John Bousfield Public Lecture Series: A History of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust: Community Activism, Displacement and the Potential of Trust

When and Where

Thursday, October 19, 2023 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Paul Cadario Conference Centre
University College
15 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7


Dominque Russell


John Bousfield Public Lecture Series Presents A History of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust: Community Activism, Displacement and the Potential of Trust — Presented by Dominque Russell.

Join us at the Paul Cadario Conference Centre (University College) on Thursday, October 19th from 6:30 - 9:00pm — reception with refreshments to follow discussion. 


This talk will present the history of the KMCLT from the initial stages to its acquisition of 54-56 Kensington Avenue, focusing specifically on the community activism from which it originates. Taking a personal perspective, I will tell the story of the challenges of organizing a community land trust, from the period when nothing seemed to be happening to the lightning-quick acquisition of our first building. Every CLT comes together in a particular way, but there are broad lessons to be shared in what paved the way for success and what obstacles and pitfalls lie ahead. This is a case study, a story of an eccentric and complicated community fighting to stay itself.

About Dominque Russell 

Dominique Russell is a community organizer, housing activist, teacher and writer. 

She founded Friends of Kensington Market in 2013, mounting a successful city-wide campaign to stop a Walmart on the edge of the market. Under her leadership, FOKM intervened on development files, offered de-escalation and naloxone training, helped organize and support tenants facing displacement and campaigned against ghost hotels. In 2015, Dominique led a working group that set the parameters to establish a community land trust and was Kensington Market Community Land Trust’s founding board chair. She is the KMCLT’s current co-chair, along with Kevin Barrett. She also serves on the board of directors for the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts. 

She has given numerous talks, workshops and tours on the subjects of development, gentrification and activism in Kensington Market. 

She holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from the University of Toronto and has taught at York, U of T, Western and more recently, Brock University. Her publications include Rape in Art Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2012, 2010), Instructions for Dreamers (Swimmers Group, 2018) and Kensington, I Remember (Russell Creek Press, 2023; 2017; 2013).


15 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7