Gerrard Street is a ten-kilometre-long street in Toronto, running from University Avenue eastward to Clonmore Avenue. It's one of the most diverse streets in Toronto, spanning several neighbourhoods and countless cultures.
The street is known for its Indian, Pakistani, Afghan, Bangladeshi, and Sri Lankan restaurants and cafés. It has long been the area of choice for many South-Asian communities in Toronto. Torontonians living close to Gerrard can be seen honouring and celebrating various customs and rituals, such as Ramadan and Diwali.
The unofficial headquarters of Gerrard Street's multiculturalism is the Riverdale Hub, located halfway between Greenwood Park and Coxwell Avenue. The Hub serves as the headquarters for several organizations that foster individual engagement and community development. The Global Pantry, for example, allows immigrant women and youth to apply their skills in an effective way and kick-start their preparation for employment within a respectful and welcoming group of peers.
The Riverdale Hub is a 100-year-old building that had been transformed to a green and eco-friendly haven by the Riverdale Immigrant Women's Enterprise (RIWE). Some of their efforts led to creating rain-water gardens on the premises of the Hub — much like those we described in our article on how Local Warming Goes Global.
As reported by CityTV.com, the Hub just received a $2 million extension that augments the original brick building with new communal and office space and features such as an elevator. The non-profit community is hoping to become completely financially self-sufficient going forward. To overcome its dependence on sponsorship, donations, and benefactors, Riverdale Hub now plans to sustain itself on the rental income from its revamped and extended office and warehouse spaces. The Hub even obtained a permit to open a 400 sq. feet café/snack bar on the first floor and is looking for a tenant who would like to run it for everyone to enjoy.
Riverdale Hub is an amazing place where humanity surpasses all cultural differences and where respect and community are the perennial keywords. It's a virtual gate to Canada for newly welcomed immigrants and a wonderful landmark in the Riverdale neighbourhood. Julie Kinnear and her Team are proud that there is such a remarkable place in Toronto!
All pictures courtesy of www.riverdalehub.ca