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Bain Co-op: it takes a village

By Alice Dixon, Laura Sikstrom (Bain Residents).

IMG_0126 - Bain Property Committee.JPG

Sunday, May 7

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


Language: English 

Theme: Advocacy and Politics, Food and Drink, Architecture and Urban Planning, Environment and Sustainability, Transit and Accessibility, History and Community.

Accessibility: Uneven terrain, Stairs or other barriers, Breaks encouraged, Family-friendly walk, Family-friendly, Pet-friendly, Bicycles Welcome.


What happens when we live cooperatively? Come find out what it looks like in action through a past and present exploration of Bain Co-op.


Built as Riverdale Courts in 1913/14, one of Canada’s earliest examples of social housing. Its aim was quality affordable housing for workers, including single working women. It was designed by Toronto’s Arts and Craft’s architect Eden Smith, who imbued the development with an air of quality, respectability, and as it turns out, functionality.


Today this housing development is Bain Apartments Co-operative Inc. The co-operative was formed as one of Canada’s first, by residents in 1974. Thus it remains social housing today, that’s scale blends with the surrounding neighbourhood, while being twice as dense, and offering residents greater access to green space than the surrounding single family homes. An outstanding example of the gentle density Toronto needs today.


This short walk will cover a city block, exploring the history, stories, spaces, and people that make this community unique.

  • Walk Start Location: At the north-west corner of Bain and Logan Avenues. Nearest Public Transit: Chester station, 505/504 streetcars on Broadview, 505 streetcar on Gerrard, 72 bus on Pape.Walk Leader will be front of the Riverdale Courts historical plaque.

  • Walk End Location: Within a block of the starting location.

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