An exciting development is underway in York Region as plans for the Unionville Commons Seniors Hub take shape.
The project aims to provide enhanced services for seniors in the City of Markham, promoting community well-being and inclusivity.
Jennifer Strong, acting director of Integrated Business Services with York Region, states, "York Region’s senior population is growing faster than any other age group," and with the senior population on the rise, there is a growing need for localized and accessible services. Community hubs have emerged as eﬀective spaces for bringing people together and offering a range of programs and opportunities. The Seniors Hub and Community Centre align with York Region's Seniors Strategy, which focuses on creating multi-service centres that adapt to the changing needs of seniors.
The opportunity to establish the seniors hub arose during the redevelopment of the Unionville Home Society campus. Collaborating with Unionville Home Society and Minto Communities, the project includes a 265-unit aﬀordable rental building for seniors. Located on the ground floor of Unionville Commons, at 4310 Highway 7 East, the hub and community centre will become a centre for seniors-focused services, programs, and amenities.
According to Strong, "The City of Markham is home to the highest share of York Region seniors, and it is estimated that between 2021 and 2051, the number of seniors living in the City of Markham will grow by 113 per cent,” underscoring the pressing need for this initiative.
"In the coming months, we will begin recruiting residents from Unionville Commons, community members, and key partners to create the Seniors Hub Advisory Group; the group will provide feedback and advice to York Region on the planning, operations, and continuous improvement of the hub and will also support ongoing consultation opportunities with community members and agencies,” stated Strong, reflecting the commitment to involving the community in the project.
In addition to the seniors hub and community centre, Unionville Commons features two towers, an eight-storey and a 12-storey building, providing a total of 265 apartments for seniors. Designed with seniors' specific needs in mind, the building offers universal accessibility and on-site parking. Outdoor spaces, gardens, and pedestrian walkways will contribute to the residents' overall well-being.
York Region's commitment to building age-friendly communities is evident in the Unionville Commons development and the seniors hub and community centre.
Funding for the capital construction costs will be supplemented by contributions from the federal and provincial governments through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The hub and community centre operations are designed to be self-sustaining, avoiding the need for regional tax levy contributions or subsidies from Housing York Inc. Aﬀordable membership fees will ensure accessibility for the community.
"York Region received funding to support capital costs to build the seniors hub through the Community, Culture, and Recreation funding stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program,” said Strong. The collaboration with the City of Markham underscores the shared dedication to meet the needs of the growing senior population and create a vibrant and inclusive community.
Strong concludes by stating that the design and construction of the seniors hub is anticipated to begin in 2024, with operations commencing in 2025. She also notes that "In 2024, we will initiate a public process to bring in partner organizations; these partners will provide seniors with programs and services at the hub that are tailored to the community and easy to access.”
Connor Simonds, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Markham Review