The Ambassadors Project developed from the need to inform and explain the concept of PARC’s building development, Edmond Place, to the community. The need arose after the city awarded PARC the building and many residents, property owners and business owners opposed the decision. Initial engagement with the neighbourhood indicated that some businesses and home owners felt that Edmond Place might be another boarding or rooming house. The Ambassadors were hired from PARCs members and trained to get information out to the community, explaining that this housing would have 24/7 supports, good maintenance, and security. With the PARC Ambassadors consulting the Parkdale Community, most of the community went from a state of extreme opposition to PARC’s building development, Edmond Place, from NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) to YIMBYism (Yes In My Back Yard).
With the advent of the PARC Ambassadors Program, many of our ambassadors, including a number of our members have gotten recognition in the community and in the City of Toronto at large. Last Spring the PARC Ambassadors presented at the Toronto Community Development Institute held at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education)/University of Toronto, an all day event. Early last year, and again, in January of this year, a number of the PARC Ambassadors presented at the Alternative Housing Sub-Committee/ Shelter, Support & Housing Administration/City of Toronto, and were well received. Lately we have been attending the MHCC (Mental Health Commission Canada) to do with the MHCC Proposal/ Demonstration Project/Homelessness and Mental Illness.
The PARC Ambassadors will continue to keep a close relationship with the Parkdale Community, and maintain our connection with the neighborhood as a base to build on.