Scarborough getting $35.9 million to build Tamil Community Centre

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A new Tamil Community Centre in Scarborough will be built with money from all three levels of government: $14.3 million from the feds, $12 million from Ontario.

“Nothing pulls a community together more than a community centre,” Premier Doug Ford said at the funding announcement. “It’s a place that people can come, bring their family and friends and get together.

“I can’t wait to be back in Scarborough and get shovels in the ground for the new Tamil Community Centre.”

A groundbreaking is expected near the end of 2022, with a completion date set for spring of 2026.

The City of Toronto has contributed land valued at $25 million to the project in the form of a long-term land lease at a minimal cost of $1 plus HST in annual rent.

“The Tamil Community Centre project will help address the gap in services available to the Tamil community in northeast Scarborough, a historically underserved area of Toronto,” said Siva Vimalachandran, Tamil Community Centre board chair. “It will also streamline services to the communities living in the neighbourhood, including Indigenous, Black, and Caribbean and other racialized communities.”

The plan includes construction of a multi-purpose facility that will meet the needs of many local residents, including the diverse Tamil Community in the Greater Toronto Area. A gym and outdoor playing fields will improve access to recreational opportunities for the community, while a new library, museum, auditorium and multi-purpose spaces will help facilitate educational and cultural opportunities and events.

With its gym, library and other amenities, the $40-million, 37,000-square-foot building in Morningside Heights will address not just Tamil-Canadians’ needs but those of other, similarly underserved, communities, TCC chairperson Siva Vimalachandran promised as officials and other supporters stood on the site.

“All villages are our village. All people are our family,” he said, thanking 120 Tamil organizations and human service providers for endorsing the cen

The Tamil community will contribute $9.6 million, an amount already covered by $11.2 million in pledges received in 2019.

The property near a Rouge River tributary is considered an Indigenous archeological site, though an assessment last November found “no archaeological material or deposits” close to the proposed building.

The project steering committee is working with the Huron-Wendat, Mississaugas of the Credit and other First Nations  to honour the site’s Indigenous history.

“Through a challenging year Canadians continue to rely on access to support through programs, services and safe community spaces,” said MP Mary Ng.

“The construction of the Tamil Community Centre will be an incredible addition to support families in our communities across Markham, Thornhill, and the GTA. The Centre and will be particularly valuable in providing the Tamil community with much-needed social and recreational space that brings people together, and contributes to more inclusive community development.”

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