the MDCA in developing a Sustainable Community for Mount Dennis

The Mount Dennis Community Association
started in the 1970’s with the goal of bringing people together to improve the
community.  Major urban planning and
economic structural issues were in play that would drain investment away from a
strong working class neighbourhood.  The
Richview Expressway had been cancelled in 1971, and no planning had taken place
to reduce the impacts that decision would have on employment in Mount Dennis.

In addition to an unwanted expressway
disappearing, the regional transportation system shifted away. Intermodal
shipping (typically stacked containers) became the norm, using rail to move
goods from ports on the coasts to newly built yards in Brampton and
Mississauga, adjacent to new transfer facilities at Hwy 404 and 410. Transport
trucks relayed the freight to the newly built warehouses and factories near the
terminals. Mount Dennis watched as its thriving local employment base withered

The former Borough of York, fighting to
gain City status, was promised a new town centre with an adjacent post-secondary
campus to be built at Black Creek and Eglinton in the area where No Frills is
now. This was to connect across Toronto by subway along Eglinton. And then a
shift in government and Toronto’s municipal amalgamation resulted in these
plans being cancelled in the 1990’s. That, combined with Dominion Bridge
closing, and end of the Mount Dennis Kodak plant as digital photography
destroyed the market for photographic film, led collapse of the local manufacturing
sector. With Irving’s Royal Tissue factory the last remaining large employer,
the area’s main street businesses along Weston Road came under major pressure
to close or downsize as the new millennium approached.

Fast forward 25 years to today. The impacts
of a changing regional economy are still evident, but the neighbourhood shows
promising signs of life. A largely European/ Anglo population has transformed
into one of Toronto’s most globally diverse communities with a rich mix of
flavours, music and art emerging. First Nations peoples, historically displaced
by settlers from traditional trading lands along the Humber and Black Creek,
are moving into the area and engaging the wider community by sharing indigenous
values, knowledge and culture.

Transportation has now become a driver for
economic renewal.  Mount Dennis is home
to a TTC Bus depot that is now adding electric buses to its fleet of hybrid
powered vehicles. The Postal Depot is 
adding more jobs and delivery connections.  A utility scale battery and scatter of solar rooftops
demonstrate possibilities for a greener energy future. And a multi-modal
transit hub is being built with regional passenger trains, LRT trains, Union
Pearson trains and TTC buses all intersecting as an access and transfer point
for people. Metrolinx is investing in a state of the art technical facility to
maintain the fleet of trains that will transport people Crosstown as of 2022.

There are serious challenges that come
along with this economic transition, and others in social and environmental realms
that need addressing as well. We see a glimmer of the future for Mount Dennis
evident in the new transit facilities and recreation centre, and the
ecoNeighbourhood initiative created a starting point to come together on
climate action. Now planning for more investment in urban development is
underway to intensify the number of people living in Mount Dennis.  But will this growth be a good thing offering opportunities
that are accessible to people from all walks of life?

The Mount Dennis Community Association will
need to continue finding a way to share the benefits of urban growth equitably,
to use its influence to moderate gentrification, and to build an inclusive community.
 We live work and play in a neighbourhood
facing the stresses of major change, and we all are in the midst of a global
awakening to existential threats on health and environment. We need you to get
involved to ensure Mount Dennis becomes a sustainable community as our future

Please join the Mount Dennis Community
Association, and consider becoming a new Board Member at the upcoming Annual
General Meeting.

The community association has been involved
in protests against hundreds of dirty diesel trains, total loss of the Kodak
lands, a surface LRT with expropriation of homes and widening of Eglinton
Avenue and dealing with several other negative proposals. We have been
supporting our young people with our Pearen Park skating project, with Party by
the Pond which takes a couple of hundred kids fishing every year.  Our newsletters, delivered to every home and
business by Canada Post, keep all of us informed about our community, including
advertising for local businesses and agencies, and articles about developments
and events.

But now COVID19 has drastically affected
MDCA’s ability to support these activities in the ways we have previously. It
is in this context that we are inviting you to join us at our AGM, to be held
virtually this year for the first time. We are planning a weeknight early in
December, which will allow everyone to attend if they have internet service,
and we will also try to make it available after the fact. Watch for
announcements by the end of this month.

The MDCA Board has a long history of
representation from all sectors of the community, and is a working partnership
of representatives from faith communities, agencies and businesses, together
with home owners and apartment residents. We do not keep statistics on people’s
origins or living arrangements, but can truthfully say that we are welcoming to

So if you would like to get involved, to
participate in making Mount Dennis a better place to work and live, please drop
us a line, executive@mountdennis.ca.

Statement of Purpose

The Mount Dennis Community Association is non-partisan and will:

  • Seek to strengthen and promote a sense of community spirit in Mount Dennis
  • Seek to influence physical changes in our community, so that it will become an even better place to live
  • Advocate at all levels on behalf of Mount Dennis and its residents
  • Monitor what goes on in our community, and the trends that are affecting it
  • Support those who are working to make life better for all or part of the Mount Dennis community

The MDCA Board

  • Mike Mattos – President (mike@mountdennis.ca)
  • Judith Hayes – Vice President (judith@mountdennis.ca)
  • Simon Chamberlain – Recording Secretary (simon@mountdennis.ca)
  • Don Thomson – Treasurer (dthomson@me.ca)
  • Rick Ciccarelli (representing Mount Dennis Eco-Neighbourhood)
  • Jennesa
  •  DeJanna
  • Gui

  •  Jona
  •  Kuinivia
  •  Dawn
  •  Marlene
  •  Michael
  • Michelle
  • Oslen
  • Sony

If you have any questions or want to contact us, e-mail us at: info@mountdennis.ca.