Toronto

Seaton House Redevelopment | 37m | 9s | City of Toronto | Montgomery Sisam

iSlutsky

Chit-Chatter
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
260
Reaction score
0
Location
Toronto
This might be the property they're referring to, it's just south of Seaton House.
The power of Google Maps and Streetview... Check it out, here, with Street View and user pictures. (note: I have never tried linking to Google Streetview, so I have no clue if this will show what I just looked at).
 

alklay

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
2,069
Reaction score
220
This has to be the worst and most run down street in the city. The redevelopment should be welcomed.
 

thedeepend

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 11, 2008
Messages
2,527
Reaction score
9
"Spike/KMAI has suggested the City consider the redevelopment as an eco-architectural project incorporating green energy generation such as rooftop wind turbines, solar thermal panels, and methane driven generation, as well as geothermal heating and cooling. The development could also incorporate an urban agriculture project at roof level, with at least one rooftop greenhouse. Food produce grown could be sold at an onsite grocery store or used in an on-site educational cooking program with clients."

this sounds totally amazing--but can you spell utopian? the thought of all these green initiatives being implemented at a hard core shelter like Seaton is quite jarring. then again, there are many other things like this going on. i hope it happens...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/us/28shelter.html
http://green-projects-for-homeless.wikispaces.com/
http://www.homelessgardenproject.org/
 

Northern Light

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
3,867
Reaction score
3,402
Location
Toronto/EY
At first blush, this seems to be a very good proposal.

One which will change ad-hoc facilities into purpose-built facilities
One which will save and restore several heritage properties
One which will introduce mixed income uses, both residential and commercial

Of course, we do not have any architectural proposal at this stage;

Nor do we have operational details of a new Seton House.

I would argue that any revitalization here will have to involve downsizing the number of 'clients' served from the current 580 (which is still well below the peak of 900 a few years back).

I'm not advocating turning the needy away, but rather moving further away from an overly centralized, almost warehousing model for helping the homeless.

I'm not sure I can cite an 'ideal' number or capacity, a certain critical mass is probably required for delivery of some specialty addition/mental health services.

But I think for the sake of the area, the facility needs to reduce capacity by about 1/2 anyway, to 300 or so.

That would make it more tenable to bring in the mixed income component; and should the downsized capacity still be required, then it could relocated to 2 or 3 other locations across the City, as appropriate.

Still, very good start. Let's hope they run with this idea effectively.

***

Ultimately though, society should be chastened that we ever let so many fall so far in the first place; and more effort needs to be put to reducing the numbers of people who become homeless in the first place.
 

Archivist

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
1,349
Reaction score
2
And here is Seaton House itself, in its 1959 splendour.



There is also this heritage house, between the building above, and Seaton House.

 
Last edited:

Archivist

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
1,349
Reaction score
2
A Toronto neighbourhood where the middle class, students and the needy live on one street
Brodie Fenlon

From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published on Wednesday, Nov. 04, 2009 11:12PM EST
Last updated on Thursday, Nov. 05, 2009 4:31AM EST


Homeless men brave the chill to smoke one cigarette after another. Down the block, a toothless woman and a man half her age peddle drugs outside a row of ramshackle homes with boarded-up windows and front lawns strewn with Old Milwaukee beer cans, empty bottles of rubbing alcohol and bicycle tires.

It is here, in this neglected heart of George Street in downtown Toronto, where a private developer has proposed a major redevelopment that would see Seaton House men's shelter razed and rebuilt alongside a mix of affordable and market housing, rentals and commercial space.

The vision to revitalize the neighbourhood, with middle-class Torontonians and students living cheek-by-jowl with some of the city's neediest residents, is still in its infancy, but it has the support of the local councillor, city staff and residents of Seaton House, one of Canada's largest homeless shelters.

It is the brainchild of Jonathan Kearns of Kearns Mancini Architects Inc., the Toronto firm behind the redevelopment of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and a new subsidized apartment building in Regent Park.

Last year, Mr. Kearns offered to partner with the city to develop the Seaton House property and several adjacent buildings owned or controlled by his firm, Spike Capital Corp.

Most of the buildings are dilapidated homes, rooming houses and two vacant heritage properties built in the 1850s – eyesores on a street plagued by loitering, public drunkenness and drugs.

“We are very interested in ‘city building' and saw that George Street is a street in need of help,†Mr. Kearns said in a brief e-mail from Barcelona, where he's attending an architecture festival.

“I would say it's one of the most innovative and exciting projects that will result in improved services for homeless people in quite a while,†said Phil Brown, general manager of shelter, support and housing administration for the city.

“I think there's an opportunity for a lot of win-wins here,†he said.

Mr. Brown's department will request permission Friday from the city's community development and recreation committee to negotiate a non-binding proposal with Mr. Kearns's companies. Others may come on board, including Build Toronto and Toronto Community Housing, which has a large apartment building for single adults nearby.

Financial specifics, cost-sharing and other details have yet to be negotiated.

“It's a measured first step in a long process that's going to take years,†Mr. Brown said.

The four-storey, 580-bed Seaton House, opened at its current location in 1959, is showing its age and no longer meets the needs of its clients, many of whom are frail, addicted and mentally ill, a city report says. Structural problems include narrow corridors that are difficult to navigate and monitor, only one elevator, no air conditioning in the dorm rooms, a ventilation system that doesn't meet tuberculosis control guidelines and not enough program or lounge space, which means residents congregate on the sidewalk.

The plan would be to demolish the building and replace it with a new facility offering more services, including a long-term care program, infirmary and health-care beds for homeless men with addictions and mental-health issues, and rooms with a smaller number of shelter beds.

Seaton House “is not just a hostel, it's a hospice. People come here to die,†said Rick, 37, a resident who didn't give his last name. He said some clients are so ill they need palliative care, while those with severe mental illness, dubbed “bugs†by other clients, need specialized service.

“You get everybody walking in here,†he said. “There should be more of a divisionary thing going on here.â€

South of Seaton House, the developer has proposed a mixed-use development of private and student housing, rentals, commercial space, supportive and affordable housing. The proposal includes “eco-architectural†components like rooftop wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, as well as a rooftop greenhouse.

“I think it's a really exciting opportunity,†said Ward 27 Councillor Kyle Rae.

“A mix of housing would be useful in the neighbourhood rather than what's there right now, which is pretty relentlessly rooming house or shelter.â€

James, 57, who lived at Seaton House for a few months earlier this year, said the shelter offers great services but has a bad reputation because of the sale and use of crack cocaine outside its walls.

He thinks the proposed plans would help the neighbourhood, but added, “There's always the drug element and I don't know how that would fit into the equation. That is really the only thing that's screwing things up.â€

Michael Shapcott of the Wellesley Institute said any new plans for Seaton House must involve consultation with the clientele from the outset.
 

Torontovibe

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
Messages
5,577
Reaction score
677
Location
Toronto
I kept hearing people talk about George Street on here, saying how "sketchy" it was and I always thought to myself, it's not so bad, what are they talking about. The thing is, I only saw the bottom end of George Street, around St. Lawrence. Then just recently I was walking up Jarvis and decided to take a different route. I figured I've never walked up the street beside Fillmore's, so I decided to take a look. I didn't even realize that was George Street and I had no idea Seaton House was there. I assumed Seaton House was on Seaton Street, silly me.

Anyway, when I turned on to Seaton, north of Dundas, I was taken aback. I was not expecting this street to look like that. It reminded me of South Chicago and how neglected it looked. There was garbage everywhere, the houses on the street looked abandoned, as many were boarded up. Actually, there are some really nice historic homes that look like they're ready to keel over. It's really sad and depressing for a city that usually has acceptable standards everywhere. This must be the worst street block in all of Toronto. It's certainly the worst I've seen. It makes Queen & Sherbourne look not so bad. Why was this street allowed to deteriorate like that?

The street was mostly empty, with a few drug addicted people walking around, possibly selling drugs. (who knows) . Seaton House was looking pretty bad too. The sooner they replace that building, the better. There were a bunch of sad looking people standing out in front, smoking and hanging out. Couldn't they have built an outdoor patio or park, where these guys could have a smoke, relax outside and not have to stand in the entrance way? (Not a good design at all) The homeless shelter on Jarvis is a huge improvement. At least they have a courtyard to go out for a smoke or get some fresh air.

Anybody who hasn't been on that street should take a look. It's a real eye opener. Over-all Toronto is doing pretty good in terms of sketchy areas. We only have a few really neglected areas and after they are cleaned up, this city will be in much better shape. Nobody, including the homeless, should have to live in those conditions. I'm so glad something is gonna be done about it.
 

cabbagetowner

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
329
Reaction score
0
It's about time. Hope this has legs. This is the most poverty stricken street I have ever walked in toronto.

great news for the neighbourhood.
 

whatever

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Messages
2,537
Reaction score
160
Yeah, George between Dundas and Gerrard is unique in my experience of Toronto. They really can't tear Seaton House down fast enough, but there needs to be something done about the drug use in the vicinity as well. When people can openly do injection drugs while sitting on the sidewalk in broad daylight there's something seriously wrong that goes beyond outdated facilities. More eyes on the street will help, but it's going to take more than that.

Realistically, the shelter needs to be removed altogether and replaced with three or four smaller shelters spread out geographically. You can't put a huge drug-addicted population in one place and not expect dealing and heavy usage to happen.
 

Torontovibe

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
Messages
5,577
Reaction score
677
Location
Toronto
it still pales in comparison to the south side of Chicago
That picture you showed of the South Side of Chicago makes the area look pretty good. I took a 2 hour tour of that area and trust me, there are much worse parts then that. No, of course George Street is not like that. First of all, the run down South Side is a huge area, that seems to go for miles. George street also didn't feel dangerous, where Chicago definitely did.

I usually don't give money to panhandlers but a crazy thug on the South Side scared the shit out of me when he threatened to "go ballistic on me" if I didn't help him out, so I handed over some cash real fast and got the hell out of there. (and that was on the subway station platform, trapped in a corner) I'm sure this cracked-out dude meant business.

I agree, they need to make the shelters smaller and spread them all over the city. I'd say no more than 200 people in one shelter. It would be much easier to handle.
 

junctionist

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 1, 2007
Messages
8,210
Reaction score
1,289
Location
The Junction, Toronto
it still pales in comparison to the south side of Chicago
I've never been to the south side of Chicago, but you must have chosen a bad example of its notorious character because besides the litter and vacant lots it looks decent in that streetview. I see no graffiti, no boarded up houses, a relatively new roadway, and but a single overhead wire. That Modernist block with those large security walls around its perimeter and the stark lack of any street furniture seems to indicate problems though.

But maybe American cities have cleaned up their rough areas somewhat. I mistakenly travelled through a poor area of Baltimore by car. But there were no abandoned houses or graffiti, though like in this case there was the stark lack of street furniture and a lot of litter.
 

nstuch

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
164
Reaction score
7
my apologies, i was playing around in streetview looking for what looked to be a bad part of town and that looked pretty bad.. i welcome someone showing me the worst part of the south side!

i used to travel to Baltimore all the time and rarely left the inner harbour until once i went to a company sponsored course a few miles outside of downtown.. i went through some neighbourhoods where buildings had burnt down like 7 years before and never been touched
 

Top