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February 25, 2019

Renovation funding transforms Toronto co-op

“Our community developed wrinkles,” says Molly Tyson, referring to Toronto’s Milliken Co-op, her home of 19 years. “Mother Nature was doing her darnedest to make sure the place was wrinkled all away.”

Established in the 1980s, Milliken Co-op initially grew into a thriving community. Over the years, however, property maintenance slowed and more and more people started leaving.

Molly is a former board member at the co-op and witnessed the changes first hand.

“People wanted to get out,” she says. “Things weren’t getting done.”

Things changed dramatically in 2017. An infusion of funding enabled much-needed upgrades to in-suite flooring and front steps. It also transformed driveways, walkways, stairways and fences.

Residents chose the colour of the new flooring in their homes. They also had a say with other changes affecting them within the co-op.

The community impact has been monumental.

“It was like night and day,” says Carolyn Laptiste, a co-op resident for 21 years and a current board member. “Everything was fresh and new.”

Since work began, no one has moved out. “We have had people asking to move back,” says Molly.

Residents and non-residents alike have noticed the changes. Landscapers commented on the upgrades while working in the community last summer, and a delivery person asked how he could move in.

The co-op has a full waiting list, and Milliken manager Keisha Tanner receives regular phone calls asking about vacancies. “It’s been flooded,” she says.

Most importantly, the changes have boosted community pride.

“There is such a good feeling walking through the co-op,” Molly beams. “Our co-op.”

Milliken Co-operative received funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation through Budget 2016’s Reno-Retro program.