TORONTO, Ontario (Friday, October 2, 2020) – Yesterday, Toronto City Council unanimously passed a motion — introduced by Ward 8 Councillor, Mike Colle, and seconded by Deputy Mayor, Ana Bailão — establishing a “Little Jamaica” Heritage and Innovation Hub in the Eglinton West area, from Marlee Avenue West to Keele Street.
“The creation of an Eglinton West ‘Little Jamaica’ Heritage Hub celebrates the outstanding cultural and economic contributions made by the Black community in Toronto, and affords hope and opportunity for this legacy to be expanded upon,” declared City Councillor Cole, who represents the Eglinton-Lawrence constituency.
The motion calls, firstly, for the Provincial Metrolinx Agency to immediately compensate small businesses that have been devastated by the 8 years of the Eglinton Crosstown Construction that has seen over 124 small stores closed.
It also demands the immediate completion of the western portion of the Eglinton LRT, from Black Creek to Yonge Street; and calls for the elimination of the Commercial Property Tax that assess small businesses, such as potential condominiums.
The “Little Jamaica” Hub will also honour and recognize local Black Civil Right Community leaders — like entrepreneur, the late Jimmy Wisdom; lawyer Charles Roach; advocate Dudley Laws and others — with heritage plaques and murals at the new Eglinton Crosstown Stations of Oakwood, Dufferin and Eglinton West.
“COVID has impacted all our small businesses, but ‘Little Jamaica’ has also been facing challenges from Crosstown construction for almost a decade. That’s why I am supporting Councillor Colle’s motion for immediate relief, extending a lifeline to these businesses,” said, Deputy Mayor Bailão, who also represents the Ward 9, Davenport constituency on the city’s council.