Wednesday, February 11, 2015

RIP Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre (CONC)

It's impossible to tell when this happened, but CONC is gone. It happened sometime before October of 2014. Apparently they're just temporarily gone. Nobody has any reason to believe or disbelieve this.

Their website is still up, and still listing their old address on Bloor St. West, and still listing their meal programs, like today's lunch:

No mention is made of the closure. The company responsible for their website is called The Wire. Maybe someone should contact them and let them know to change things. But they've most likely been out of contact with CONC since first designing their site, back in the day, whenever that was. This problem is typical of these multiservice agencies, and the sketchy relationships they have with those who do their web design. In general, they can't allow clients to work on their websites, since clients can't be trusted, and since nobody who has the keys to the site can afford to spend any time on it, and since communication between any of the parties involved is impossible. So, service agencies like CONC, when they're applying for funding, or when they have funding, find some web design agency that needs to do some charity work, or needs to do some portfolio-building work, they spend a month or so creating some evil monster that's impossible for the soup kitchen staff to maintain, and which they'll never have the time or the budget to touch again, and there you go. It floats in space forever. Telling people to show up at the abandoned storefront, every week.

Here's what the abandoned storefront looks like now. Notice the complete lack of any signage about where the new location is or what the new schedule is. The two things that are tacked up there are about a youth employment program, and a music event. Beautiful graffiti though.

This is typical of temporary or permanent closures. Users are not notified. The website continues to deliver inaccurate information. And sometimes, some other agency steps up. In this case, it's the Salvation Army. As famous for their discrimination as they are for their substandard food, this omnipresent charity superpower has picked up where CONC left off.

So now, instead of the best-quality food in the area, in a super cramped spot, where you can also go downstairs and book a recording session (if you're young), or laundry use (if you're organized), or get vegetarian food (if you're a vegetarian or a liar who wants to avoid meat), you can go a few blocks away, except on weekends, no more weekend meals, and get what you're a bit more used to. Something a bit more in line with what you'd find at the average soup kitchen. In the case of today's meal, it was bacon, a chunk of what is probably spam, undercooked potatoes, and salad. Or rather, lettuce.

To be precise, the new location is the dreaded Salvation Army, at 789 Dovercourt. And the new times are: Breakfast from 10am to 11am, and lunch from noon to 1pm. And the new days are Monday to Thursday. The only advantage is that Salvation Army's space is substantially larger. The crowd is still fairly sketchy, but there's more buffer space between people.

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