From its early days, one of the main goals of Bloor Street United Church (BSUC) has been to create a safe and welcoming environment, a space to support community programming and to inspire individuals to learn, share, connect, and grow. Thanks to a passionate and committed congregation, neighbourhood outreach efforts are thriving and now include a weekly Community Café, a Refugee Outreach Program, a short-term no-interest loan program, and an Indigeneous Rights Group. But that’s not all.
In addition to the congregation’s own endeavours, BSUC has helped many local non-profit and social groups, opening their doors to offer meeting space at affordable (often significantly subsidized) rates. This support has provided community programs in music, dance, film, recreation, sports, faith-based activities, 12-step programs, and more, a place to host their meetings, and has extended the church’s reach far beyond spiritual use alone.
Improving the Space Will Sustain the Church Over the Long-Term
Up until now, BSUC has been doing the best they can with what they have. Of course, in a building that’s more than a century old, sometimes that translates into conditions that are less than ideal. The redevelopment of 300 Bloor Street West will provide fully renovated and accessible facilities, offering even greater opportunities to nurture and support the community.
Proposed upgrades include state-of-the-art soundproofing, meaning that the film club will be able to watch a movie, or the dance club will be able to find their rhythm, without disturbing the 12-step meeting taking place in an adjacent room. The installation of elevators and fully-accessible washrooms will remove barriers, opening the doors to everyone, on wheels or on foot. Kitchen upgrades will provide the necessary space and equipment for larger groups to gather and break bread at receptions and congregational events. The proposed redevelopment of the church will also create flexible new worship spaces designed to accommodate multi-faith programming. Decades-old building equipment will be replaced by environmentally-friendly architecture and design, which will address the drafty windows and leaky roofs.
Without the site’s redevelopment, the cost of these improvements would be out of reach. With the proposed plans for 300 Bloor Street West, BSUC will not only be better poised to serve the congregation, but to support the greater community. New and improved space to serve time-honoured values for years to come.
Keep reading our blog and in the coming months we’ll introduce you to some of the local groups using the community space at 300 Bloor Street West for book clubs, youth groups, social events, and more. Stay tuned!