RELEASE: This March marks the 85th anniversary of Haven Toronto. The only facility of its kind in Canada, Haven Toronto is dedicated to serving elder men impacted by poverty, homelessness and social isolation. Open 365 days a year, Haven Toronto is a drop-in centre where elder men can feel safe, where they can form and cultivate friendships, become part of a community and have the opportunity to live a quality, dignified life.
In March of 1933, May Birchard, a social activist and city councillor, opened Haven Toronto (then named The Good Neighbours’ Club). May Birchard was one of the first female city councillors in Toronto and an influential anti-poverty activist. Birchard also served as a Toronto school board trustee.
While Haven Toronto serves elder men, for 85 years the drop-in centre has received significant support from women in leadership roles in business and the community, from our founder in 1933, to our three board members today, including Police Constable Susan Crawford of 51 Division, Kerry Jameson, Senior Director, Employee Policies and Programs at CIBC, and Kristyn Wong-Tam, Toronto City Councillor - Ward 27.
To commemorate the anniversary, Haven Toronto has introduced a limited-edition stamp featuring May Birchard. The stamp is available in booklets of 12. For a donation of $85, donors receive a pack of 12 commemorative stamps, valid for postage within Canada, and a tax receipt for $74.80. The stamps are only available online at www.shophaventoronto.ca, while supplies last. Proceeds support the homeless.
On any night in Toronto there are 7000 people who are homeless and living on city streets and in shelters. Many are clients of Haven Toronto. Through the following video, https://youtu.be/NPc3TQzBM0Q, you can better understand the impact of poverty and homelessness and the work that Haven Toronto does to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
In the last year, Haven Toronto has provided elder men age 50+ with crisis and housing support and dental hygienists, barbers and nurses onsite. We have also provided over 52000 healthy nutritious meals, over 11500 articles of clothing and access to showers, laundry, mail service and more.