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Regent Park arts and culture centre opens
A new community centre aiming to bring arts and culture to Toronto’s once-maligned Regent Park neighbourhood opened to the public on Thursday.
The Daniels Spectrum, formerly the Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre, aims to bring dance, theatre, visual arts and music groups together under one roof.
The building is part of a massive redevelopment strategy at Regent Park, as the community housing compound is renovated to become a downtown attraction.
The Regent Park redevelopment includes parks and gardens as well as new condominium complexes and the community centre.
Seema Jethalal of the Daniels Spectrum, said the facility will give arts and culture a chance to flourish in the Regent Park community.
Regent Park, Canada’s largest and oldest socially-assisted housing projects, is home to residents from 56 different countries of origin who speak 47 different languages.
“This is a really big deal for Regent Park -- for the city at large, but for Regent Park specifically. This community has no shortage of culture and creativity and diversity, but they have never had a dedicated home for it,” Jethalal told CTV’s Canada AM.
“Now there is a home for that creativity and culture that has always been here. We can take it to the next level now.”
Seven arts and culture groups will offer courses out of the new facility, which opened to the public on Thursday. The facility will also be able to host film festivals, theatre performances and even an inner-city circus school.
“On any given day you could catch a beautiful performance, a concert, a workshop, a dance class… there are all kinds of activities that are going to happen here,” Jethalal said.
One club getting a new home is the Regent Park School of Music, which has been forced to practise in church basements for years.
Charlotte Ann Siegel, a student at the music school, says the new facility will give more kids access to training in the arts.
“This means a lot to me because it means that a whole bunch of kids are going to have the same opportunity I had,” Siegel told CTV’s Canada AM on Thursday.
“It is just such a great vibe in this school … the rooms are great and we have a big space. It is a great environment.”