands are located in Northeastern Ontario near the small hamlet of Missanabie, however their People were displaced from their lands over 100 years ago and as a result are dispersed throughout Ontario and Canada. In consideration of this, the First Nation operates hub service centres in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, London and Toronto. The First Nation is very active in community building and reconciliation by leading and/or contributing (including financially) to initiatives in health, elder care, affordable housing, economic development, culture and intercultural dialogue, and relationship building. The Missanabie Cree First Nations is interested in being a leader for affordable housing solutions that advance reconciliation between the Indigenous population and other local cultural/ethnic groups. More information bout the Missanabie Cree First Nations’ history is available on the Nations’ webpage.
EllisDon is an employee-owned, $5 billion-a-year global construction services company with more than 3,000 salaried and hourly employees across fifteen national and international offices. EllisDon Community Builders, a division formed within the EllisDon group of companies, provides development management and construction services for a broad client base including those who deliver affordable and supportive housing to their communities. More information is available on the EllisDon website.
CreateTO was formed in 2018 as the City’s real estate agency. The organization brings together stakeholders, partners and community members to ensure the best use of the City’s real estate assets for today and tomorrow. CreateTO manages the City’s $27 billion real estate portfolio, develops City buildings and lands for municipal purposes and delivers client focused real estate solutions – ensuring a balance of both community and economic benefits. More information is available on the CreateTO website.
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