Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister on growing communities and rebuilding Toronto’s Blackhurst Cultural Centre


June 2, 2024 - Toronto, Ontario

I am so so glad to be here today at the Blackhurst Cultural Centre in Toronto. As an added bonus we are here in the amazing community, the riding of University–Rosedale that I have the privilege of representing. I am delighted to be here with my colleagues, Minister Marci Ien. Great to be here with the Mayor, Olivia Chow, and I do also want to recognize Dianne Saxe. Together, Dianne and I represent this amazing community, at the city and federal levels. 

Our recent budget is about fairness for every generation; about making Canada work better for everyone.

That is why we are moving with purpose to build nearly 4 million more homes.

We are making life cost less.

And we are driving the kind of economic growth that will ensure every generation of Canadians can reach their full potential and build a great life in the middle class.

Because we know our country works best when the economy is growing and when good opportunities exist for everyone and for every generation.

One of the ways that we can drive that kind of economic growth is by investing in our infrastructure.

The Blackhurst Cultural Centre is a key cultural hub for all the people of Toronto, showcasing the rich culture and history of Canadians of African and Caribbean descent.

The last time I was here, during Black History Month in February, I saw this space come to life. There may even have been dancing, and I saw how important this centre is as a place for the community to come together, to work, to think, to organize, and yes to sing and dance sometimes too. The work that Itah and Miguel, and their team accomplish here every day is vital for our city, for our province, for the whole country.

So I really want to take a moment to just say thank you so much for what you do every day. You are building a community, and in building a community, you are building our country.

Thanks is wonderful, and it’s always good to say thank you and to recognize amazing people doing amazing work, but it’s really good when that thank you can come with material support to expand that work even further.

And so that’s why I am really glad that we have some great news today.

The federal government is investing $7.84 million through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Program and another $3.5 million through Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. That’s amazing support for an amazing centre, and it is going to have a multiplier effect on the work that is being done here. This is to help the Blackhurst Cultural Centre expand its role for today and for tomorrow, for generations to come.

I think we all know that our country works best when we work together, community organizations, private sector, government and all orders of government working together, and that’s one of the things that you are seeing here with today’s announcement. I am really glad that because of our federal government’s partnership with the City of Toronto, which is also investing millions in this project, together we are going to rebuild a heritage building to become the Blackhurst Cultural Centre’s beautiful new home.

We have seen on our tour renderings of what that is going to look like.

This gorgeous new centre is going to feature a soundproofed musical studio, offices, an art gallery, a digital podcast room, space for the beautiful piano we heard playing earlier today, a multi-purpose community space for events, meetings, programs, and of course a bookstore.

This investment will allow the Blackhurst Cultural Centre to expand to a beautiful permanent location and to continue to serve as an important gathering place to celebrate the rich history of Black communities in Toronto and to inspire the next generation to grow and to continue that legacy.

I am so excited about participating in the great new programming to come in your beautiful centre.

We are proud to support infrastructure projects like the Blackhurst Cultural Centre, and I want to emphasize cultural infrastructure, community infrastructure, that is as important for building our country as roads and bridges are. We need both. Today’s investment is another positive step towards empowering Black-led community organizations in helping to build a more inclusive Canada.

By making these infrastructure investments today, we can build more inclusive communities where every generation can and wants to live and raise their families: the next generation. Communities where everyone is welcome.

Together, we will unlock the door to a good life for every generation—and renew the promise of our great country.

Thank you very much and thanks again to everyone who works here.

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