Skip to content

High tea to help Inn From the Cold reach 'stretch goal' for new shelter

The Newmarket shelter is hosting its 2nd annual high tea Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Aurora Armoury to reach its fundraising target of $3 million

With homelessness continuing to impact communities across York Region, Inn From the Cold launched the All Inn! campaign to raise funds to help build a new shelter on Newmarket's Yonge Street.

Although the initial goal of raising $2.5 million for the shelter has been reached, the campaign has turned its attention toward hitting its $3-million stretch goal.

“It’s a very ambitious plan,” said Ann Watson, executive director of Inn From The Cold. “Fundraising has gone extremely well, but we still have a ways to go.”

Watson said the campaign is on target and that the project will be breaking ground in early 2024.

“With substantial completion by the end of 2024, beginning of 2025,” she added. “The fundraising piece took a long time, but has really come together in large part thanks to the generosity of this community.”

Eyes are now set on the stretch goal because in the time that they started the capital campaign to today, the cost of building has increased by 20 per cent, said Watson.

“It was complicated trying to put a number on it initially because of the pandemic,” she said. “Now that we’re out of it a bit, they’re better able to put a price on it.”

There’s still a "small gap" to close in terms of fundraising, said Watson, but she’s confident they’ll have it closed by the time shovels are in the ground.

“We’re in really good shape,” she said.

The shelter will be a 16,000-square-foot building that will include transitional housing units with 18 beds, emergency shelter space for 26 people, case work/interview rooms and classrooms for education and training, a dining hall, a multi-purpose space and quiet room with computers and library resources, and an outdoor garden and recreation space.

As part of the campaign, Watson said they really want everyone engaged, from the community to the board to their staff. Last year, the staff at Inn From the Cold proposed a high tea as a community event with the funds being raised from it working as the staff’s donation to the capital campaign.

After the success of the inaugural event last year, which raised about $7,000, Watson said they hope to hit that goal again.

About 85 people attended, and a silent auction brought in additional funds, she added.

A high tea involves getting dressed up in “fancier” clothing and enjoying specialty teas, along with high-end scones, jams, desserts and sandwiches.

“It’s a very British thing,” said Watson. “We had great feedback from last year and it went really well. It was a very elegant event and everyone was dressed up so nicely and even wearing fascinators. People put a lot of effort into coming to the tea in a real traditional look.”

Watson said it was a beautiful experience with the quality of the food and the allure of the venue; it was held at the Aurora Armoury and will be again this year. 

“A lot of women came with their mothers and daughters and there were even some families that had three generations of family in attendance,” she said. “It was just a really nice event and there was strong support in the room for our project.”

Along with the high tea, Inn From the Cold talks about the importance of the shelter project with those in attendance.

The high tea will be Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Aurora Armoury, 89 Mosley St., from 1 to 3 p.m. Tickets, $100, are at [email protected] or 905-895-8889, ext. 221. There are also sponsorship opportunities available for businesses. 

You can donate to the campaign here.

Reader Feedback

Rob Paul

About the Author: Rob Paul

Rob Paul is a journalist with NewmarketToday. He has a passion for sports and community feature stories
Read more