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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’s 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, it has been evident to members of the Congregation that our building does not sufficiently meet our needs. We love our building but we know it must change if we are to provide for the future of the Congregation and meet our objective of inclusivity. To quote Rabbi Ed: “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 presents three major challenges: it needs to be made accessible to all; our Congregation needs more and better organized space for children, youth and adult education programming, for social events, administrative facilities and a rabbi’s office; and 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 in order to develop a plan that meets our needs, and is respectful of the neighborhood and sensitive to our neighbors.

The plan that has resulted, developed with LGA Architectural Partners, 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 in order to welcome everyone in a generous, equitable and dignified manner;
  • four discrete program areas created through the use of existing and new space; a dedicated rabbi’s office and new administrative space;
  • preservation of the sanctuary interior and respect for the character of the building
  • Maximizing of natural light and ventilation
  • Minimizing of the impact on neighboring properties
  • Optimizing of the affordability of the design

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


The plan is being considered by the Ontario Municipal Board at a hearing that began on June 19, 2017. Assuming a favorable OMB decision, the plan along with financial details will be presented to the Congregation for its approval at a Special General Meeting in coming months.


Of course, major projects such as these require a significant financial commitment. The overall project cost, including construction, relocation, contingencies and relevant fees, is $4 million. The Capital Campaign Committee is developing a fundraising strategy that will encompass the full range of fundraising means: foundation grants, naming opportunities, major gifts, donations and borrowed funds which 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.


Building Task force Co-chairs:

Anna Pace

Harry Schachter


Capital Campaign Committee Co-chairs:

Mark Guttman

Anne Golden


Further information:

Read Building FAQ
Read a Testimonial Letter of Support from Ali Engel-Yan and her family
Read Rabbi Ed Elkin’s compelling case in order to accommodate our needs now and into the future.

Sun, August 20 2017 28 Av 5777