Components: Place Self-Guided

Three green gears working togetherComponents: Place at PARC – Self Guided Learning

Timing: 30 Minutes
Mode: In-class; Online

Sketch of Bingo card and hot mug of coffee to take site visitor into Hanging Out at PARC page“Hanging out” at PARC means something different every day. Whether members chose to play a game of pool, indulge in bingo, come together for movie night, or participate in sing-alongs, drumming circles or dances, PARC provides a space for both casual recreation and more organized community activities. When the drop-in centre was first proposed in Parkdale, it was designed for people who have little or no space or opportunity for recreation or activities where they lived. Coming to PARC to “hang out” was as important as some of the more purposeful and organized self-improvement activities.

Educators and learners can use these components to explore the different facets of daily life at the PARC Drop-in, past and present. Students can work through the Hanging Out at PARC Slideshow online or in class in preparation for a shared discussion.  Have students use the following themes to guide their viewing of the Hanging Out at PARC components:

  • Casual Recreation
  • Organized community activities
  • Poverty and affordable activities

Hanging Out at PARC

Download and read Lenette Powell-Flowers’ 1991 “At First Glance” which takes us right into PARC of that era, evoking the smells, the sounds, and the emotions of early years in the “living room to thousands.” Transcription. The PARC Drop-In is central to the wellbeing of members, providing a space which fosters personal health and safety, positive self-identity and social relationships.

Excerpts from other PARC writings and PARC photographs from across the years demonstrate what PARC means to its members.

View the images in this slideshow:

  • Exterior view of PARC window with "Be Yourself" written in brightly coloured letters.


Read the following quotes:

“Years ago when P.A.R.C. wasn’t around, I only had the hospital to go to.”
– Douglas Foot

“There isn’t anybody who comes here because they have to, or who can’t leave. Nor do people talk all the time about people getting better that people used to talk about in the hospital.”
– Joel Levenson

“Before I learned of the Parkdale Recreation Centre, I could not tell anyone my problems because I was always shy and afraid to talk to strangers. But now nobody is a stranger, only a friend I have not met.”
– Gord Annis

“PARC is just what people need as a daily diversion from their troubles.”
– Allen G. Burk

“I really enjoy being here because the members help me out on my bad, miserable, down-feeling days. By offering me a cigarette or offering to buy me a cup of coffee, or just talk with me in their own special kind of way.”
– Ruth Quick

“The Drop-In plays an important role in members’ lives. It provides relief from the street, inadequate housing and the perilous grind of poverty. Participation in the life of the Drop-In can inspire hope or ease the despair that accompanies personal isolation. It can also be a pathway from the edge of life’s hardships towards a new way of living in the world.”
– PARC’s Annual Report 2003-2004