It’s a big project. And it takes a big commitment.
Work continues to ramp up on the largest transformational synagogue building project in Canadian history.
As our crew pushes ahead towards completion of Phase 1, and despite the recent sweltering temperatures that have brought some less-than-ideal working conditions to the site, we have over 100 tradespeople diligently working away.
One of the more interesting pieces of the work involves the excavation and construction of the new, outside lower courtyard that will be adjacent to the foyer of the Philip Smith Congregational Hall. With walls that protect it from the elements and shield it from the sidewalk along Dewbourne, this courtyard will be a wonderful venue for small receptions and may even house our Sukkah. If you look at the photos and video found here, you can see the huge “lego blocks” that have been temporarily installed while we await the pouring of the permanent retaining walls.
As any new and improved structural form will spur on new ways of using a building, take a brief moment to imagine how you might experience Temple life differently in our new Phase 1 spaces. From our open and light-filled atrium where you can sit, work, chat with friends or attend a Kiddush. To our new Holy Grounds café, where we promise you can enjoy a cup of Temple coffee that reaches a new quality standard. To our new Library where you read, research and listen to the sounds of our Little Blossoms at story time. To our new Tzedakah Centre, Youth Lounge and Family Chapel and more – all in a LEED Silver Certified, environmentally friendly, and wi-fi equipped space.
If you find yourself with a few minutes of free time this summer, we encourage you to drop in to have a look at the construction progress. The photos and video are terrific, but they really don’t do justice to the scope, scale, and importance of the project.
So where do we stand today?
Updates to our fundraising and budget.
At this moment in time, we’ve raised just shy of $28 million for Phase 1 – more than any congregation in Canadian history has raised for a synagogue capital project. The true value of this, of course, is that we are doing it together. Creating a new Holy Blossom Temple for ourselves and future generations. And that’s the value of our fundraising charge of ALEINU – It is upon us … each of us can point individually to what we did to help accomplish our shared dream.
But there is more to do. And more money to raise. As you might expect of any project of this scope, there have been unforeseen delays and site complications, plus greater than anticipated costs on a few different fronts along our path to Renewal.
And so, our Board of Directors, in a resolution passed on June 14th, approved an updated budget of $32.9 million – a 4% increase from our previous budget of $31.5 million.
Our shared (chutzpahdic) goal is to have Phase 1 as fully funded as possible by the High Holy Days – fitting in the season of Renewal. We thank all of our generous current donors from the bottom of our hearts. Our canvassers are currently engaged in active meetings and discussions with dozens of Temple families who are ready to join our ever-growing list of contributors. If you are ready to begin your own conversation about making a meaningful contribution to our Renewal Project, please reach out to Jonathan Ain, our Director of Development at 416-789-3291 (ext 249) or at [email protected]
But will it be finished by the High Holy Days?
The answer is yes. Mostly.
Our general contractor, Pomerleau, is working with great pace to complete as much of the project as possible in time for the HHDs. Here’s what this will mean:
We will have access to our most of our renewed spaces, including our brand new Central Atrium. Basically, this means we’ll have the excitement and anticipation of watching our own renovation come alive. We’ll be able to travel from the Main Sanctuary through the Atrium to the Philip Smith Hall (and its new foyer), as well as the rest of the school wing, including the boardroom, the activity room, and the current Youth Chapel. And access to the Atrium means we’ll be able to walk to and explore most other parts of the new construction, including our new Family Chapel (in the space that previously housed the Eisendrath Auditorium). Following the High Holy Days, Pomerleau will reoccupy the new spaces and finish off the construction for a period of about six to eight weeks.
Of course, we’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress all summer long. And there will be an announcement soon about an exciting Grand Opening Event planned for the first day of Chanukah in early December. Watch [email protected] for more details.
As always, we thank you for your continued support (financial and otherwise) of our shared Renewal Project.