54/56 Kensington Avenue

As of June 1st, 2021, with the help of Councillor Mike Layton and anonymous neighbourhood donors, we have acquired the building at 54-56 Kensington Ave, it is now in community hands!

The building has 12 existing residential units, most of which are currently affordable housing units, as well as 5 commercial spaces, including a beloved variety store.

54/56 Kensington Ave is also home to the iconic Mona Lisa mural painted by Peter Matayas in the 1980’s.

Residents, volunteers and staff tell the story of how we bought 54/56 Kensington Avenue in this webinar. Click play to watch the recording.

35 Bellevue Avenue (Green P Carpark 71)

Once upon a time this parking lot was housing. We want it to be housing again.

The Green P Lot at 35 Bellevue Avenue (pictured above, henceforth “Bellevue Parking Lot”) is owned and operated by the City of Toronto’s Parking Authority (they call it Carpark no. 71). It is situated in the centre of the Kensington Market neighbourhood, on the east side of Bellevue Avenue south of Nassau Street.

On April 7, 2018, KMCLT and our ward councllor’s office invited the Kensington Market community—local residents, business owners, and interested individuals—together for an afternoon of discussion and dreaming related to the potential redevelopment of the Bellevue Parking Lot. The gathering was held at St. Stephen’s-in-the-Fields Anglican Church just up the street.

Throughout the afternoon, we explored possibilities for the site in large and small groups, exploring themes and issues that came out of the initial discussion. Many ideas emerged for the site, including a small business incubator, community garden space, community gathering space and so on.

In the end, three broad principles emerged, which should inform the framework for any redevelopment of the site. Through this exercise, the Bellevue Parking Lot was identified as appropriate for 100 percent affordable rental housing. This council decision can be found at the following: link.

Since we began advocating for the Bellevue parking lot to be redeveloped for community needs, we have had strong support from our city councillors over the years. Each in turn have long been supportive of this vision and participated in the creation and guarding of these community values over time.

In July 2020, City Council designated the Toronto Parking Authority lot at 25 Bellevue Avenue (Green P Carpark 71) in Kensington Market for new non-profit affordable rental housing development. We have been waiting for the City to release an RFP (request for proposal), a competitive selection process to undertake such a project.

Together, we have approached St. Clare’s Multi-faith Housing Society to be the operating partners for the site, in order to plan for the deepest levels of affordability and support. New Commons Development - an experienced nonprofit real estate company has also been working with us as the development managers on this site.

We hope, like all of you, our members, and the Kensington Market community, out in full force to see this promise made to our community come to life. Please let us know any of your thoughts about the Bellevue parking lot, to ensure our discussions and advocacy towards the City are reflective of your voice. To join the future Bellevue Parking Lot Advisory Committee of KMCLT or express your voice, please get in touch with us at info@kmclt.ca

Community Principles for Redeveloping the Bellevue Parking Lot

Providing affordable housing is the highest priority.

  • The loss of affordable housing, and thereby our most precarious neighbours and community relationships is a critical issue in Kensington Market.
  • This has only accelerated through the disproportionate development of luxury residential units and the proliferation of ghost hotels.
  • Housing units on this site should be structured to be perpetually affordable, through democratic and community-controlled mechanisms such as a CLT.
  • It should offer a spectrum of housing tenure, from private ownership to rentals and cooperatives.
  • It should accommodate a mix of low and moderate-income households in order to reflect and rebalance the traditional diversity of working-class households in Kensington Market.
  • Within this diversity, priority shall be given to Indigenous people.
  • The density of the building should reflect the surrounding neighbourhood.

Any redevelopment should be a mixed-use building.

  • Kensington Market’s uniqueness should be reflected, with a traditional mix of housing, small businesses, and community life in close quarters.
  • Some specific use suggestions in addition to affordable housing included: business incubators; art gallery and studio space; retail space; live/work space and a community gathering space.

Any redevelopment should facilitate communal uses and community connection.
  • Public and community spaces should incorporate and honour the Indigenous history and current Indigenous community in Kensington Market.
  • The site is currently a residential-commercial area connector by acting as a shortcut to Augusta from Bellevue, this connection must be maintained.
  • Kensington Market’s vibrant community life should be supported by providing space for activities such as community gardens and kitchens, and or meeting spaces for local organizations.

      Land AcknowledgementWe, as members of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust, are aware that we are a settler organization. Kensington Market sits in the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit (an Anishnaabe people), the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat and Petun Nations, land which is now home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

      This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum belt covenant, an agreement by the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee to share resources equally and peaceably. It is also covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. As a settler organization concerned with land ownership, we acknowledge that we have broken the treaties. Our work for the well-being of this land must include accountability to our relatives.

      More Community Groups
      Friends of Kensington Market
      Kensington Market Historical Society
      Kensington Market BIA
      Kensington Market Action Committee

      Our Contact

      Mailing Address:
      103 Bellevue Avenue,
      Toronto, ON, Canada