It seems only yesterday, when a group known as Filipino Centre Toronto (FCT) acquired a building in downtown Toronto, in record time… a little over 18 months after the group’s launching in March 2001. This has been a dream for the Filipino community of Toronto circa 1974, which eventually happened on December 17, 2002.
The acquired FCT building is approximately 24,000 square feet spread over three levels. The lower level is now fully devoted as the designed community centre, while the ground floor is rented out commercially with the second floor used mostly by professionals.
FCT Building Twelve Years Later…
1. The building at 587 Parliament St. was dingy and smelly when acquired by FCT. The hard work of very few volunteers, led by Felino Javier and the Beloso Family, made the whole building bright, clean, fresh, and toxically correct, therefore, increasing the assessed value of the building to almost six times its original purchase price.
2. All financial obligations for the building and the organization are being met: mortgages, utilities, taxes, maintenance, salaries, etc.
3. Since FCT’s acquisition of the building, it now boasts a brand new air conditioning system that costs close to $200,000 and a brand new roof replaced in march 2008 that costs $110,000.00.
4. The FCT building has:
a) A Seniors’ Drop-In Centre, occupying about 800 sq. ft. of the lower level;
b) A beautifully appointed room called Rizal Hall, ideal for parties and meetings.
c) Ottawa Hall, a bigger room, good for seminar workshops and parties too.
5. A well appointed, renovated Suite 103 is FCT’s office and free clinic.
6. The Filipiniana Library, located in the lower level of the Filipino Centre Toronto building is open for use by students (elementary, high school and post graduate) who need materials for their Philippines project or term papers. It is also available to those who want to browse and read Philippines books and materials.
Since the re-launching of the library during the Cabbagetown Festival in 2011, the collection of books and artifacts has vastly improved.
Members of the public are encouraged to donated books on the Philippines or by Filipinos.
7. Due to the improvements done on the building, the Filipino community’s image in the neighbouring area has dramatically improved.