Building more than transit – Finch West LRT team helps out local school

Bringing more transit to a community is great, but there’s more to transit building than just the tracks, trains, and stations. Mosaic Transit Group is on the ground in the Finch West community everyday and helping contribute more than just a new light rail line.

When Metrolinx News showcases the Finch West light rail transit (LRT), we often highlight construction activities like station excavations, massive concrete pours, and progress flyovers.

But beyond the obvious construction progress, there’s another layer to building a rapid transit line – supporting and engaging with the local community.

Today, Metrolinx News takes a closer look at a recent community support initiative undertaken by Finch West LRT constructor Mosaic Transit Group (MTG), who joined forces with a local organization to build and donate picnic tables for a nearby public school.

“It began with a simple request,” said Luba Berezina, community relations specialist with MTG.

“The principal from a nearby school asked if we could build 12 picnic tables so students could get outside to eat, learn, and social distance comfortably.”

people standing around picnic tables
Mosaic Transit Group joined forces with a local organization to build and donate picnic tables for Elmbank Junior Middle Academy. (Metrolinx image)

In this request, Berezina and MTG saw an opportunity for a collaboration that could deliver more benefits than just picnic tables.

Local partnership

Berezina reached out to TradeLinx – a pre-apprenticeship training program for those interested in a career in skilled trades or construction – and asked if they could build the tables with MTG funding.

Tradelinx was on-board, and work began.

Over eight weeks, 12 program participants worked to build the tables.

In the process, they had an opportunity to practice and learn valuable teamwork, planning, and construction skills. The apprentices spent about three hours on each table from the start of construction to the sanding of any edges.

Prior to table delivery, MTG construction director Pedro Gonzalez presented the 12 TradeLinx participants with certificates of achievement for their work on the project.

“It is so important to encourage and invest in the development of construction industry skills,” said Gonzalez.

“People who are building picnic tables today and build transit lines that power the cities of tomorrow.

two men wheeling a picnic table on a dolly.
Members of Mosaic’s traffic team delivered the new 8-foot picnic tables earlier this month. (Metrolinx image)

Local smiles

On April 7, members of MTG’s traffic team delivered the new 8-foot picnic tables to Elmbank Junior Middle Academy.

“This is the kind of work we live for,” said Nuzair Mahmood, assistant traffic superintendent with MTG.

“We’re out there every day making temporary traffic adjustments to ensure everyone’s safety, but this is permanent and lasting. Seeing those kids smile made our day so meaningful.”

The school principal, along with many teachers and students, were on-hand to accept the table delivery.

four people pose with a picnic table
There’s more to transit building than just the tracks, trains, and stations – community matters. (Metrolinx image)

“The math here is simple,” says Berezina. “Add together three organizations, 12 picnic tables, 12 pre-apprentices and 36 labour hours, and what do you get? 350 very happy students.”

Community support initiatives like this are a key tool that Metrolinx is using to bring value to the communities in which it works.

Stay tuned to Metrolinx News for other great initiatives that will benefit the Finch West community. 

Story by Alex Iantorno, Metrolinx communications senior advisor