About Cawthra

What is Co-operative Housing?

The History of Cawthra

What are the responsibilities of members living in a co-op?

What are the principles of co-operative housing?

The 2017 Transition. What is "2020"?

How do I become a member?

 

What is Co-operative Housing?

A co-operative is a member-controlled organization that is set up for the purpose of providing services to its members at cost. Some examples of co-ops are food co-ops and credit unions. In housing co-ops, like this one, members are responsible for the functioning of the co-op itself and for maintaining their units in good order. A co-operative is not set up for profit making. If there is a surplus, it is put back into the co-op to make improvements to the property, maintain the property, keep our housing charges low, and benefit the members who live here.

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The History of Cawthra

The three buildings that we know as Cawthra Mansions were built in 1926 on part of the estate of the Cawthra family. Back then the buildings were considered to be very modern as they offered labour-saving devices and conveniences such as electric refrigeration and gas ranges in every suite. The buildings boasted underground parking, which was the first of its kind in Toronto.

In 1984, the owners indicated to the residents that they were going to sell the property. Rumours began to circulate that the buildings were going to be sold to a private developer or to the university and that they were going to be torn down. The residents formed a Tenants’ Association and contacted CHFT to investigate the possibility of buying the property and turning it into a co-op.

In 1986, the purchase of the buildings was accomplished with funding from the federal government, and renovations began one building at a time.

Cawthra Mansions Housing Co-operative opened in 1987.

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What are the responsibilities of members living in a co-op?

 Members of a housing co-op have seven responsibilities:

  1. To commit to co-op principles and to the co-op way of life.
  2. To be willing to participate in the life of the community: This means attending general members meetings and events; serving on committees and maybe on the board of directors; pulling weeds or shovelling snow; helping to distribute information; and being a good neighbour.
  3. To be financially responsible by paying housing charges and other fees on time.
  4. To be willing to make a long-term commitment: People who apply to live here should want to make this their home for years to come. It’s not just a quick fix for a temporary housing need. There has to be a desire for permanency.
  5. To maintain their units in good condition and respect the common property areas: We take pride in providing and maintaining good quality housing.
  6. To be a good neighbour by being thoughtful of those who live around you and being open to dialogue if any problems arise.
  7. To be able to live independently: Although living in a co-op provides many opportunities to help our neighbours, people who live here must be able to do so independently, physically and psychologically, without reliance on the co-op’s resources. The co-op doesn’t have elevators. If you have mobility problems, you should be aware that, although it’s possible to request a unit on a lower level, all levels require stair-climbing.

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What are the principles of co-operative housing?

 Seven principles express the values that co-ops are committed to:

  1. Open membership: Cawthra Mansions Co-op is open to anyone who freely accepts the obligations and responsibilities of membership.
  2. Democratic control: Each member has one vote, and decisions are made as a group about how the co-op is run. These decisions are based upon a democratic majority of votes of the membership.
  3. Economic participation: All members must pay their housing charges every month. The housing charges include the monthly unit cost, hydro, and co-op sector support.
  4. Independence: As members, we democratically control the cooperative we live in. We work together to ensure the proper maintenance and running of the community in which we live.
  5. Co-operative education: Co-ops offer a great opportunity to learn various skills through participation in the life of the community, on committees and on the board, or through being involved in a particular co-op project or event.
  6. Co-operation among co-operatives: We work together through local, national and international structures to serve our members, solve problems, and strengthen our political voice. Cawthra Mansions Co-op is part of CHFT (the Co-op Housing Federation of Toronto), which is part of the larger national organization, CHFC (the Co-op Housing Federation of Canada).
  7. Community: What we have here is a neighbourhood--some call it a village--where we get to know each other and work together for the benefit of all. We respect individual choice and privacy. Within this community we find friendship, support and security. If you are looking for a place to live that is a part of a community in which you interact with those who live around you, then co-op living is for you. It is important to know that this co-op strives to foster community development and member participation.

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The 2017 Transition. What is "2020"?

"2020" is a term used within the co-op sector to describe the transition which will happen when co-operatives across Canada pay off their mortgages and end operating agreements with government agencies. Around the year 2020, all federally funded cooperatives will have paid off their mortgages with CMHC. It is estimated that Cawthra will have paid off its mortgage by 2017. At that time all federal government funding, including RGI subsidies and government grants will end.

To learn more about 20/20 Vision, visit the Co-operative Housing Federaton of Canada's 20/20 Vision page.

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How do I become a member?

At this time our waiting list is closed  and we are not taking applications for membership. You may wish to check back at a later date.

Please note that we cannot offer housing charge (RGI) subsidies.