258 Lisgar: the best decision CCOC ever made

258 Lisgar: the best decision CCOC ever made

We lit a fire at one of our properties earlier in the Fall. Don’t worry – it was on purpose.  We held a mortgage-burning party at 258 Lisgar, a building we bought 35 years ago and one that has seen us through many years of growth and expansion.

In fact, 258 Lisgar itself was a controversial expansion for us.  In 1978 CCOC, just four years old, had nine properties that added up to just 43 individual homes. They were almost all old red-brick townhouses, duplexes and triplexes from the turn of the last century.

This was a big part of our founding mission; preserving the old neighbourhood as a viable residential community. “Why would we buy a high-rise?” asked some board members at the time. “That’s not what we’re about.” (258 Lisgar, incidentally is only 11 storeys tall).

After some strong encouragement from former city councillor Brian Bourns and our much beloved former Mayor Marion Dewar (and with the help of a subsidized 35-year mortgage from the federal government), we made the leap and we bought a “high-rise”.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions CCOC ever made. Overnight we grew from a 43-home landlord to a 130-home landlord. We had an office! – no more working out of the trunk of Lance Clark’s car. We could hire more than one staff! And we did: the second best decision CCOC made was hiring Peter Haughton and Catherine Boucher.

258 Lisgar allowed CCOC to quickly reach a size that gave us the resources to continue expanding our impact. It was CCOC’s own home for ten years, and it has been home to so many cherished tenants and friends. In fact, many of our logest-standing tenants eventually end up at 258 Lisgar – maybe they know something about this special property.

That’s why we were thrilled to see everyone at the mortgage burning party; many tenants, volunteers and staff who have been part of CCOC’s family for decades. This is the ninth mortgage that we have paid off, and the second one we’ve celebrated with a party. Its history, its people and its role in CCOC’s history make it the most important building in CCOC’s 53-property portfolio. Long live 258 Lisgar.