Wychwood Barns is truly a special place in Toronto. Located in a former streetcar maintenance facility near St. Clair and Bathurst, an engaged group of individuals helped transform the site into an innovative community cultural hub. Managed by the non-profit group Artscape, the complex includes heritage buildings, public green space, a greenhouse, farmers’ market, a beach volleyball court, offices for local community groups, and event space that accommodates cultural events.
While many groups and funding mechanisms play critical roles in supporting Wychwood Barns, I want to focus on the specific impact of Section 37 in helping to facilitate the 26 live/work units on the site. As part of an approval for a mixed-use development at the intersection of St. Clair and Bathurst in 2004, the City of Toronto entered into an agreement with the applicant to provide $1,000,000 in funding to support the Wychwood Barns site. These funds were received between 2005 and 2006 and helped partially develop the rent-geared-to-income live/work units. As a result, Artscape was able to leverage additional funding from the provincial and federal governments. Section 37 was also used as a means to secure heritage conservation and to provide additional funding for on-site park improvements.
Through the flexible but targeted nature of Section 37, a unique community benefit was able to be moved over the finish line to become a lasting piece of Toronto’s heritage.