Scott Mission: Building affordable housing to promote hopefulness and ‘homefulness’ in Toronto
As an organization helping the homeless and less fortunate in Toronto for 80 years, Scott Mission has embarked on a bold endeavour to end homelessness and promote hopefulness and ‘homefulness’ in the City of Toronto. Building affordable housing was determined as an instrumental step toward the Mission’s goal of truly transforming the lives of those that they serve. In collaboration with our design-build partner, Maple Reinders Constructors, we were asked to lead the redevelopment design efforts of their 502 Spadina Avenue location. The upcoming nine-storey facility consists of six-levels containing 109 affordable housing units constructed above a three-storey podium where community and support services are offered by the Mission.
Having operated in their current facility for 60 years, Scott Mission sought to use their existing properties—a three-storey facility and an adjacent Victorian home—to continue with their services. Our team was originally retained to perform a feasibility study on how to connect the Victorian home to their existing facility; however, misalignment of both buildings along with the small space between each made the connection unattainable. Our challenge was to help the Mission explore other options for the redevelopment of their buildings that would allow them to expand their offerings to include affordable housing.
Kasian have been integral to the success of our project. They’ve seen us through all phases – feasibility study, master planning to rezoning and building – and been there every step of the way to guide us and help make our vision a reality.”
Bruce G Herzog
Chief Operating Officer, Scott Mission
Our residential mixed-use team conducted a feasibility study where the Mission determined that a larger, bolder redevelopment for their facility would enable them to achieve their goals. The decision to demolish the two existing buildings and replace them with affordable housing was selected as the best option. We held numerous engagement sessions with different user groups to learn what they envisioned for the future, working through various design options to explore the site’s full potential. We also led presentations to all levels of government and proposed various sustainable approaches that provide additional options for CMHC funding, along with cost efficiencies for the Mission and future residents.
Beyond the Mission’s big picture goal to provide affordable housing and expanded services, the need to maximize the site’s potential drove the design strategy. The decision to retain and redevelop their existing location capitalized on its prime proximity to transit and other critical services, enabling Scott Mission the opportunity to better serve their clients.
New in the redevelopment is a ground floor ‘welcome centre’ providing an inviting, open and accessible first point of contact for the facility, while assisting with intuitive wayfinding. Flexible, multi-purpose spaces feature throughout to support the various needs of the Mission’s users. To ensure service continuity, a decant space 500m south of the existing site was secured and is currently being renovated by our team. Future redevelopment plans also include a warehouse and hub with a commercial kitchen, as well as an expansion of their East end location, to unlock the full potential of the Mission’s community support services.
Redesigning the Mission’s downtown location to expand their continuum of care and provide much needed affordable housing in the City of Toronto has been a truly rewarding experience.”
Scott Mission redevelopment provides affordable housing in a mix of unit sizes, with 25% offering barrier-free accessibility. Further, the new facility also features 85 shelter beds; a food bank and hot meal services for up to 500-700 people per day; a community kitchen and garden; individual and group counselling program space; life skills and educational group training areas; a green roof with private outdoor space; and ample bicycle parking. With the new building providing sufficient space to house all programs that support the Mission’s areas of ministry, the blueprint is in place for the Mission to have a more significant reach and impact on the transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency upon its 2025 completion.
We have over 35 years of experience designing residential mixed-use projects across Canada and internationally. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you with your residential mixed-use project today.
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