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In Toronto – MOVING FORWARD IN 2017 TO 777-779 BATHURST ST – A Different Booklist

In Writing (all kinds) on December 30, 2016 at 11:19 AM

BIGGER…………….. BETTER……………….. BOLDER

NEW LOCATION IN 2017 – 777-779 BATHURST ST

STAY TUNED FOR MOVING DATE

Dear Friends, Customers, Supporters and Investors,

As the year 2016, the 21st year of A Different Booklist (our 18th year of ownership) comes to an end, we take this opportunity to thank you for being on this journey with us; and for your trust and support over the years that has made the bookstore such a valued institution in the Black community and an essential resource for the wider community. With your support and backing and the shoulders of Third World Books that we stand on, A Different Booklist has built up considerable cultural and community capital that has put us in a very good position as we move forward.

As you aware, this year we were faced with the challenge of finding a new location for the Bookstore while at the same time realizing our vision of a Cultural Centre which would house the Bookstore and also provide multi-purpose space for literary and cultural activities.

We are pleased to say that we have been able to finalize an arrangement to move to a 2000 sq ft retail space (also owned by Westbank, the developers that have taken over our block) in the building opposite to our present location. This address is 777-779 Bathurst St. This is a temporary arrangement for a 5 year period with the hope that we will be able to move back into the new development once it is completed. We are hoping we will be able to get the support of the city councillor, Mike Layton, and the developer to use the provisions of Section 37 (the developer’s community allocation) to provide for a permanent cultural space that will respect the strong and enduring black cultural heritage of the neighbourhood and at the same time enable the bookstore to continue its literary purpose.

To this end, we have made reasonable progress. Both Councillor Layton and Councillor Cressy have expressed support for the idea. Councillor Cressy in particular who represents the other 3 corners of Bathurst/Bloor has publicly expressed support for the proposition. We will be meeting with them both early in the New Year and we hope at that time to be able to nail down a commitment.

Fortunately, Ian Gillespie of Westbank has shown a willingness to listen to the cultural needs of the neighbourhood and we have been pressing our case with them. As a result, we were able to have 2 cultural events supported by Westbank. – an event recognizing Contrast Newspaper (the first Black Newspaper in Toronto) which existed at 28 Lennox Ave for over 20 years and where people like Austin Clarke, Norman ‘Otis’ Richmond, Royson James, JoJo Chintoh and many others cut their teeth – and the ‘Welcome to Blackhurst St’ exhibition at Markham House, which showcased the black history of Bathurst St and was curated by a young black artist and financed by the developer.

This was very successful resulting in almost 2000 visitors over a 2 month period.

All this, along with the announcement of our winning The Premier’s Award for excellence in the Arts and the support of the residents in the area, has meant that Westbank is now contemplating favorably our proposal for the space as a way of satisfying part of their community allocation.

As we move on to this ‘Bigger, Better, Bolder’ vision of 2017 and beyond, we look forward to your continuing trust and support.

Very soon we will be starting a public fund-raising campaign and seeking volunteers to help with the move and the additional costs associated with a larger, newer space.

STAY TUNED FOR MOVING DATE AND FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGN

PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY! WE WILL NEED IT!

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

MIGUEL SAN VICENTE ITAH SADU

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