The Gateway is the continuation of a ministry called the Friendship Room run by the Salvation Army Toronto Temple Corps. This ministry was a drop-in center open five evenings per week that existed near Yonge and Dundas for twenty years. In 1998, management of the Friendship Room was approached by the municipal government to run an emergency winter shelter with 60 beds out of the same space. This ran for two winters and then the building was sold due to the redevelopment of the area.
Our current building at 107 Jarvis St. was purchased as a result of selling the Friendship Room property, and we have been here since the official opening on Valentine’s Day in 2000. With the new building and the capacity to become a permanent shelter with 108 beds, it was agreed that a new name was needed. We came to the name Gateway based on many things, but most importantly, the name is rooted in Jesus’ words in John 10:7-9, “I am the gate.” We wanted to provide a Christ-centered ministry that allows men and women on the margins to experience renewal and regain hope, and that is what we continually work toward. Gateway currently has 120 beds, a drop-in space, and a street outreach team.
Over the years we have developed a slogan which helps guide our planning. The slogan is: “All people need three things in their lives in order to live well: a home, a job and a friend.” Through providing shelter, building community, developing social enterprises and bearing witness to the love of God, we are pursuing all three of these keys to healthy living, and we have seen incredible change take place in the lives of men and women at the Gateway. For as long as we exist, we will continue to push ourselves to grow in these areas and serve our residents and community members well.