Image: Catherine LeBlanc-Miller (pictured) stands alongside one of three child care playgrounds at the redeveloped Yonge Sheppard Centre.
If you’re the parent, or caregiver of a young child, chances are good you’ve shared the struggle of finding high-quality, affordable child care. In Willowdale, our population growth has created long wait lists, challenging young families looking for a supportive and welcoming space for their little ones.
Throughout his career, John has taken a creative approach to establishing new child care spaces, leveraging surplus school space and development revenue without relying on scarce tax dollars. Two of John’s latest wins for families are the child care centre and family resource facilities located at the Yonge Sheppard Centre (4841 Yonge Street).
In early 2015, John stalled RioCan’s redevelopment plans for the centre at community council. RioCan met with John and I soon after the council meeting to discuss John’s vision of what could be added to their redevelopment plan. Positive negotiations went forward between John and RioCan to include a non-profit child care centre and EarlyON facility in the redesign of the Yonge Sheppard Centre.
St. Stephen’s Yonge and Sheppard Child Care Centre has 62 child care spaces available to accommodate a range of age groups. There are spots for 10 infants, 20 toddlers and 32 preschoolers.
The new space will be run by child care operator, St. Stephen’s Community House Child Care, and includes three playgrounds for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, amongst other amenities.
Elsewhere, the Yonge Sheppard Centre–EarlyOn Adventure Place is designed as a space to provide support for families and caregivers. The community-based agency, Adventure Place, will run this operation, and will offer a variety of drop in and pre-registered programs for children up to six years of age.
The facility will also be running workshops for parents, special events, and more. Children must be accompanied by a caregiver or parent in the EarlyON space.
Both facilities will be operating in early 2020.