Regent Park TV News: 220 Oak Street Renewal

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Regent Park TV News: 220 Oak Street Renewal

By Dimitrije Martinovic

Dimitrije is a journalist at FOCUS MEDIA ARTS CENTRE

220 Oak Street is a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) high rise apartment building located on the edge of Regent Park. It stands at 27 stories and was completed in 1972. The residents are comprised mostly of low income families, single dwellers, seniors, young adults, unemployed people, students, and people with Physical and Mental health issues. The location has been identified as “one of TCH's most trouble addresses” (Betsy Powell, Toronto Star, Jan. 15, 2019).

But the image of a troubled spot is about to change. Perhaps as an extension of the Regent Park revitalization project, or perhaps on the grounds of its own particular circumstances, the wheels of change have been set in motion.

Toronto Community Housing is teaming up with LGA Architectural Partners to provide a substantial make-over to both the exterior and interior elements of the building. In a virtual presentation held July 15, 2021. Adam Pelissero, Program Manager, Design, Architectural at Toronto Community Housing introduces Danny Bartman and Sophie Tremblay from LGA Architectural Partners, who summarize the various changes and up-grades involved in the renewal project.

Like many renewal and revitalization initiatives, the 220 Oak Street Renewal is the result of a longer consultation process that involved tenant groups, TCH staff, and City of Toronto representatives. This process which kicked off 2019 formed what became “A Master Plan,” designed to address the following key areas:

1. Installation of New Windows - improving comfort level and ease of use.

2. Added Insulation - will combine a new exterior surface improving the look of the building while adding better and more consistent temperature controls.

3. improving the Look and Feel of your Balcony – the removal of existing safety guards, repair of the concrete slab, and replacement of new safety guards.

4. Enhanced Safety, Security and Keeping Pigeons Away – new bird netting will improve cleanliness and help keep people and pets safe while not obstructing views.

5. Improved Air Quality – new range hoods will result in a cleaner, fresher kitchen and apartment with improve ventilation throughout the building.

6. Control Your Own Heat – new thermostats with direct control of your radiators will mean more comfort and greater reliability.

7. Upgrades to Plumbing and Hot Water – Sufficient supply of hot water at comfortable temperatures and improved water pressure, and the replacement of the hot water system equipment and piping.

And finally, the exterior of the building will have a completely new facade that incorporates new metal cladding, new balcony guards, and new windows. The exterior cladding is available in a range of colours which will presented in a following presentation.

The completed new look on the ground floor will have new and more welcoming entrance, new provisions for Wheeltrans and bike locking. Additionally new canopies will provide added shelter from rain, snow and sun.

Adam Pelissero of the TCH summed up the 220 Oak Street Renewal in this way, “At the end of the day, everyone is getting a new building.”

The next meeting will be held in the fall of 2021 to discuss the final design details. Tenants are encouraged to stay engaged through a dropbox in the lobby to submit their feedback and questions. Stay tuned for more developments in the upcoming months.

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Video Upload Date: July 26, 2021

Focus Media Arts (formerly Regent Park Focus) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1990 to counter negative stereotypes about the Regent Park community and provide interventions to high risk youth living in the area.

We are motivated by the belief that participatory media practices can play a vital role in addressing local needs and development priorities, as well as support the work of building and sustaining healthy communities.

Today FOCUS Media Arts Centre serves as a community learning centre for new media, digital arts, and radio & television broadcasting. We provide a community facility dedicated to the training and mentorship of young people and the engagement of community members of all ages.

Address: 38 Regent St. (Lower Level) - Toronto, Ontario, M5A 3N7

Phone: Phone: 416-863-1074

Email: regentparkfocus[at]gmail.com

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