St. James Town Storeys
St. James Town Storeys
Coping with COVID in St. James Town part 2

Episode 2

Coping with COVID in St. James Town part 2

Service provider ingenuity in maintaining connection with residents during the pandemic through repair and trouble-shooting for appliances, laptops, and other items, with the participation of resident expert volunteers.

Interested in reading the transcript of the interview? Please click the web link “Transcript Episode 2” or download the pdf file using this link “Transcript Episode 2


In today’s episode we speak with Nayanthi Wijesuria, who is the intake lead for Health Access St. James Town, and also one of the operations members at The Corner@200, and with Aravind Joseph, Program Facilitator at The Corner@240. The Corner@200 and The Corner@240 together make up the St. James Town Community Corner space. You can find information about the Corner’s mission and programs here, and its latest newsletter here.

Our guests Nayanthi and Aravind explained that The Corner@240 has found innovative ways to continue offering a number of valuable services to the community during the COVID-19 lockdown period, to implement the “three Rs”: reuse, re-use, and repair. They are able to maintain health and safety standards to repair household items that are dropped off, or to walk people through troubleshooting and repair steps over phone or video. All the photos below are courtesy of The Corner.

The Concept of The Corner@240

Photograph of a workshop at the community center corner

Learning how to do things here, you break it eight times and the ninth time and the tenth time you learn

A picture of residents helping each other at the corner @ 240

The library of things, at the Corner@240

A picture of a bookshelf of things

Resident volunteer fixer Wayne at Fix-it Mondays in Partnership with Repair Café Toronto

A picture of a wayne fixing things

Resident-led Knitting with Tea

A picture of a resident knitting with tea

Resident-led bike repair clinic

A picture of resident repairing bike

Workshop on home and balcony gardening

A picture of a gardening workshop at corner @ 240

Participants on the concluding day of Repair Workshop

Picture of participants on the concluding day of Repair Workshop’

An additional service that The Corner is offering online during the COVID-19 lockdown is a set of interactive workshops on home and balcony gardening. Although the flier below indicates the final workshop on May 15, an additional set of workshops will be offered starting May 22. During these sessions, the facilitator presents information complete with photos and diagrams on things like non-chemical fertilizers that people can buy or make, how to obtain and use cuttings, when and how to water, and natural pest prevention methods, such as use of fragrant herbs and flowers to repel unwanted insects. There is plenty of opportunity for attendants to raise questions, sometimes supplying photos and videos of their own plants.

picture of a balcony workshop flier

People interested in volunteering with Community Corner can reach out to them at either of these email addresses: and

Community Corner’s website is and the social media handle for FB, Twitter and Instagram is @thecornersjt. That goes for both 200 and 240.

In the interview with Nayanthi and Aravind, we asked them if the Library of Things, at the Corner@240, has been of use to people moving back in to 650 Parliament. This refers to the displacement of approximately 1,500 people from their 22-storey building, at that address, by a massive fire caused by aging and faulty wiring in August 2018. These families and individuals were finally able to start moving back into their apartments in early March 2020, coincidentally just days before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. The move-in would be a gradual process to take place over 10 weeks.

CBC Toronto. 2020. “Residents of 650 Parliament start moving back into their units this week.” CBC 2 March.

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