Front and Cherry site to be transferred to Aboriginal health care group

Dennis Hanagan –

A section of the Pan Am Athletes’ Village in the West Don Lands will be transferred by the province to Toronto’s Aboriginals for a health centre when the 2015 summer games are over.

The centre on a 2.4-acre site at Front and Cherry streets will let Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT) consolidate three other facilities on Queen St. E. near Moss Park, on Gerrard St. E. near Allan Gardens and on Vaughan Rd.

“We’re more than happy. It’s going to work well,” AHT executive director Joe Hester told The Bulletin. “It speaks a lot about investment in terms of our people in the long term.”

Toronto’s Aboriginal population is estimated at 70,000. The land now occupied by Toronto was inhabited by the Mississaugas First Nation when Europeans arrived.

The AHT “hub” will provide traditional Aboriginal and modern health services with spaces for education, social enterprises and the performing arts.

In 2011, Ontario gave AHT approval for a planning and design grant of up to $1.485 million for the new centre.

Hester didn’t have a specific timeline for construction but said “we hope to get shovels in the ground soon after the games are done.”

He said public transit to the site is good, noting the King streetcar will go down Cherry St. and a Broadview Avenue LRT is expected to extend into the Portlands.

“It’s very good in terms of access,” said Hester.