Madison Av­enue to get a new cul­tural cen­tre?

Es­to­nian com­mu­nity re­veals plans for two-storey her­itage build­ing in the An­nex

Annex Post - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Craine

Toronto’s Es­to­nian com­mu­nity an­nounced plans to re­lo­cate their cul­tural home base from East York to the An­nex, with a de­sign that in­cor­po­rates the her­itage build­ing at 11 Madison Ave. Sev­eral Es­to­nian or­ga­ni­za­tions will be con­sol­i­dated into one in or­der to pay for the new cul­tural hub.

The cul­tural group is look­ing to pur­chase the land from the city, and have been in talks about the pro­posal for years.

Ward 20 coun­cil­lor Joe Cressy said they’ve agreed to a pro­posal that meet’s all the city’s ob­jec­tives. The plan calls for a two-storey build­ing that will re­spect the ex­ist­ing char­ac­ter of the Her­itage Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict on Madison Av­enue. Cressy said the neigh­bour­hood has been sup­port­ive of the plan for the new cul­tural cen­tre, which will in­clude a mu­seum, the­atre and gallery space, with re­tail on the main floor.

“This is the Bloor St. Cul­tural Cor­ri­dor, for­mally des­ig­nated by the city with 17 cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions run­ning along it,” said Cressy. “We have a long his­tory of be­ing a di­verse and in­clu­sive com­mu­nity and far too of­ten we lose cul­tural groups as new de­vel­op­ments come in.”

The plan hinges on sell­ing the Broad­view prop­erty in or­der to pur­chase and build on the lot next to the build­ing on 11 Madison. It will house a num­ber of groups, some of which are also fi­nan­cially sup­port­ing the bid, in­clud­ing Es­to­nian Credit Union, the Es­to­nian Fed­er­a­tion of Canada and Es­to­nian House. Tartu Col­lege is also in­volved and houses a neigh­bour­ing stu­dent res­i­dence on Bloor Street.

Long­time An­nex res­i­dent and mem­ber of the Es­to­nian com­mu­nity Anita Genua is sup­port­ive of the new cen­tre.

“I think it does ad­dress the chang­ing needs of our com­mu­nity,” she said. “There was a real sense of cul­tural preser­va­tion be­cause, if we didn’t pre­serve a 5,000-plus-year-old cul­ture, no one else was go­ing to.”

Veiko Parm­ing, VP of the Es­to­nian House, wants that to con­tinue. “We have the op­por­tu­nity, to build a con­sol­i­dated com­mu­nity cen­tre that would pro­vide the space that we need for the next 50 years in a way that the Es­to­nian House to­day does not.”

The move from 958 Broad­view Ave. is due to the need for cap­i­tal re­pairs that were too ex­pen­sive for the group to man­age. The Broad­view prop­erty will be par­celled with three neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties owned by the Es­to­nian Fed­er­a­tion of Canada to fa­cil­i­tate the An­nex pur­chase.

We have a long his­tory of be­ing a di­verse and in­clu­sive com­mu­nity.”

Artist ren­der­ing for new Es­to­nian Cen­tre planned for Madison Av­enue

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