Full Minutes – Trans Memorial Meeting – Toronto City Hall – September 24, 2014

Purpose of Meeting

Preliminary discussion of the proposed Trans Memorial.

Attendees

  • Toronto Trans Alliance (TTA):
    • Bobbi Manners
    • Boyd Kodak
    • Kira Andry
    • Rocky Clarke
    • Stephanie Woolley
  • Sherbourne Health Centre (SHC):
    • Hazelle Palmer (CEO),
    • Graeme Imrie (Director Human Resources & Corporate Communications)
  • 519 Community Centre:
    • Matthew Cutler (Director of Strategic Partner Initiatives)
  • Toronto City Council:
    • Kristyn Wong-Tam (Councillor, Ward 27) (KWT)
    • Lisa

Minutes

  • KWT: The Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department will have to be involved in the project, but they were not available to attend today’s preliminary discussion.
  • TTA: Three locations had been proposed by the community for the memorial:
    • Barbara Hall Park
    • Allen Gardens
    • City Hall
  • TTA: In preliminary voting, Barbara Hall Park has been the most popular location for the memorial.  City Hall is perhaps not favoured as it is too public a location for people to mourn their loved ones.
  • Discussion: The nature of the memorial has yet to be determined and TTA has not yet consulted with the community about this.  It seems wise to determine the location of the memorial before getting into design.
  • Discussion: If names are to be included on the memorial, there is a question of what the scope should be.  Toronto?  Ontario?  Canada?  Worldwide?  This is also a topic for future discussion.
  • SHC: Sherbourne has a number of trans programmes.  Terri-Lee Matthews brought the issue of the Trans Memorial to Hazelle’s attention.  SHC would be willing to offer space for the memorial if there are no other suitable options, but if the community prefers another location then they will support this.  SHC recognizes that as private property, accessibility and privacy issues may make the SHC a less than optimal choice.  SHC sees itself in the tole of a partner to the community in this project.
  • KWT: The current phase of the Barbara Hall Park regeneration is complete and the City does not have any more work planned at that location.  If the Trans Memorial were to be in the park, a new tender will be required.  Such a project may be considered under the Public Art programme.  It may be funded by public or private funds.  There are a number of initiatives underway at Allen Gardens and the playground area is currently under construction.  There is an upcoming tender for permanent artistic gardens, which will receive annual landscaping with ongoing staff and funding.  It is possible that the Trans Memorial could be inserted into this tender.  This area is at the southern face of the park.  The new features being commissioned will include gender neutral washrooms.
  • TTA: Noted that the first temporary Trans Memorial in Toronto was in Allen Gardens, back in 1997.
  • TTA: Asked if it is possible to use the historic wall in Barbara Hall Park for the Trans Memorial.
  • KWT: Responded that she is not sure whether the historic wall can be used and will check into the possibilities and report back.  She also noted that she has directed city staff to leave the temporary Trans Memorial which is depicted in chalk on the wall and not to remove it again.
  • KWT: The Memorial should be beautiful and inspirational.  There are a number of issues to be considered around installation, maintenance and also liability concerns.  Terms of reference for the design must be drawn up.  The location must be selected before the design process can begin, so the design is appropriate for the chosen space.
  • 519: The AIDS Memorial started as plywood boards before a permanent memorial was established (about 10 years later.)  There was a history and an established process before the permanent AIDS Memorial was constructed.  There is a governance review underway.  There is no properly documented process for adding names, and this needs to be formalized better.  Perhaps the outcome of this process (in consultation with ACT, PWA etc.) will also help with the Trans Memorial.   The AIDS Memorial trust fund has approximately $70-80K in reserve for maintaining the memorial.  This is a segregated fund administered by the 519.  The design of the AIDS Memorial makes it expensive to maintain – the steel is special and there are only two engravers in the Province who can work with it.
  • KWT: Not all memorials include names.  A memorial without names would avoid a lot of the complex process that is required to administer this.  At Allen Gardens the admin building and washrooms are under tender for construction.  We have to consider if the Trans Memorial could be added to this tender.  Doing so may make it easier to construct the Memorial using public funds.  The architect is Baird, Simpson & Neuert, who have a track record of developing very superior projects.
  • 519: If the AIDS Memorial were to be built today, the process that the 519 currently follows would not be allowed.  As a pre-existing memorial it is grandfathered in.  It is not permitted to publish names on a memorial without permission due to current privacy laws.
  • TTA: Noted that trans people often do not have supportive families who accept their name and gender.
  • Discussion: The permanent Trans Memorial could incorporate surfaces suitable for chalking, so the existing tradition could be retained.
  • KWT: Will see if it is possible to add the Trans Memorial into one of the existing Allen Gardens tenders or not.  Noted that Barbara Hall Park is more difficult to achieve because of the recent refurbishment.
  • SHC: Noted that the Allan Gardens site is close to Sherbourne Health Centre.
  • KWT: There is an ongoing project, in collaboration with the First Nations to develop Allen Gardens.  The working title is “Allen Gardens Truth and Reconciliation Park” (this is expected to change.)  Noted that tenders take approximately 8 months to write.  The earliest possible date for a permanent Trans Memorial would be TDOR 2015.
  • SHC & 519: Asked how they could support the community achieve the goal of a permanent memorial.  There was a suggestion of establishing a working group.
  • 519: TDOR also needs community input.  Perhaps Sherbourne could also start thinking about the TDOR ceremonies.  TTA will coordinate with the 519 to help plan the TDOR vigil.
  • TTA: Mentioned the ‘tree of life’ idea for the Trans Memorial.  This is an inspiring design that celebrates the resilience of the trans community.
  • KWT: Asked if it may be possible to establish a temporary memorial before the permanent one is constructed?  City Hall could help with this.  Perhaps something semi-permanent?
  • Discussion: The current building codes require male and female bathrooms (for buildings above a certain capacity) but make no mention of gender neutral bathrooms.  The code should be updated to properly reflect the implications of Toby’s Law.  We should consider advocating for such changes.
  • KWT: Suggested we meet again in 30 to 40 days.  Lisa will type up the minutes and distribute them.

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