Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC)
Our Impact Why We Exist
The true meaning of PARC is reflected in our mission: “A community where people rebuild their lives.”
Stop by any day of the week. PARC: a place where meals do more than fill mouths. They start relationships that build trust and fight poverty & mental health stigma.
Our Story What We Do
The idea of PARC was born in 1977 when a group of volunteers observed the large number of adults living in Parkdale rooming houses and boarding homes. Many were survivors of the psychiatric system, had little money, few family contacts and no real place to go and connect with peers.
The simple act of walking through our doors is what makes a person a PARC member. Choosing to give back, create and grow is how PARC members contribute and help build our community.
Within a shifting urban landscape, PARC also acts as a hub and meeting place for various agencies, enterprises and partners who strive to create lasting social change in Parkdale and beyond.
Awards we've won
2010 City of Toronto Affordable Housing Champion (Edmond Place)
1. Community Development
· Creating Together
· Parkdale and Roncesvalles BIA
· Parkdale Community Legal Services
· Parkdale Community Information Centre
· Parkdale Golden Age Foundation
· RMRA & Parkdale Residents Association
· Toronto Tool Library
2. Mental Health and Addictions Service
· Breakaway Addiction Services
· Reconnect Mental Health Services
· South Toronto Health Link
· St. Joseph’s Health Centre
· The Toronto Drug Strategy
· Toronto Public Health
· West Neighbourhood
3. Organizational Strengthening
· Eva's Initiatives
· George Brown College
· Ryerson University
4. Health Wellness and Food Security
· Boulevard Club
· Creating Health Plus
· Daily Bread Food Bank
· Greenest City
· Parkdale Community Health Centre
· Second Harvest
· The Toronto Food Strategy
· West End Food Coop
5. Social and Recreation Activity
· Centre for Mindfulness Studies
· Making Room
· St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church
· Toronto Drop-in Network
6. Housing Security
· Access Point
· Habitat Services
· Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust
· Regeneration House
· Toronto Police Service Division 11 & 14
7. Advocacy, Education and Learning
· Parkdale Green Thumb Enterprises
· Parkdale Project Read
· St. Stephen’s Community House
· The Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness
· Working For Change
Our Programs How We Do It
The very first sentence of Vital Signs report 2014 is relevant to PARC “Toronto’s population continues to age and senior’s will represent 17% of the city’s residents in 2031."
Over 35 years, PARC has grown from a stove and a couple volunteers (literally) to affordable housing provider, skills developer and a social enterprise incubator. In the heart of Parkdale; we have become the core support agency for those who struggle with issues of poverty, mental health and addictions, social isolation homelessness and food security. Members access services and develop relationships with our staff and one another through our core areas of operation: a drop-in centre, a peer-support program, an outreach program and supportive housing. The simple act of walking through our doors is what makes a person a PARC member. Choosing to give back, create and grow is how PARC members contribute and help build our community.
I introduced myself. He was agitated and upset and did not want to go anywhere with me. I waited patiently; and after some time, he came back apologizing and allowed me to accompany him to his appointment. As we began to walk he became more calm and started to share his story. I listened while he explained. I listened patiently and non-judgementally, encouraging him every now and then, acknowledging him, nodding to show him that I was listening, making eye contact - all the skills I have learned throughout my education and training as a Peer Worker.
As we finished the appointment with the Doctor, he seemed to build confidence in communicating more with me; I noticed a profound change in his posture and facial expression. He seemed to be much more at ease and happy. His appointment went well and we were shortly on the return trip home. As we were getting ready to part - I extended my hand but in return he said ”oh come on, how about a hug”. I feel the outcome of this accompaniment was a great success; knowing that someone who was feeling so anxious at the start, ended with a hug.
Precarious mental health, poor physical health and uncertainty about the future are all states of being that can be attached to homelessless, under-employment and social isolation. Wellness, confidence and self-efficacy, on the other hand, are all outcomes of people who possess secure housing, employable skills and meaningful connections in their lives.
PARC builds skills, health and community via dozens of programs focused on: Healthy Meals, Arts and Music, Recreation and Healing, Employment and Education, Medical and Dental Services and Crisis Intervention. PARC believes poverty prevents people from achieving their potential and is committed to challenging all related forms of oppression.
PARC has a current annual operating budget of almost $4 million and significant assets including our 4-storey building at 1499 Queen Street West. In 2014, PARC's fundraising represented 5% of revenues and 2% of expenses. 88% of PARC annual revenues were primarily devoted to our charitable activities.
What You Can Do
Become A Donor: Your $100 gift supports PARC to serve 200 hot, healthy meals every day; 365 days of the year. Meals do so much more than just fill mouths. They bring individuals through the door and make them members of a community, they open up the table to conversations and new friendships and they create a path to everything else PARC staff and members do together to help rebuild lives.
Monthly donation: By committing to support PARC every month you are helping us to plan our work more effectively. If we know we can count on your support, we can plan our kitchen meals to include protein; we can replace or add to our musical, arts and sports equipment; we can help furnish an apartment for a newly housed member. Monthly gifts are the most powerful way you can make a difference at PARC.
Join the PARC community: parc.on.ca.
Advocate: Help us change the way people think about people with mental health and addictions.
Volunteer: PARC benefits from the contributions of volunteers in every area: the Kitchen, the Drop-In, the planning and operation of a wide variety of programs, social justice activism, and administration. Complete the Volunteer Application Form, and come out to one of our monthly volunteer tours to learn more about PARC and our volunteer program.