Illustration of Finch West LRT station interior

Community Stories

Feature: The Community benefits from free backpacks

Students are more likely to engage and succeed in school if they have resources to do the work.

Because we’re building the Finch West Light Rail Transit (LRT) project in one of Toronto’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs), we recognize that some students may require support.

According to Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020, residents of NIAs lack access to economic opportunities, social development (i.e. education, recreation, cultural services), participation in decision making city-wide, healthy lives (i.e. medical care, disabilities) and access to developed physical surrounding (i.e. access to transportation, parks and public meeting spaces). Almost one-third of the neighbourhoods classified as NIAs are in the Finch West corridor. The City of Toronto is working with residents, community agencies and businesses to make changes to strengthen those neighbourhoods. Local community groups are also working to mentor youth to stay in school and achieve success.

While we build the LRT system, the Finch West LRT project team (staff at Infrastructure Ontario, Metrolinx and Mosaic Transit Group) is offering opportunities for community improvement in the areas affected by our work.

So, amid the back to school rush, project team members went to the nearest stores to buy notebooks, pencil cases, folders, binders, and much more. Our Finch West LRT contractor, matched staff spend, and combined, we provided 50 back packs filled with supplies to the Pathways to Education Program.

“If there’s one thing we can relate to as constructors is the importance of having the tools you need to succeed. This is essential,” says Ignacio Velasco, Project Director, Mosaic Transit Constructors.

On Tuesday, September 17, the project contractor helped us to wrap up the back to school season with a trip to a Pathways to Education Program, located on the corner of Martin Grove Road and Finch Avenue West. Mr. Velasco met with some of Finch West’s brightest students in their element. Dressed in black and grey uniforms or sweats, the grade 11 students – who together create a mosaic of their community -- took a few minutes out of their study period to welcome us and ask questions.

“We chose the Pathways to Education Program in recognition of the outstanding work they do”, says Patience Adamu, Community Benefits Specialist, Mosaic Transit Group.

Run by the Rexdale Community Health Centre, in 2018 the Pathways to Education Rexdale site served 400 students. Of the total students, 80 of them scored 80% or higher on their final exams and many headed off to universities with scholarships.

Above is a photo of some of the students accepting backpacks on behalf of Pathways to Education, courtesy of the Finch West team. The backpacks of supplies will be provided to students requiring support.

Table full of donated school supplies

For more Finch West Community Stories, click below:

March Break Kids Corner
Building Mentorship
School Backpacks
Canstar Printing
The Subban Family
Scholarship for Students