Community News Update - January 26, 2024

Dear Community, 

Tomorrow, January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Tomorrow we remember the organized murder of 6 million Jews along with 11 million more killed for their sexuality, race, political views, religion, and disability by Nazi Germany and its allies between 1939 and 1945. Little children who never saw their dreams fulfilled and families who lived their entire lives with the unthinkable grief of having seen their loved ones murdered in front of their eyes.  

Let us also remember where bigotry leads. It leads to a disavowal of human rights. It leads humans to a place where people become objects. Once we objectify people and equate difference with ‘lesser than’ it becomes that much easier to hate, to disqualify feelings and lived experiences, and to hurt one another. 

Unavoidably, discussion of the Holocaust in this moment in history will be seen through the prism of the current war and humanitarian crisis happening in Israel and Palestine. While I will continue to call for a ceasefire, an end to the atrocious occupation, and insist on the necessity of a just settlement that respects the rights of both Jewish and Palestinian people, I also know that the Hamas terror attack of October 7, 2023 that killed 1400 Jews—more in any one day since the Holocaust—and other examples of antisemitism have created a very real fear in many Jewish Canadians, whether they have family in the region or not. The rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian hate speech and behaviours here in Canada, many in response to these events, is enraging to me. We, non-Jews, must continue to support our Jewish neighbours as they mourn during this difficult time and as many of them continue to call for ceasefires demonstrating the humane capacity to care for both ones own and other innocents who are being killed through government and military actions.  

I want to take this opportunity to restate my support for the immediate release of all hostages still held by Hamas. Women’s bodies are often sites of significant violence and harm during projects of war, genocide, and colonialism. Often on the frontlines they are raped, defaced, and used as bargaining chips. This is a truth that I know all too well as a Black person reflecting on the assaults on Black women and girls often faced during the transatlantic slave trade. As a survivor of child sexual abuse and rape, I want to restate my support for and belief in women who are survivors of rape and sexual violence and this includes Jewish women. It includes all women including Palestinian political prisoners.   
 
On this day of significance, I unapologetically restate my support for a ceasefire that ends the violence that is causing the murder of Israeli and Palestinian innocents in the past four months. As we acknowledge the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we can never forget our role in upholding humanity. Our existence is inextricably linked with one another – every last one of us. None of us are exempt. We remember and by remembering, we commit to ensuring these hateful, deadly atrocities never happening again. Never happen again to anyone.    

 

Tomorrow, January 27th, join me for a Community Rally to Save the Ontario Science Centre!

Join us from 12 pm to 2 at 450 Broadview Avenue (at Langley) in front of St. Matthew's Clubhouse. 

Community, we need to protect our Science Centre. I will keep fighting alongside all of you to ensure it stays in place. When I was a kid, the Science Centre helped bring my textbooks to life! It was an incredible space where we witnessed not only kids like us but entire families there enjoying its awe. Science staff welcomed our questions and man, did we have many. 

The current plan to rebuild it Ontario Place at HALF its current size and at TWICE the cost of repairing the current building makes NO sense. Why should the public be expected to pay more for less space!? Not to mention the loss of key experiences and programming that enjoyed by generations of families. This decision will have profoundly negative impacts on our communities. We can't afford to lose access to STEM education in this iconic building. It's a gem of Ontario's cultural heritage. 

This irresponsible decision was made without public consultation. In late 2023, we obtained documents through an FOI request that revealed the decision to move the Science Centre was made nearly TWO YEARS before Ford's Conservatives informed the public and long before they produced their flawed business case to justify the plan. Furthermore, the Auditor General's 2023 Annual Report confirmed what we were all suspecting—key stakeholders were NOT consulted. The decision was made on insufficient information, driven by the need to justify their backroom deal to build a private luxury spa at Ontario Place with public money.

Just this week, Ford moved to use controversial Bill 154 to STOP efforts by Ontario Place for All to force the government into an environmental assessment of its plans to build on the waterfront site. The government literally rewrote the laws and stripped community members of the right to hold them accountable. Enough is enough! 

Tomorrow we must raise our voices and demand the government keep the Science Centre where it is! Our voices DESERVE to be heard! THANK YOU to Save Ontario's Science Centre for organizing! Can't join us? Click here to send a letter to the Premier. 

 

'Revisiting Sycorax' by local artist Charmaine Lurch is on display as a part of DesignTO Fest. I had a chance to see it yesterday at the Harbourfront Centre. This installation is WONDERFUL! Hats off to Charmaine! Go check it out until January 28th. 

 

Earlier this week I attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference. It was a pleasure to meet with mayors, councillors, trustees, and community leaders from across the province. We heard loud and clear that rural communities aren't getting the stable funding they need from the province. They deserve a reliable partner so they can plan for and invest in infrastructure and deliver vital services to their communities. 

One presenter displayed a bottle of tap water from their community. It's unconscionable to consider Ontario's riches and know that in the 21st century, many Indigenous and Northern communities are STILL unable to access clean drinking water. The provincial government must step up and make this right. 

Also, special thank you to organizers from The Women of Ontario Say No for showing up and demanding #AccountabilityNow. Right now, there is currently no process in place for removing municipal politicians found guilty of workplace harassment. In fact, the Premier defeated legislation that would have added these protections for victims of workplace harassment in municipal offices. I am proud to join the 200 municipalities that have signed on to their demands. Municipal offices, and ALL workplaces, should be harassment-free. Full stop. 

 

January 21st was Lincoln Alexander Day - a day to commemorate a true man of action. 

We came together at Queen's Park to celebrate the Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander and the unveiling of his bust that will be housed permanently inside the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Mr. Alexander was the first elected Black person to serve as a Member of Parliament, the first Black person to become a Cabinet Minister, and Ontario's first Black Lieutenant Governor. He was sworn in on September 20th, 1985. 

The bust was created by the incredible artist/'artivist' Quentin VerCetty and the initiative was generously supported by many groups and organizations, including the Black Opportunity Fund, RBC and Licensed to Learn

I want to especially thank Rosemary Sadlier, Chair of the LINC Bust Committee and her team who worked tirelessly on this project for the last 10 years. Thank you Rosemary for your decades of public service ensuring we are seen AND heard in this province and across the country. I cannot thank Mr. Alexander's family enough for sharing him and memories of him with us. It was incredible to have his granddaughters, Erika and Marissa Alexander, among other family members there celebrating with us. Thank you all for ever so beautifully stewarding your beloved's legacy. 

This marks the FIRST TIME that a bust or statue of any Black person has been erected at Queen's Park. It must not be the last. Construction began in 1886 and the doors of Queen's Park opened in 1893. This bust WILL NOT be the last!

I was a youth when I met Mr. Alexander. He took a moment to give me a hug and to talk to me. I never forgot it. It was such an honour to be in that room last Sunday filled with so many folks some of whom I've looked up to for decades... To be in that room as an elected official myself offering remarks of gratitude for this trailblazer.  THANK YOU MPP Chris Glover for attending and joining in on the celebration. Chris always shows up!

 

Calling all community programmers and not-for-profit organizations that serve children and families! 

Wychwood Barns has a warm and friendly Childcare & Children's Programming space available. The unit is 2,024 square feet. It's equipped with child centered infrastructure including custom storage, built-in play structures, and a dedicated painting area. There is also a specialized children's washroom facilities within the unit. 

For more information, contact: [email protected].

 

The Canadian Stage's upcoming production of Universal Child Care created by Quote Unquote Collective on from Feb 13 to Feb 25, 2024. Click here for tickets and more information about the show. They will have onsite childcare options available for the Feb 25th matinee. Read more below:

We understand that enjoying the theatre with your little ones can be a juggling act. That’s why Canadian Stage has partnered with Balancing Act Canada and our neighbours at The Jamii Hub to offer parents three FREE onsite childcare options during the Sunday, February 25th matinee of Universal Child Care.  

BABES IN ARMS - newborn to age 3:  

For the Feb 25 matinee, parents are welcome to watch the performance with their baby/toddler in their arms/laps.   Please note that the performance is approximately 80 minutes long.   

TODDLER FUN - For ages 2 – 4:  

Theatre-goers can register their toddler(s) for free child care and activities provided by experienced ECE caregivers from the Summerhill Club.  The toddlers will explore their creativity with toys, activities, and crafts.   

CREATIVE KIDS -  For ages 5 – 12: 

While you’re at the theatre, the kids will enjoy a craft session guided by professional artist Janice Garel at the Jamii Hub. Janice studied at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica and at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Her work has been exhibited both in Toronto and abroad. She has been working with Jamii to facilitate youth arts workshops of all kinds. During the craft session, children will have the opportunity to try painting, mask making, and crafting.  

Drop-off and Pick-up Details: 

Location: 264 The Esplanade 

Drop-off: anytime between 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm 

Pick-up: anytime between 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm  

Registration Requirement:    Parents must book or confirm their tickets to the performance at the time of registration for the childcare options. 

To reserve a spot or for more information, click here. 

 

Spend Valentine's Day at the Tarragon Theatre! Join them for the opening night of Guilt (A Love Story). 

The pre-show artist discussion begins at 6:30 pm, featuring Director Alisa Palmer and Artistic Director Mike Payette. 

The performance begins at 7:30 pm in the Mainspace.

An all-new play about pathos; the “unshakable monster that is guilt,” and the things we’re not supposed to talk about.

Guilt (A Love Story) is a deep dive into a complex, uncomfortable, and highly human feeling. A state of being that most of us, especially parents, wrestle with inelegantly. Focusing on Flacks’ personal odyssey Guilt brings the perspective of a self-sacrificing Jewish mother who becomes the instigator of a family’s dissolution. Societal effects, causes and casualties and the feeling that we have when we’ve profoundly hurt others. This exploration may not pull punches, but don’t worry, it’s accompanied by laughs – because how else do we get through anything?

Diane Flack’s returns to Tarragon Theatre with GUILT (A Love Story) her 5th one-woman show.


Please RSVP by January 29th. Tickets here!

 

Toronto Community Champion Awards are back! Read more below:

The Toronto Community Champion Award recognizes and acknowledges the extraordinary contributions that community organizations make to support the health and solidarity of the residents of Toronto, particularly those from Black, Indigenous, and other equity-deserving communities. Stories of community resilience, inclusiveness and service are worthy of recognition, for they honour the collective commitment and unwavering determination of our communities to support each other through challenging times.

In 2024, the Toronto Community Champion Award will provide residents an opportunity to shine a spotlight on organizations that are known for their community collaboration. Organizations that are community collaborators:

  • build partnerships that strengthen neighbourhoods and/or communities in meaningful ways and forge deep connections within the areas they serve to make significant positive change to benefit the health and well-being of community members and residents
  • work in tandem with residents and other community-based organizations under a shared vision to develop and coordinate programs, services, and resources to address unique neighbourhood and/or community needs
  • have a deep understanding of the unique fabric that makes up our city and recognize the importance of working together to tackle the important equity issues that persist in the neighbourhoods and/or communities they support.

The 2024 Toronto Community Champion Award is a collaboration with United Way Greater Toronto. Nominations are open until February 11 at 11:55 p.m.

Click here for more information and to apply. 

 

James Rottman Fine Art is launching their latest exhibition INVENTION ILLUSION. 

The exhibition opens January 20 and runs until March 10, 2024. The gallery is open 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday. They're located at 830 St Clair Ave W. 

Read details about the exhibition below: 

A feature exhibition showcasing two iconic Canadian artists Gordon Rayner and Graham Peacock who challenge our notion of painting through the use of illusion, invention, colour, unorthodox materials, and the moulding and shaping of canvas.
 
“Gordon Rayner (1935 - 2010) had an idiosyncratic way of making art, a style that is marked by constant innovation and change, and by the transformation of any medium he used. This quality is combined with an apparently endless series of startling juxtapositions in his work, also a colour sense that was often edgy, violent, and surprising — so surprising at times to create in the viewer new ideas of what colour can be.”
- Joan Murray, Canadian art historian

“Illusion is a centuries old pictorial practice of making the subject look ‘realistic’ on a flat surface. From Rembrandt portraits to the apples of Cezanne, illusionistic tradition forms the basis of representational art today. Beginning with the Impressionists and the Fauves, the traditional illusion of realism was diminished… The Within the Frame series reestablishes the modelling and shading of traditional illusionistic space, but in abstraction.”     
– Graham Peacock

 

Pride at Work is seeking nominations for its 2024 CHANGEMAKERS campaign. The campaign will recognize15 people championing 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion in the corporate, public service and non profit sectors across Canada as a part of their 15th anniversary.

The nomination process is open from January 15th to March 17th, 2024. Click here for more information. 

 

Attention St. Paul's, Toronto, & surrounding area!

Join Joy Bullen, Culturpreneur is bringing a concert in honour of Black History month!

Celebrations & Revelations 2024: Unyielding Roots
 

Second generation Canadians with roots in the Caribbean and Africa, Rashaan Rory Allwood, pianist / instrumentalist, and Kathryn Patricia Cobbler, Loop pedal violist, will premiere their original compositions, with the outstanding soprano voice of Nadine Anyan.

Rashaan and Kathryn will take you on a musical journey with pieces that reflect upon elements of the Caribbean immigrant and African diaspora experience. A program of original ambient jazz, folk, and classical compositions performed against a background film of images and events from life in the Caribbean and in Canada, exploring themes of being raised within multiple cultures and redefining beauty against a North American colonial landscape.

The performance will take place Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 3 pm at Holy Blossom Temple. Early bird tickets are $35 (until Jan 16th). Regular price: $45. 

Click here to buy yours!

 

Hillcrest Village Community Players is looking for volunteers for their upcoming production of Footloose (Feb 22–March 2, 2024)! 

There is a lot of fun to be had in their Front of House team! Roles available include:

  • Two ushers
  • Two ticket-takers
  • Two merch sales people
  • Two cafe and intermission sales people
  • Two coat-checkers

Interested? Fill out their interest form by January 29th here

Tickets for the production are on sale NOW. You don’t want to miss it! Click here to purchase. 

 

In Ontario, 1,400 people on average are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant while thousands more are in need of a life-changing tissue donation. They are our friends, neighbours, colleagues, and, in some cases, members of our own families.

When you register as a possible organ and tissue donor, you have the potential to change the story for someone in need.
 
One donor can help over 80 people get back to life.
 
Register your consent to become an organ and tissue donor after your death and tell your family so they can help honour your wishes.
 
Did You Know?

  • Any Ontario resident who is 16 years or older and has an Ontario health card is eligible to register as an organ and tissue donor
  • Everyone has the potential to be an organ and/or tissue donor, regardless of age or health.
  • People from every major religion have donated. Many religions support donation or respect and individual’s choice.
  • The first and foremost concern for health care professionals is to save lives. Only when a life cannot be saved does organ and tissue donation become an option.
  • It takes two minutes to register or check your status at www.beadonor.ca. You can also register in person at any ServiceOntario location.

 
More information about the donation process, who can register, and the importance of speaking to family can be found online at www.beadonor.ca.

 

This is a reminder to get up-to-date on your COVID-19 boosters. The XBB 1.5 updated boosters are NOW available. I got mine and I encourage you to join me! 

Consult this page for information about where you can get vaccinated.

 

Each year across Ontario, thousands of lives are lost to overdoses. We need every level of government to prioritize implementing harm reduction strategies to combat these senseless deaths, and you can help.

As many of you know, Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and these kits are FREE with training at participating pharmacies across the city. Together, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and work toward a more compassionate society that is safe safe for everyone.

Find a pharmacy with Naloxone kits near you, and make sure you can recognize the signs of an overdose.

 

In solidarity, 



Dr. Jill Andrew, Ph.D

MPP, Toronto-St. Paul's

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Community News Update - June 21, 2024

Dear Community,

Join me and Save Ontario's Science Centre on Sunday in Wells Hill Park to speak out against Doug Ford's scheme to move the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place, which has now led to the surprise closure of the Science Centre.

This benefits no one. Not the people of Toronto who are losing a beloved insitution or the 400+ employees of the OSC, many of whom will lose their jobs.

Meet us in Wells Hill Park at St Clair and Bathurst to tell Doug Ford NO.

RSVP here

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