So, you're thinking of joining Co-op...
Whether you're new to this or an old hand, one thing is the same: we own this. I don't want to freak you out or anything, but this place changes you. Those of us who have come through a few years in Co-op bear only a passing resemblance to the people we came in as. Bernadette (if you haven't met her you will) remembers who we were, but I sure as heck don't.
This place is about having a place. Residence doesn't give you that. Renting doesn't give you that. Even though these aren't sparkling new condos on the waterfront, I'm okay with that. It's what we can afford. And it's what we need: family in the city. The schools we all attend can be alienating. I have never personally made any lasting, close relationships in any class at U of T. What I think Co-op does is break down the massive, diverse, opaque, and chewy mass that is Toronto and serves it up to the student in a manageable dish we call 'your house'. It has people from different countries, different backgrounds, and with different interests. It will test you and if you wrestle with it, you will probably lose. But if you take it as it is and meet it on its own terms, you may be able to keep up.
Co-op can mean many things to its residents, but I'd hope most that it was a place of firsts. Not just the first step or the first kiss (though there have probably been those too) but the first time we each were able to not only say "I'm going home", but to say it about a place we chose for ourselves, about a place we had a hand in making.
Anyway, this is getting me all misty-eyed... it's been a long haul. We're the oldest housing Co-op in Canada. Deal with it. We've got deep roots here in the Annex, and I'm damn sure it's the best neighbourhood in Toronto. Love it, live it, make it better.
I invite you to browse through our pages to learn about the historic foundations of our 74 year old Co-operative.
To read about the original principles that govern all Co-ops of the world, go to Rochdale Principles.
It was quite a different world when Co-op was founded by a few enthusiastic students. Read some of the early stories and view authentic stills from a 1947 movie shot by Co-op members of yesteryear, in the History of Co-op.
Co-op is governed by students who live here and form our Board of Directors. A small number of Staff works here to assist members in living a harmonious, co-operative life. Read all about it in Co-op Organizational Structure.
Last, but not least, read up on what Co-op life is all about, to judge whether Co-op living is for you. Go to Co-op Life.
Emmett Ferguson (President 2007-2009)