NEWS

Fate of collapsed Little Burgundy building in city's hands

04/14/2014 09:34 EDT | Updated 06/14/2014 05:59 EDT
City engineers are inspecting a historic Little Burgundy community centre that partially collapsed on Sunday to determine the building's fate.

Part of the stone facade of the old Negro Community Centre collapsed Sunday. The collapse forced 38 residents of a neighbouring apartment building into temporary accommodations while city engineers inspect the crumbling structure.

No one was injured.

Barriers had been erected around the building a few months ago when loose stones fell from the facade.

However, a recent inspection found no signs of an imminent collapse.

The historic centre was once the hub of Little Burgundy’s black community.

“This is where people came on weekends, this is where they had all their activities — social activities, political activities, it all happened here,” Egbert Gaye, editor of the local Community Contact newspaper, told CBC News.

Jazz great Oscar Peterson studied piano at the centre and his sister, Daisy Sweeney, taught neighbourhood youngsters to play the instrument.

The centre closed more than 20 years ago and the structure has been boarded up ever since.

Board members of the Negro Community Centre had been hoping to restore the aging stone building. 

Gaye feels the Little Burgundy black community didn't receive the support it needed to save the historic building.

“This is the end result of neglect and it’s symbolic — it signifies the neglect of an entire community,” he said.

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