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Building Renewal

The Narayever building is old and well-used. The structure has stood for more than one hundred years and was a lodge and a church before it was taken over by the Narayever Congregation in 1943. It has been our shul home for nearly 75 years.

In a neighborhood that was once occupied by many synagogues, ours is one of the few that remain.

For many years, congregants have known that our building does not meet our needs. We love our building, but we know it must change if we are to be a sustainable, accessible, and inclusive congregation.

To quote Rabbi Ed Elkin: “Looking to the future, we must find a way to ensure that people in wheelchairs or with mobility impairments have a dignified way to enter our building, participate in services and other programs, and access the washrooms. The time is now.”

Our building has three major challenges

1.     The building needs to be accessible to all.

2.     Our Congregation needs organized space for children, youth, and adult education programming; for social event; for administrative facilities, and for rabbi's office.

3.     We need to update aging systems such as heating and air conditioning.

  The Building Task Force has spent four years discussing options and consulting with the Congregation to develop a      plan that meets our needs and is respectful of the neighborhood and sensitive to our neighbors.

The plan that LGA Architectural Partners developed includes:

  • An elevator to provide access to every level of the building, as well as other accessibility improvements. The elevator will be placed at the front of the building.
  • Four discrete program areas created through the use of existing and new space, a rabbi’s office, and new administrative space.
  • Preservation of the sanctuary interior and respect for the character of the building.
  • Maximizing natural light and ventilation.
  • Minimizing the impact on neighboring properties.
  • Optimizing of the affordability of the design

Under this plan, significant changes are needed to the front of the building to accommodate the elevator and a new entrance. We understand that the building has a long history, and we will continue to work with the City and with heritage authorities on the changes required.


The Building Renewal Plan has been the subject of a lengthy approval process. In December 2016 the plan was before the Committee of Adjustment and turned down because of objections by some neighbours. The Narayever appealed the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board, now renamed the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. A one day hearing was expected but it extended to three days - June 19 2017, August 25 2017 and January 18 2018. The hearing included a letter of support from City Councillor Joe Cressy. On January 3, 2019 the Tribunal handed down its decision granting the variances requested by the Narayever. Having received a favorable Tribunal decision we are now determining next steps.


Major building projects require a significant financial commitment. The overall project cost including construction, relocation, contingencies, and relevant fees is approximately $4 million. The Narayever Capital Campaign Committee is developing a fundraising strategy that will encompass foundation grants, naming opportunities, major gifts, donations, and borrowed funds that would be repaid through an annual levy on members. The AGM on June 11, 2017 approved an $80 per person building levy to help defray design costs in the coming months.



Further Information:

Building FAQs

Read a Testimonial Letter of Support from Ali Engel-Yan and her family

Read Rabbi Ed Elkin’s compelling case to accommodate our needs now and into the future.

[Last updated January 22, 2019]

Tue, March 19 2019 12 Adar II 5779