Tamil Co-op housing celebrates 30th anniversary in Toronto

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By Sanjay Kailanathan

The Tamil Cc- operative Homes Inc. (TCH) celebrated its 30th anniversary with a Gala dinner earlier this month. This proud milestone event hosted dignitaries from all levels of the government, honoured guests including 300 attendees.

Located at 20 Wade Ave. Lansdowne and Bloor, in the Davenport – Bloordale community the TCH was established in 1988 by Society for the Aid of Ceylon Minorities (SACEM), the organization that was instrumental in gaining the funds from the federal government through the ‘Sri Lanka Special Measures Program’ to build the Tamil Co- op as a home for the arrival of Sri Lankan Tamils post 1983 communal riots. The fore thinking action of SACEM is indeed commendable. 

Today after 30 years the TCH remains a model of what a safe, inclusive and diverse community can look like at its very best and is home not only to Tamils and also Africans, Burmese, South American and others.  In 2015, TCH was honoured by the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada with the Diversity in Living Award for the dedication in helping newcomers adjust to their new co-op home and to the larger community.  TCH is an exceptional and passionate community with an extraordinary history and a promising future.

Two years ago, TCH added a new dimension to the diversity by electing a majority of young members to the board. All the young board members were raised in the co-op as toddlers. Now TCH has youth participation in all areas of the co-op as general volunteers, committee members and board of directors, shaping the co- op of tomorrow. TCH has received the Cooperative Housing Federation of Toronto Youth award twice for its leadership in encouraging youth participation in all aspects of TCH governance.

Education is the foundation of success.  TCH has the distinction of having stared one of the first Tamil language libraries in Canada.   This library is still functioning today with multi language books, magazines and newly installed computers.  To mark the 30th Anniversary for the first time in its history TCH had inaugurated a scholarship and awards program distributing $2250 to students through the generous donations from past and current members. The students were awarded their Scholarships and awards at the 30th Anniversary celebration. TCH is steadfast in their commitment to academic excellence and as part of the 30th anniversary the TCH library has donated Tamil language books, useful for research to the University of Toronto Tamil Studies program.

Looking to the future, the TCH Board has developed a long term strategic and sustainability plan, with continued stable governance, stronger surplus, increased revenues, and to inject energy, money and resources back into TCH, the future looks promising.

Thirty years is one generation. Congratulations to the TCH residents, staff, and board.  Wishing the Tamil Co- op Homes a wonderful 30th Anniversary and cheers to another generation of 30 years.

(Writer is a student at York University, Engineering dept.)