KMCLT acquires 54-56 Kensington Ave

June 2, 2021

Dear friends, neighbours, and supporters of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust,

In March 2021, we were met with an opportunity to acquire the building at 54-56 Kensington Ave. Recognizing that a new commercial landlord would not be in the best interests of the tenants or the neighbourhood, the Kensington Market Community Land Trust (KMCLT) sought the assistance of our City Councillor Mike Layton to pass a motion at city council, granting us $3M towards the acquisition.

We are thrilled to formally announce that with the help of this city funding and other community support, we have acquired the building at 54-56 Kensington Ave, and as of June 1st, 2021, it is in community hands!

This building is particularly significant. In 2019, tenants living in 54-56 Kensington were unfairly threatened with an illegal eviction. With the support of Councillor Layton, MPP Jessica Bell, Friends of Kensington Market, and Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services, tenants remained in their units.

The building has 12 existing residential units, most of which are currently affordable housing, as well as 5 commercial spaces, including a beloved variety store. The board is of the opinion that KMCLT could not find a more perfect building to fit our mandate, especially as a first acquisition. We are through our due diligence process, have conducted inspections, and we are confident in being able to carry the mortgage, do necessary repairs and upgrades, while also ensuring the perpetual affordability of the units.

Today, we are asking for support to continue doing this work. We are launching a GoFundMe campaign, which we hope you will contribute to if you are able, and share far and wide.

In a city where storefronts are closing down on every block, low-income earners and families are being forced to flee their homes, and artists are in exodus, the Land Trust model will help level the playing field and open up opportunity to everyone and create a more liveable, inclusive city.


In sharing the news and call for donations on social media, we’d appreciate if you would use the hashtag: #CommunityOwnedKensington


Photo: Ryan Rubin
Photo: Ryan Rubin

March 31, 2021

Councillor Layton
and Kensington Market Community Land Trust
partner to buy building where tenants faced eviction

On April 7, City Council will be considering a request from Councillor Layton to allocate $3 million to the Kensington Market Community Land Trust to assist in the acquisition of a building to protect and create new affordable housing at 54-56 Kensington Avenue in Toronto.

This motion presents such an opportunity to help a land trust acquire a property in Kensington Market and maintain its existing 12 residential units and 5 retails units as affordable rental housing and community approved retail space for the next 99 years. The building’s tenants have already been faced with the threat of renoviction, and protecting their homes is urgent.

In Toronto’s current real estate market, affordable multi-unit rental buildings are rapidly being converted into expensive rentals, or demolished to make way for new condominium development. There is a critical need to permanently protect the affordability of existing rental housing across the city, and partnerships with the non-profit housing sector provide a viable pathway towards doing so.

This motion recommends that City Council provide $3,000,000 in funding to the Kensington Market Community Land Trust to acquire, renovate, and operate the property municipally known as 54-56 Kensington Avenue in Toronto, fully funded by Ward 11, University-Rosedale Section 37 funds with money provided by the various developments in the Ward, subject to the Kensington Market Community Land Trust successfully acquiring the property by no later than May 31, 2021.

“Two years ago, residents of this building had begun receiving illegal eviction notices. I knocked on doors with community members, and we helped to ensure those tenants were made aware of their rights and resisted the attempts of the landlord to make them move. Through hard work and determination, the Kensington Market Land Trust has put together a plan to buy this building and I am proud to support this project with funds to make sure these units stay affordable for the next century.”

Councillor Mike Layton, Ward 11

“This is the culmination of years of work. And it started with the tenants standing their ground. None of this would have been possible without the tenants understanding and defending their rights. What gentrification and real estate speculation is taking from us—housing security—we can take back as a community through the Land Trust.”

Dominique Russell, Co-Chair, Kensington Market Community Land Trust

Media Contact: Stephanie Nakitsas, Chief of Staff, Councillor – 647 876 0649