The excitement was palpable as close to 500 Jewish Toronto community members, including some 300 donors, attended the much-anticipated groundbreaking of the Sheff Family Building, the future home of the expanded Prosserman Jewish Community Centre on Sherman Campus.
The event, held under a large tent, and emceed by Senator Linda Frum, included a number of moving speeches from leading donors such as Barry and Honey Sherman who helped make the day a reality, dignitaries, and an intergenerational choir.
“Congratulations to UJA on today’s groundbreaking,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “Community Centres are so important to our neighbourhoods. It’s where we come together as a city. This centre will provide a sense of community, bring neighbours together and connect people by acting as a space for recreation and community gatherings.”
Expected to be completed by fall 2019, the 106,000 square foot state-of-the-art Sheff Family Building will offer a myriad of programs, including swim and fitness classes, youth groups, cultural and art classes and see the return of the summer camp to the campus.
“Community Centres like this play a key role in promoting healthy, active lifestyles, while encouraging local economic activity,” said Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, whose Ministry is providing $10.2M of funding for the project.
“This is truly a historic and joyous time in the annals of Toronto’s Jewish community,” said Fred Waks, Chair, Sherman Campus Phase 2 Leadership Committee. “Thanks to our remarkably visionary and generous donors, we are witnessing the fruition of a dream; a dream that will ensure that Jewish Toronto will continue to thrive and strengthen for generations to come. We are proud to have raised $50M for Sherman Campus Phase 2 to-date and we feel confident the remaining just under $5M will be raised in the months ahead.”
The ceremony marks the start of the second phase of the Sherman Campus development, part of UJA Federation’s Tomorrow Campaign, that created the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan as well as the state-of-the-art Miles Nadal JCC at Bloor and Spadina, and the Wolfond Centre for Jewish Campus Life on Harbord Street.
Phase 1 of the Sherman Campus Project, completed in 2009, saw the construction of the Donald Gales Family Pavilion and renovations to the Lipa Green Centre for Jewish Community Services.
“Our family is thrilled to be playing such an important role in this exciting project,” said Gerald Sheff. “We are so proud to be naming The Sheff Family Building, because we know it will be a beacon of light for our community for generations to come.”
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