The World Together Under One Roof

What is Coliving at the Dupont really like: Commune? Social Enterprise Incubator? Shared space? Something else entirely?

Added on by Bronwyn Oatley.

Earlier this year as the snow was still falling, Jamie and I met for long hours to hash out the original concept for the The Dupont. Over coffee, we often spent significant time on one particular question: Where would the Dupont sit on the spectrum of coliving houses? Would it be a commune-inspired space in the heart of the city -- where the doors were always open and the fridge was always full, no matter how much individuals had to contribute? Or would the Dupont be at the forefront of a movement seeking to professionalize shared living? A space that charged by the meal, networking event, and room? 

As winter became spring, we decided we wanted to try to create something in the middle. We envisioned a space that was welcoming of all sorts of people -- folks who wanted to attend a storytelling, potluck or open mic event in the evening -- as well as a space that would welcome new friends into the Dupont during a stopover in Toronto; a home with clean sheets, food in the fridge and a reasonable price tag attached to the experience. In short, we wanted to create an environment that regularly welcomed new faces into the Dupont, while simultaneously creating an hospitable and dynamic home for our long-term residents. 

While we’re still working out the kinks, it’s pretty exciting to see this place turning into exactly what we were hoping for. 

Just two short months in, we’ve hosted the following events at the Dupont: 

  • Serentypical Home, a storytelling event hosted by Dupont friend, Asad Chishti
  • A dinner and gathering of Social Innovation Fellowship programs, including folks from the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSEO), OCAD’s Strategic Foresight Program, Waterloo’s Social Innovation Masters, and from St. Paul’s Greenhouse
  • Birthday parties for two of the house’s residents, one of which involved a midnight wakeup with sparklers and apple crisp; and the other, involving a late dance party / open mic
  • “May the Porch be with you” an event hosted on our porch, inviting neighbors and passersby to stop for food, chalking and conversation as just one of over 100 civic interventions that occurred during the 100in1day celebration 
  • Countless house dinners, hosted in a daily rotating fashion by our long-term residents
  • Regular meetings of the Studio Y community and other groups we're involved with, like Lead2Peace and Youth Social Infrastructure
  • And finally, tomorrow evening, we’re looking forward to hosting the first community gathering for an online class called Skills for Solidarity that seeks to open up a conversation about the shared history between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada. (Initially, this had been conceived of as a small gathering of housemates, working on the course together; and has now expanded to include folks from a variety of different communities -- social innovation, Not-For-Profit and political policy to name a few. 
The aftermath from the "May the Porch Be With You" event that Jamie hosted as just one of the 100+ civic interventions for the 100in1 day event. 

The aftermath from the "May the Porch Be With You" event that Jamie hosted as just one of the 100+ civic interventions for the 100in1 day event. 

Since we began making this home our own, we’ve also been fortunate to have hosted our first paying visitors in the space. Over the past couple of months, we’ve welcomed in a couple of new friends who are connected to the Social Finance community internationally, as well as a few travellers from Germany, (who one of our roommates met while getting ice cream in Cuba one week prior)! Moreover, we’ve been fortunate to have met a whole whack of new folks, each member of the housing drawing from their individual communities to bring people together over meals in the evenings, or hangouts on lazy summer afternoons.

Lest I leave the impression that coliving is all kumbaya and campfires, here are a few of the things we’re still working on sorting out:  

  • How do we create a meal plan that satisfies six different long-term guests, each with different dietary requirements and preferences? 
  • How might we connect to different sorts of communities, sharing the message that the Dupont is ready and keen on hosting short-term guests? 
  • How might we throw the most kickass house warming BBQ Dupont St has ever seen? 

If you might be able to help us out with any of the aforementioned three, feel free to drop myself or Jamie a line. We’d love to hear from you, host you, have you over for an event, or swap coliving stories. 

- Bronwyn

PS. If you’d like more information on different forms of coliving, mentioned earlier, take a look at this great piece by our friends at Open Door. It gives a great breakdown on the differences between communes, co-ops, co-housing, etc. 

 

Seeking a new roommie - July 1st

Added on by Bronwyn Oatley.

If you're looking for a summer living space with a big green backyard and many house events, we would love for you to join the Dupont crew for July 1st, as our dear roommie Christa moves on to new adventures.

You can stay for just a couple months, or for the full year. 

It is a 2nd floor room, next to a bathroom and a kitchenette, with a shared living room down the hall. It also has a nice window that gets quite a bit of light and a giant closet. The room is a good size too.

It can be either furnished or unfurnished, depending on what you need.

The space is home to 5 others, between the ages of 24-27, all with passions for their lives and also for their jobs (in fields such as climate change and food security advocacy, youth work and public health, open government, etc) 

We are in the prime area of Toronto; a 2 minute walk from Dupont station, right at Dupont/Brunswick. 

The room is $750/month which includes internet and utilities. 

The house has a shared food plan also that provides most grocery needs (except meats, expensive cheeses, etc) for an extra $20/week. Your grocery shopping gets done for you - how cool is that!

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IF YOU'RE INTERESTED AND LETS MEET UP SOON!

Serentypical Home: Act 1 Travel

Added on by Bronwyn Oatley.

Last night, a good friend of ours, Asad Chishti, hosted the Dupont's first-ever event, a storytelling and open-mic evening called Serentypical Home, during which thirty some odd people shared stories of travel, of belonging, and of differing conceptions of home. 

"Enter through the not-so-secret alleyway. Bring your bike around back. Feel free to leave us a message in chalk -- and come inside and join us for Act 1: Serentypical Home: Travel." 

"Enter through the not-so-secret alleyway. Bring your bike around back. Feel free to leave us a message in chalk -- and come inside and join us for Act 1: Serentypical Home: Travel." 

Whoa! The living room is getting hot!
— Jordan Bowden, Dupont Friend

Just after 6:30 folks from all over Toronto (and all around the world) began to stream into the house, carrying items for the event's potluck -- mushroom soup, salads, and sweet potato fries. Mingling and swapping stories, Asad's eclectic group began to get a sense of it's own diversity. "I went to school at Waterloo, but I'm from Bangladesh," one said. "I grew up in Alberta, but I've recently spent time in New York and Malawi," said another. 

While in Kingston, ON, Asad had started up Serendipity Hall, which has now evolved into a monthly storytelling open mic and potluck event called Serentypical Home, inspired by events like Trampoline Hall -- a Toronto-based anti-lecture series so hip, the website doesn't even tell you what it is -- and The Moth -- a now quasi-famous (amongst the 20-something set) storytelling series. 

Captain Asad gets things started. (Photo: Fatin Chowdhury) 

Captain Asad gets things started. (Photo: Fatin Chowdhury

Post-feasting, the group settled into the living room for the night's main event, the storytelling and open-mic portion of Serentypical Home. 

Bringing the crowd to silence with a wretched ear-piercing whistle, Asad shared the rules of the night's event: 

  • Stories must be true
  • They must be no longer than 8 minutes
  • And they must be told cognizant of the fact that each minute of story is taking up 30 collective minutes of human life (recognizing the number of folks in attendance).

Calming excitement, the powerful linguist Kelsey Rideout opened the evening by sharing a poem inspired by D'Bi Young, an internationally celebrated African-Jamaican-Canadian dubpoet, monodramatist, educator.

With gratitude, Jamie then took the stage, welcoming folks for The Dupont's first official event. 

We imagined this space as a hub of community — a spot that would be a home to locals and international folks alike. We feel so grateful that you’re here with us for our first event.
— Jamie Arron, Dupont Founder and Resident
Jamie welcomes folks to the event. (And yes, all of these pictures are hyper-saturated to make the photos look cooler).

Jamie welcomes folks to the event. (And yes, all of these pictures are hyper-saturated to make the photos look cooler).

As the hours passed, story-sharers took the crowd to India, Spain, France and Iceland -- then back closer to home, by way of stories from Victoria, Banff, Boulder and New York City. As the evening rolled on, storytellers spoke of searching for home and of finding it -- and of making meaning of travel by investing in human connection. 

Sacha Gudmundsson tells of realizing unexpected family connections in Iceland. 

Sacha Gudmundsson tells of realizing unexpected family connections in Iceland. 

Studio-Y-er Scott Baker, talks of traveling the path from home to school in Victoria, BC. (Photo: Fatin Chowdhury) 

Studio-Y-er Scott Baker, talks of traveling the path from home to school in Victoria, BC. (Photo: Fatin Chowdhury

Around eleven p.m., the last story of the evening was shared and folks began to head home. 

"Thanks Asad. This was amazing."

--

And as for me -- I headed to bed on the third floor of our new house with a heart a little more full than before. With my 1-year anniversary of Toronto residency just passed, it feels good to finally be able to say that I've found a place that feels like home. 

As we continue along this journey of finding, building, and creating community, I hope you'll join us at The Dupont -- as a resident, a short-term guest, or at an event. To keep up with the happs' check us out on Twitter at @The_Dupont -- or if email is more your speed, sign up for our newsletter.

With hugs,

- Bronwyn

From a house to a home

Added on by Bronwyn Oatley.

We started to see how quickly a bit of T.L.C. can transform a house into a home. There’s still a bit of work to go, no doubt, but we’re starting to feel quite in love with this place, and the people living in it, and the neighbourhood all around.

With that in mind we’re excited to be back online, and looking forward to sharing some exciting posts in the coming days to introduce you to our founding residents and to invite you to some of our first events. Stay tuned!

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Become a Founding Resident of The Dupont

Added on by Bronwyn Oatley.
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Want to be part of a community of people from around the world striving to experience and contribute to the best of Toronto (whether for a few days, months, or years at a time)? 

Established in March 2014 we are a newly created shared living space seeking short-term guests, long-term residents, event hosts/participants, and community partners who align with our vision of creativity, diversity, and global curiosity.

APPLY to be a founding resident. We'll be looking at statements of intent on March 31st so submit yours before then (or email to let us know when to expect yours).

or SIGN-UP for our monthly newsletter to get updates about short-term stay opportunities, special events, and lots more