East Scarborough Storefront
This collaborative project empowers local Scarborough residents to transform previously underutilized land into a dynamic campus of community spaces.
The East Scarborough Storefront (ESS) is a community centre offering multiple supports and services to the diverse communities of East Scarborough. It is widely celebrated as a model for positive city-building in Toronto’s inner suburbs.
Since November 2010, ERA has been collaborating with project leaders / initiators Sustainable.TO and Architext on a community-led revitalization plan for the Storefront site and surrounding neighbourhood. The program includes renovations, expansion, and an upgraded landscape that will connect the site to surrounding apartment towers and the adjacent Morningside Park ravine system. The project is driven by a youth engagement program called the Community Design Initiative, which provides mentoring tolocal youth, who learn design, construction, project management, and leadership skills.
Our primary role has been to develop the landscape and site planning vision that will ultimately provide tower residents and community members with a lively new public realm at ground level. A “shade and naturalization strategy” funded by Live Green Toronto is currently under construction and features an urban orchard, an innovative green-roof shade structure known as the “Sky-o-Swale,” and a kitchen garden with a patio and grapevine trellis to be completed in the spring of 2013.
The next two phases of work include a) the design and construction of a new outdoor, multi-purpose sports court, funded by the MLSE “Team Up” Foundation; and b) a partnership with United Way Toronto and landowners adjacent to the Storefront to plan the re-configuration of existing parking lots into vibrant new community spaces.
For more detailed information on our working process, please see our blog posts on the Storefront.
Video on Scarborough Arts Bridging Festival, Summer 2012
“Ripple Effect” - Sustainable Builder Magazine, Summer 2011