Every weekday morning, as I drive my boys to middle school, I pass an empty lot in Toronto’s West Don River Valley that used to be home to the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre.
Parkland has a soothing effect on most people, myself included, but this grassy expanse annoys me.
As a teenager, I marvelled at the JCC’s three full-sized gyms – two of which included running tracks – as well as its indoor and outdoor swimming pools, daycare centre, indoor squash and racquetball courts, aerobics studios, 444-seat multipurpose Leah Posluns Theatre – which, along with the JCC’s Koffler Centre of the Arts, had only been added to the site in the late 1970s – not to mention its myriad of other facilities and services.
I would have loved to have belonged to the JCC during my teen years, but my parents simply couldn’t afford it. I know, because I asked them many times if we could join. They were raising four kids on a social worker’s salary and sending them all to Jewish day school, which wasn’t, and still isn’t, inexpensive. A membership to the the BJCC, while costing less than most comparable facilities or health clubs, was out of the question.
The BJCC was closed in 2009 and demolished in 2010. It was only about 50 years old, with construction having started on it in 1958. Continue reading