On Friday, November 15, the apartment building located at 235 Gosford Boulevard, near Jane and Steeles, experienced a 5-alarm fire that displaced close to 700 hundred residents and resulted in the passing of one. The fire reportedly started on the eighth floor, but the Ontario Fire Marshall is not viewing the fire as suspicious at this time.
Driftwood Community Recreation Centre opened their doors first to provide shelter access for the residents who could not find another place to stay, and York University followed suit by opening their doors for the same purpose. The University has released their Tait McKenzie Centre to accommodate all residents if they need a space to eat, rest and use their facilities. Those staying at Driftwood were transported by TTC to York on Sunday afternoon.
Tenants are encouraged to go to the Tait McKenzie Centre at York University, located at 1 Thompson Road. The facility is open 24/7, and ID is not required to register.
The City said that the “The reception centre [at York University] is pet-friendly and will offer meals, cots and blankets, washrooms and showers, secure storage of personal belongings, animal care for pets and service animals and personal services such as hygiene kits and mental health support.”
The Red Cross has been managing the temporary shelter and distribution of amenities since Friday. Tenants who have made alternate living arrangements are still encouraged to register with the Red Cross on site at York University to ensure that they have access to the resources that they might require going forward, including food and mental health care.
Local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza and MPP Tom Rakocevic have been present both on-site at 235 Gosford and at shelter locations since Friday night to help advocate for residents. Mayor John Tory was also on-site on Friday night to show support for the community.
Emergency Response units are still investigating the cause of the fire and contractors are working to restore the building. It has not been confirmed when residents can move back, but York University will be available for the next 14 days. Some units have been severely damaged and may not be livable for some time. The Electrical Safety Authority has restored power to parts of the building, not entirely since wires and circuit breakers need to be repaired first. The Landlords were allowed partial access to their building on Monday afternoon, and are known to be cooperating with the investigation.
The Downsview Advocate will continue to publish updates as they become available.
If readers have further questions, please call The Red Cross – Toronto Office Emergency Services at: (416) 480-0195 or local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza’s Office at (416) 338-5335.
While residents have been reportedly taking initiative and donating food, clothing and other provisions to their neighbours, the Red Cross is not currently accepting physical donations. Residents are encouraged to donate online at: