Held. Together. Community Ownership / Community benefit
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On October 28th 2015, the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust celebrated its first Annual Members Meeting.

Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian played host to more than 120 members and supporters, with all three levels of government represented in the audience.  “The turnout was amazing, we did not expect such a full house,” enthused PNLT chair Judy Josefowicz. “It’s so gratifying to see so many people, interested and committed and engaged.”  

Local MPP Cheri DiNovo made a short speech to get the ball rolling, and was joined by Diane Sigouin-Daniel of the Ontario Trillium Foundation—a provincial agency which recently awarded the trust with $210,600 over three years to support a staff and program costs. Next up, PNLT Development Coordinator Joshua Barndt presented a short “PNLT 101” for curious audience members. He also outlined the financial pressures facing Parkdale today, and outlined some of the ways in which a community land trust (CLT) can help to combat gentrification. This is a smarter way to invest in communities,” Barndt explained at the meeting. “With a community land trust, Government investments in community assets stay in a community, ensuring long-term affordability and social impact.”

One of the most dramatic moments was  a vote to approve the trust’s proposed bylaws, an important step for any non-profit (picture above). “It’s baby steps, having had this meeting and passing the bylaws we can now make the case to be a charitable entity, which means we can now receive gifts of land and money,” explained Willis as the ballots were being tallied. There was never any question of needing a recount: the trust’s new bylaws were unanimously approved by a colourful show of voting cards. As the last major item of the night’s agenda, 12 community members competed for ten positions on the CLT’s Board of Directors. Each delivered an impassioned speech on the merits of their candidacy, and we’d like to congratulate Vijaya Laxmi Agrawal, Ric Amis, Dick Bacchus, Tish Carnat, Kalsang Dolma, Lesli Gaynor, Claire-Helene Heese-Boutin, Zachary Michael Lathrop, (Rev. Dr.) Jason Thomas McKinney and Meegan Scott on their election.

With these impressive and diverse residents taking a leadership role PNLT has become a truly community controlled organization.  With over 250 registered members, bylaws in place and committees on track, 2016 is shaping up to be a trailblazing year for the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust! 

Parkdale Community Forum 

by Kalsang Dolma - PNLT Board member

Feb 27, 2016 - On a warm, sunny winter Saturday, the auditorium in Parkdale library was packed with over 100 community and organization members in attendance for the Parkdale Community Forum, organized by the Parkdale Community Economic Development Project. This participatory planning and community visioning was carried out with multiple stakeholders over a year and was unveiled in the form of a draft planning study report

As the report was shared with the public, some questions arose in my mind, chief among which was, “what kind of actions will follow these issues?” With Parkdale growing increasingly desirable for homeowners, developers and investors, it is getting harder and harder for the economically disadvantaged to access affordable housing within the neighbourhood. How can the existing community of residents and organizations do all the wonderful work envisioned in the planning study to help promote community shared wealth, and equitable development?

After breaking for some juicy Tibetan momos and chit chat with familiar faces, it was back to business. Working group discussions were held on seven key areas of opportunity. I chose “Community Financing”. Our table had a spirited discussion on how to finance our initiatives and resolve pertinent issues. So much to do in so little time! Passion and skillful debating were certainly not lacking, as each group presented their discussion points. My skepticism subsided as it became clear that each of the seven areas intertwined with all the rest, and success in one area ensured victory in the others. 

Learn more about the PCED Report here.
Good Catch. Parkdale Strong Neighbourhood Businesses Video Series
Goodbye, Good Catch!

In the past few months, PNLT has been working hard to produce a series of videos on neighbourhood change in Parkdale. Each clip will tell the story of a different community project, local business or housing issue from the perspectives of the amazing people involved. One of these videos profiled Jola Sobolak's Good Catch General Store, a unique and community-oriented venture at 1556 Queen West. Customers and neighbours agree that this was a special business that contributed greatly to the vitality of Parkdale.

Offering an eclectic mix of local products, instruments sold on consignment, healthy foods, toys and so much more, the Good Catch broke all the rules in all the right ways. Most importantly, it helped those living on a tight budget to buy the goods they needed  on credit, using a one-of-a-kind tab system. Just this week we were sad to find out the Good Catch will be closing. As Jola explained via Facebook: "After 10 years of building it up, I hesitate to announce that we've got 10 days to pull it apart. Rent is in arrears and Good Catch has been asked to vacate its premises by April 1st."

So with a heavy heart we are releasing this video just too late. This is a pressing reminder that with rising rents and costs, all those local businesses we love need more support now than ever.

A grand wake for the Good Catch will be held on March 31st, so come out and show your support!


On Monday September 21st , 2015, nearly a hundred community members gathered at Toronto’s Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) to discuss gentrification-driven displacement in Parkdale. As part of the event former tenants from 1521 Queen, now Roncey Hotel, spoke about their tragic experience being evicted with 7 days notice after a developer (BSAR) bought the building. Click here to read Sula Sidnell-Greene's report-back for Shameless! 


By Rick Eagan - PNLT Board member

On Wednesday, February 17, Toronto City Council approved the 2016 City Budget.

Several Councillors (including Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks) moved motions to increase the residential property tax recommended by the Budget Committee and Executive Committee. At the end of the day, the property tax increase remained at 1.3% for residential homes.

A 1.3% inflationary increase to property tax will barely maintain current service levels. On the actual day of the vote, inflation was actually 1.6% according to Statistics Canada. That rate is calculated using a Canada-wide average of prices for a standard set of goods (food, clothes, transportation, housing, phone, etc.). This means that if it cost you $100 to buy a shopping basket of these standard goods in 2015, that same basket would cost approximately $102 today. If you were low income and the only thing you were buying is food, your cost would be $105 in 2016, as food costs have increased an average of 5%. If you were feeding a family of 4 on $100/week, over a year you would need to spend $260 dollars more to provide the same amount of food.  

Read more...


PNLT's Community Elected Board:

Vijaya Laxmi Agrawal, Ric Amis, Dick Bacchus, Tish Carnat, Kalsang Dolma, Lesli Gaynor, Claire-Helene Heese-Boutin, Zachary Michael Lathrop, (Rev. Dr.) Jason Thomas McKinney, Meegan Scott, Victor Willis, Judy Josefowicz, Rick Eagan, Ayal Dinner and Nancy Henderson.

We would also like to thank former Board member Brian Tory for his contributions to the early years of PNLT. 

Finally, Thank you to Councilor Gord Perks, MPP Cheri DiNovo, and MP Arif Virani for attending the AGM. 


Shape My City
Feature Story: Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust Brings Community to the Planning Table

Parkdale Villager: 
Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust organization has its first AGM meeting...


The Parkdale Community Economic Development (PCED) project has uncovered some shocking findings on neighbourhood change, population loss (presumably though displacement), growing inequality and the loss of affordable housing. Click here to view the Parkdale Snapshot.



On Friday March 4th, the Hamilton Community Land Trust held its Community Land Trust Action conference. As proof of the momentum behind this effort the gathering brought together 30 key stakeholders and decision-makers, which included local residents, City staff and affordable & supportive housing providers. Initiated in 2014, the Hamilton CLT hopes to take ownership of vacant lots owned by the City. After comprehensive community consultations it was determined that the trust will prioritize the development of affordable and supportive housing. PNLT is excited to see the growth of another CLT just a bus ride away.

Click here to read more! 



The San Francisco Community Land Trust just intervened to stop the eviction of tenants from five rent-controled buildings, purchasing the properties and bringing them under community ownership! 

There are two lessons to learn here:
1) Organized tenant groups and CLT's make a great team in fighting for affordable housing!
2) There is a clear role for cities to play in supporting the preservation of affordable housing in gentrifying communities. Namely, financing! San Francisco's "Small Sites Program" provides loans to nonprofits for the acquisition and rehabilitation of private properties to protect existing tenants and establish long-term below-market-rate housing. 

Click here to read more! 



Congratulations to Boston's Dudley Street Neighbourhood Initiative, on securing new funding from the Boston Private Bank and Trust Company! "This donation represents our commitment to helping Dudley Neighbors Inc. with their vision of revitalizing the whole community,” said Esther Schlorholtz, director of community investment at Boston Private. “We are there to help DSNI and DNI accomplish their goals of preserving affordable housing in the area, and we look forward to continuing to do much more.” 

Click here to read more! 


The Parkdale Community Land Trust is a community land trust in Parkdale led by a group of residents and organizations trying to promote the social, cultural and economic diversity of Parkdale by redefining how land is used and developed. Learn more here:

Not a member yet? Click here to get involved!  
Copyright © 2014 Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust
c/o Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre
1499 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON, M6R 1A3
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