Parents upset west-end daycare closing

Parents who use Toronto's Dovercourt Child Care Centre are upset after city officials told them they'll be closing the centre for good in six weeks time.

Parents who use Toronto's Dovercourt Child Care Centre are upset after city officials told them they will be closing the centre for good in six weeks time.

According to the city, the building that houses the west-end daycare will be undergoing renovations starting in the new year and it will be too dangerous for the children to remain there while construction is ongoing. So the decision was made to close the daycare for good.

The city had already decided to close the daycare due to the phase-in of all-day kindergarten and school-based after hours care.

The decision to close the daycare on Dec. 31 just moves up the date.

But parents say it will mean disruption in their lives. It also means the city is going to lose a highly regarded daycare.

"It's an excellent centre, very highly rated, literally.  The ratings were released a week before and it was perfect," said Kristen Schwartz who transferred her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter to Dovercourt because another neighbourhood daycare closed down. 

The city has offered to help parents find spaces at other daycares.

"While the centre itself is closing we are trying very hard to maintain the service level in the ward and the adjacent ward," said Elaine Baxter-Trahair, who is the manager of Toronto Children's Services. 

Baxter-Trahair said spaces are being added to the Dovercourt YMCA and other daycare centers.

"I would encourage those parents to continue to work with the staff person that we've assigned to help them. And we've really taken a parent-by-parent approach to address all of their needs," she said.

But parents say the closure of the Dovercourt daycare, along with another nearby child care centre that shut its doors in March, will mean that by the end of the year 100 spaces in the neighbourhood will have disappeared.