Tenants at 211 York Rd celebrate victory with local elected officials and Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles

Posted June 12, 2024

On Friday, June 7th, tenants at 211 York Rd in Dundas, Ontario held a meeting to celebrate their victory in keeping their building out of the hands of financialized landlords!

Ward 13 City Councillor Alex Wilson, local NDP MPPs for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas and Hamilton Mountain, Sandy Shaw and Monique Taylor, and Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles were in attendance.

Tenants discussed the building’s rich history, the issues they faced while under ownership of financialized landlord Forge & Foster, their hopes for the future of the building under its new ownership, and their demands for housing reform across Ontario and a provincial acquisition fund.


211 York Rd is a unique mixed-use commercial and residential building that has served the Dundas community in various capacities for decades. The ground floor was divided into two distinct sections: a retirement home on one side and commercial spaces on the other. The upper floor houses multiple 1-2 bedroom apartments. Long-term tenants, some of whom have lived in the building since the 1990s, contribute to its strong sense of community.

The building was purchased by Forge & Foster, a real estate management firm in Hamilton with a questionable reputation, in 2022. During their ownership, Forge & Foster closed the retirement home, converting the space into additional residential units, and gutted the commercial units. During the renovations, several issues arose, including building code violations resulting in two charges and an order from the City of Hamilton, as well as under-the-table deals conducted under false pretences. The drastic renovations left the commercial spaces unsuable and significantly increased the financial burden of the residential units above; the lack of proper insulation led to higher heating and cooling costs for residents. Following by Forge & Foster’s acquisition, there was also a noticeable decline in building maintenance and upkeep. These problems have been a significant concern and caused immense distress for many of the residents.

Recently, Forge & Foster lost possession of the building. On January 25, tenants at the 39 unit walk-up apartment in Dundas received a notice from the financial institution People’s Trust Company that their landlord had defaulted on a mortgage payment, just two years after purchasing the building. This led tenants to fear the possibility of renoviction if a bank or developer took over via a power of sale.

In March, ACORN members and tenants at 211 York Rd held a press conference to bring attention to the financial difficulties facing their landlord of 2 years and call for aid from the community to help them keep their affordable homes. With advocacy from ACORN Hamilton and Dundas ward councillor Alex Wilson, the non-profit organization Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) purchased the building.

With the recent change in ownership, tenants are optimistic that their concerns will be addressed moving forward. There is a collective hope that 211 York Rd will continue to be a place where people live, work, and connect, preserving its history of serving both commercial and residential needs while adapting to new opportunities and challenges.