Tory appeals to public to help house displaced 650 Parliament residents

Mayor John Tory is asking the public to bring displaced residents of 650 Parliament into their homes, likening the situation to Gander, Nfld. after 9/11. 

Tory referenced Come from Away, the musical currently playing in Toronto that depicts the story of the 'plane people' in Gander when asking Torontonians to welcome people still looking for a place to stay. 

"I've met many, many of [the residents]," Tory told reporters Saturday morning. "These are lovely, hardworking people. They had an apartment that was their home. They're out of their apartment through no fault of their own thanks to a terrible fire, and anybody who takes one of these people in, I think will enjoy the experience immensely."

Tory says it's fulfilling and rewarding to do so, and "will make a family happy and allow them to have a place to live during the period of repair of the buildings."

Residents have been out of the large apartment complex since August 21, when a 6-alarm electrical fire ripped through the building, causing massive damage and leaving the building without power.

Officials say it could be Thanksgiving before everything is repaired, and residents won't be allowed to return until repairs are complete. 

"We're going to take the steps with hotel rooms, with anything that we can find or do, to help these people," Tory said. "If there's a cost involved, we're going to send [the landlord for 650 Parliament] the bill."

"This is their ultimate responsibility," Tory said. "It's not about money. In the end, we will get the money back, but if we have spend any, it's really about helping people as quickly as possible, and I think at the moment, [the landlords] seem to be fully engaged in doing that, and I want to give them credit where that credit is due."

Also Saturday morning, children living in the building were given donations of back-to-school supplies and clothing, as most of their own items smelled strongly of smoke. 

So far, more than $96,000 has been donated to the Red Cross to help the displaced residents.

- With files from CP24