Importance of “coffee-shop” like spaces in our community

Growing up in the Jane-Finch community I rarely saw communal spaces to work or hang out in. Usually any sort of meet-up or school work I wanted to do outside my home had to be done at the library or at the local Tim Hortons. Neither of these spaces felt like they served the purpose that many coffeeshops in other Toronto neighbourhoods served their community.

Recently I stumbled across a place at the Jane-Finch Plaza – a bubble tea shop called Noon Moment that offers an extensive tea menu and free Wi-Fi. The space is beautiful and welcoming – offering board games, a loyalty program, and a free drink on your birthday.

When I asked the owner, Don, what inspired him to open Noon Moment, he simply said he wanted to give his community this kind of space. Originally from Vietnam, he noticed the growing Vietnamese community in the area. Don then decided to open a small shop that would offer a popular product but would also serve as a space where people in the community could study, work, and socialize.

And it seems to be doing just that! When I walked into Noon Moment I noticed many people with their laptops working away and hanging out while enjoying delicious bubble tea.

A local entrepreneur, Jenn Myky, explains that this sort of space is valuable to our community. Jenn is an art teacher who offers paint-night classes for groups and is one of the founders of Femme Theory, a beauty and self-care business she started with other young women from the area. She recommends the Iced lemon Green Tea with Aloe Vera.

“It gives me the ability to take my business wherever I need. Noon Moment not only provides a variety of drinks but it’s also a calm and comfortable space for work. I find that seating is a big factor when it comes to finding the right place but also lighting and plugs for a long work session,” shares Jenn.

“I would definitely rather support a local business over a Starbucks or Tim Hortons,” Jenn explains and emphasises the need for spaces like this because community members enjoy what this space offers.

It must be noted the neighbouring Tim Hortons at the Jane-Finch Mall is not very welcoming. There are no plugs to charge phones or laptops, does not have the comfortable seating that some other franchises have, and generally the number of seats are limited. In many ways it discourages us to stay, hang out, and do work in its space for any long period of time with friends.

City life and student life can be stressful and isolating. It is easy to become disconnected from our surroundings and spaces like these serve as hubs for our communities to engage and connect.

However, I am not advocating for gentrification – but our community should have more public spaces for us to hang out in.

Our community is wonderful but far too often the Jane-Finch community is misrepresented and this deters investment from even our own community members. We need locally owned businesses like Noon Moment  – spaces that are for us and by us.  Our community should be given the opportunity to open and create spaces for ourselves without the fear of being displaced.

Noon Moment is located at 1993 Finch Ave W they are opened every day from 10 AM – 10 PM.

 

DUKE on Ice Family Winterfest

A first-of-its-kind family fun event in winter in North York with food, music, ice-skating, and free giveaways on this Family Day! Admission is free. Bring your family and friends for an afternoon full of treats, music, giveaways and fun!

Free Activities:
-Indoor skating
-Raffle draw
-Maple Syrup Snow Taffy
-Books for every child to take home
-Games and activities

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/duke-on-ice-family-winterfest-tickets-53263715206

York Woods Library gets a modern makeover!

York Woods Library is located on Finch between Jane and Sentinel, and it backs onto a beautiful ravine. The library first opened in 1970 and has served as a community hub for decades.

But York Woods is due for an upgrade! The inaccessible second floor, the inconvenient layout, and the lack of dedicated spaces has left the library behind the times. In mid-January, York Woods held a public consultation where they unveiled the most up-to-date plans for the new library.

Once complete, York Woods will be a bigger and more accessible community hub. It will have multifunctional as well as dedicated spaces so the library can be a place of learning, collaboration, and innovation. Children and teenagers who come to library will have access to different spaces – there will be a kids-stop to give a space to play, learn, and develop fine motor skills, a youth hub that will have after school activities and access to nutritious snacks, homework help, tech and programming lessons, and space to provide teenagers from the community a space to hang out.

There will also be a digital innovation lab – a place where those who are interested can have access to the latest technology like green-screens, video equipment, 3-D printing, cutting-edge software, and more!

The building is outdated. Its architecture is from the 1970s and layout no longer effectively services the neighbourhood’s growing needs and the modernization of world.

The project developers and architects of the York Woods Library aim to build the space to be responsive to; What’s best for the community? What’s coming up next for tech? What kind of spaces does (and will) the Jane-Finch Community and the rest of Downsview need, especially as our spaces are getting smaller?

These are exciting times for the community – the consultation was attended by many enthusiastic community members. York Woods Library will be closed once construction starts and many residents were upset to hear that they would be losing their space – but do not fret! A pop-up space will be opening to fill in the gap in the interim.