Editor’s note: In response to numerous requests from the community, The GALA Herald is publishing this on behalf of a group that has been working on behalf of the community to find answers.

Mission Services is relocating from its location at James and Barton to 400 King St East. The current location is classified as a lodging house under a private, not-for profit business. They currently support 58 beds and plan to increase that to 108.

This move further adds to the over concentration of social service facilities in the “North End” of Ward 3, particularly the Stinson, Landsdale and Gibson neighbourhoods. Those neighbourhoods already have The Cathedral Shelter, two proposed Safe Injection Sites, long-established services like The Bridge, Helping Hands and Mission Services on Wentworth Street.

Coffee with the Councilor, August 16, 2022 (this video can be found on her Instagram and Facebook page) starting at 33:52 the residents had a robust conversation about the impact of the 2yrs from the Cathedral Shelter.  It is stated by the residents: 

  • have felt vulnerable and uncomfortable 

  • more than pushed out of their comfort zone

  • dealing with behaviour and challenges as it relates too theft intimidation

What, for some reason, was not included, despite a constant stream of emails informing the Councilor and the City is

  • open drug use

  • dangerous drug paraphernalia littering private yards, alleyways, and green space 

  • open alcohol consumption

  • discarded liquor bottles littering private yards, alleyways, green spaces

  • public sex 

  • public drug deals

For readers that may think this is again is a case of NIMBY allow us to explain.  From King St to Stinson, West Ave to Tisdale these are the facilities:

West Ave S – Overflow men’s shelter

Victoria St – woman’s shelter/ 2 Rcf’s/long term care facility 

East Ave – RCF

Stinson – palliative care home/ RCF 

Emerald – halfway house (x2)/ RCF/ RCF (temporarily closed)/half way house (x2)/Cathedral Shelter

Tisdale– RCF

Nowhere in City has this amount of concentration in one Ward. Our Councilor states “Over concentration of certain services into one geographical area goes against social cohesion principles and counters good planning for service delivery”.

How then is the addition of a 108 bed shelter being approved? HMMIOBY– how many more in our back yard?

Residents were not made aware of this move through community consultation and efforts to get satisfactory answers are not addressed to their satisfaction. They are told that “the Municipality does have a role to play in the necessary zoning and permits”. The Planning and Building Departments inform us that Mission Services obtained a Zoning Verification and have a building permit under review for this use.  The permit requested involved removing partitions, this has been done, the building at 400 King has been gutted to the brick and new windows have been installed. That is a significant amount of work and huge outlay of funds for a charitable organization to put out if the building permit is still “under review”! If they had no guaranties that the permit for the Class C men’s rooming house would be granted, why did they purchase the building and do extensive renovations.

The community had to find out about this proposed move without Mission Services reaching out to us It is the custom that City Hall be informed in advance, but nothing was relayed to the community it directly affects. This comment was paraphrased from a Councilor’s comments “There is a powerful group within City Hall aligned with the downtown core development and they are displacing the unwanted homeless population into Ward 3 and Stinson”.

This plan will gravely impact these neighbourhoods for decades! The community has a lot of questions and they cannot get answers.


Contact the Spec: Ask them to make the communities opinions known. A Spectator article states that “Core Urban is excited to pick up the Mission Services property at James and Barton, where a pair of three-storey buildings stand. “It’s a great corner. It’s a gateway to the waterfront,” co-founder Steve Kulakowsky said. For now, the plan is to retrofit office space there, but down the road, he sees a mix of denser residential and commercial development on the site.“ When it comes time, whatever we do at James and Barton will fit in with the neighbourhood.”

This plan is NOT IN RESPONSE to “an urgent need for a temporary shelter in time of crisis”. This proposed plan places even more of the high acuity homeless population out of the downtown core and into our poor neighborhood, in your Ward, and is contrary to the basic principles of moral and ethical urban planning.

Contact the Catholic Board of Education: 400 King St E (look at the map!) is located HALF A BLOCK from the NEW St. Patrick’s Elementary School that will open this September 2022!!! Have they been informed? The new school will be seriously impacted by this site and the proposed Safe Injection Site at Cannon and Ashley. Is this where you want to have your children travelling to school?


When contacted, Mission Services provides platitudes meant to cushion the impact of the negative aspects this will bring to the community. They have committed to: 

  • Creating a beautiful space that blends into the community and maintains the brick and heritage of the building as much as possible 
  • Proactive communication with residents with a clear path for residents to voice their concerns 
  • Clear timelines to share with community members 
  • Ongoing community consultation 

Furthermore, Mission Services will host a community this month and are committed to providing answers to all resident questions. You can contact Wendy Kennelly, Associate Executive Director, Administration and Resource Development at 905-528-4211 x3109 or wkennelly@mission-services.com

But when??? When they are moved in? When it’s a done deal? Speaking to business owners in close proximity to the current location, they are thrilled. “Mission Services site was a perpetual pain. We are happy to see them go”.

It is a fact that they already failed at:

  • Proactive communication with residents with a clear path for residents to voice their concerns
  • Clear timelines to share with community members
  • Ongoing community consultation

It’s time to come together and voice your concerns BEFORE it is done and before the Municipal Election on October 24TH.

In order to preserve the privacy of the writer, please refer serious questions to galaherald@gmail.com and they will be passed on.