Artscape's Green Arts Barns Official Groundbreaking Celebrates an Innovative Partnership with All Levels of Government



    Redevelopment of historic Wychwood TTC streetcar repair barns in
    St. Clair and Bathurst community set to be transformed into multi-tenant
    arts and environmental centre

    TORONTO, June 20 /CNW/ - Today, Artscape celebrated the official
groundbreaking of the Green Arts Barns, an $18 million redevelopment of the
historic Wychwood TTC streetcar repair barns in the St. Clair and Bathurst
community. The Honourable Michael Bryant, Ontario Attorney General and MPP St.
Paul's, and Councillor Joe Mihevc, Toronto Ward 21 St. Paul's West joined Tim
Jones, President and CEO of Artscape in the ceremonial groundbreaking of this
multi-tenant arts and environmental centre run by and for the community.
    "We knew at the outset that we would need a strong and compelling vision
to attract the level of interest and investment required to bring the Barns
back to life," said Tim Jones. "Today, all levels of government, numerous
foundations, corporations, and individuals are on board. We are thrilled to
have a growing chorus of supporters who understand the value of this new model
of multi-tenant centres where artists, environmentalists, and community
members can rub shoulders, share ideas, and generate creative energy to fuel
our city."
    "Arts and culture plays a crucial role in building strong and prosperous
communities," said The Honourable Caroline Di Cocco, Ontario Minister of
Culture. "For artists, finding housing as well as studio space that is
affordable and appropriate to their craft in a booming city can be difficult.
That's why the McGuinty government is pleased to support the Green Arts Barns
with a $3-million investment."
    "The Green Arts Barn is an innovative example of heritage preservation
and will be an exciting showcase for green technology," said Bryant. "The
government is pleased to work with artists to promote sustainable communities
and green practices. In addition, it will enrich our community, while
reflecting and celebrating Ontario's cultural diversity."
    The City of Toronto provided $790,130 through a grant and waived fees and
property taxes. Toronto also provided the land to Artscape at no cost. "The
Green Arts Barns will be a tremendous addition to the community of St. Paul's
and to the artistic life of Toronto and I'm proud to have helped make them a
reality," Councillor Mihevc said. "On behalf of Mayor David Miller and Toronto
City Council, I want to congratulate all the partners -- whose vision and hard
work have led to this day."
    Scheduled for completion in Spring/Summer 2008, the Green Arts Barns will
showcase sustainable, energy-efficient design principles and encourage
community accessibility and collaboration. The barns will provide new homes
for 12 non-profit arts and environmental organizations. In addition, the
Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program is contributing $1.82 million for
26 units of affordable housing.
    Artscape will redevelop and manage four of the five former TTC streetcar
repair barns as a multi-tenant centre. The Green Arts Barns will be a dynamic
community-driven space and a home for experimentation and innovation where new
ideas flourish. It will be a place where people from all walks of life will
come together to make their community a better place to live, work and play.
    Also attending today's ceremony were representatives from the non-profit
arts and environmental tenants of the Green Arts Barns: The Stop Community
Food Centre, B Current, Cahoots Theatre Projects, Citizens' Environment Watch,
Images Festival, Latin American-Canadian Arts Projects, LEAF Toronto (local
Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), Na-Me-Res/Tumivut Arts Workshop, The
Storytellers School of Toronto, Toronto School of Art, Theatre Direct Canada,
Theatre Gargantua, and Women's Healthy Environments Network.
    Representatives from funding partners included The George Cedric Metcalf
Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, TD Bank Financial Group, Toronto
Atmospheric Fund, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and McCarthy
Tétrault LLP.
    Neighbourhood supporters attending were Friends of a New Park, Taddlewood
Heritage Association, Wychwood Heights BIA along with the lead architect on
the project Joe Lobko, du Toit Allsopp Hillier Architects.

    BACKGROUND

    About Artscape
    --------------
    Celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, Artscape is a not-for-profit
enterprise engaged in culture-led regeneration. Its work includes anchoring
creative communities within affordable spaces and building authentic and
dynamic places by connecting creative and cultural resources. Artscape has
played a catalytic role in the regeneration of some of Toronto's most
important creative communities including: The Distillery Historic District,
Queen Street West, Liberty Village and Toronto Island.

    About the Green Arts Barns
    --------------------------
    The barns will provide new office, performance and rehearsal space for
12 non-profit arts and environmental organizations:

    
    -   B Current
    -   Cahoots Theatre Project
    -   Citizens' Environment Watch
    -   Images Festival
    -   Latin American-Canadian Arts Projects
    -   LEAF - Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests
    -   Na-Me-Res/Tumivut Arts Workshop
    -   The Storytellers School of Toronto,
    -   Toronto School of Art
    -   Theatre Direct Canada
    -   Theatre Gargantua
    -   Women's Healthy Environments Network
    

    In addition, year-round space will be made available for community events
and festivals. The site will operate a year-round temperate greenhouse,
sheltered garden, outdoor bake oven and compost demonstration site run by The
Stop Community Food Centre. There will be 15 artist work studios and 26 artist
live/work studios.





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Liz Kohn, Director of
Communications, Artscape, T: (416) 392-1038, ext. 25, E:
liz@torontoartscape.on.ca; Guy Lepage, Communications Branch, Ministry of
Culture, T: (416) 314-3497, E: Guy.Lepage@ontario.ca; Gil Hardy, Affordable
Housing Office, City of Toronto, T: (416) 397-4701, E: ghardy@toronto.ca

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