Outside the Box

In your community wanderings, you may have noticed a few traffic signal boxes across the City that have new beautiful art work on them – this is the Outside the Box program which ran in 2013, 2014 and now again in 2015.
There is a new Call for Artists for the 2015 program – the deadline is May 8th.  Outside the Box can help communities across the City be more vibrant places through public art in neighbourhoods.  Research shows that this kind of public art helps to reduce graffiti vandalism.  It’s also a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the vitality and beauty of our neighbourhood (and the whole city!) and support local emerging artists.  The deadline for applications is May 8, 2015.
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Imagine the Change – Crescent Town Update

The Imagine the Change initiative taking place at Crescent Town School is gaining momentum.  They’ve started up a Facebook page to collect ideas, images and inspiration for their school yard.   They’ve also started a photo campaign to share the dreams of Crescent Town’s students – and what they imagine doing in a proper school yard.  Plus the group will be selling ‘Imagine the Change’ T-shirts at the Crescent Town Eco Fair on May 4th for $5.

Interested to know more?  ‘Like’ their Facebook page to get regular updates, or email Icanimaginethechange@gmail.com to connect.


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DECA’s Hidden Gems

The ever-organized and pro-active DECA (Danforth East Community Association) has started up a ‘Danforth Hidden Gems‘ contest.  Community members are being asked to nominate any independent commercial business (but no home offices) within DECA’s boundaries – from Main St. to Monarch Park, north to Mortimer, south to the railroad tracks.  Businesses nominated don’t have to actually be on the Danforth, and franchises and chains will be excluded from eligibility.  The idea is to recognize and promote independent, local joints that are offering great services and that help to make our community a better place to be.

Since DECA’s boundaries merge with Danforth Secord, I thought I’d put it out to you, fair readers.  Any local sweet spots that you feel are under-recognized?  Particularly in our stretch that overlaps with DECA’s between Westlake and Main?  Tracy Hardware, perhaps? Scrumdelicious? Nana Florist?

You can nominate businesses before May 7 by telling DECA why that business is the best, and it could win a Marketing Prize Pack, including professional photography, staging, a website and more!  Nominate by using the hashtag #DECAgems via Facebook or Twitter, or email DECAgems@gmail.com with details.

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Help Crescent Town School

The students and staff at Crescent Town School made a film last year called ‘Imagine the Change’ which was screened at Jackman Hall at the Art Gallery of Ontario and also at Toronto International Film Festival’s “TIFF in the Park” event at Dentonia Park last summer.

Their intention in making the film was to bring awareness to their deteriorating play space – the school is situated on a hill and their play area has eroded into a mud pile – and instigate some kind of change, including a better yard.  As a community, Crescent Town is a dense ‘inner-suburb,’ populated in great part with newcomers to Canada in its high-rise buildings.  Access to outdoor space is limited within the community, and all the more reason a good yard is needed as part of the school to provide kids with a space to play, run and explore on a daily basis.

They are currently seeking business partners to work with the school to build a better yard.  If you know of any businesses who might be interested in working with the school and students, let them know to be in touch with the school at 416-396-2340, or email the school’s group heading up the initiative at Icanimaginethechange@gmail.com

Here is a link to the video via YouTube.

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A look at the past, and some thoughts for the future

Toronto Star published an article today called What’s the next vision for Shopper’s World Danforth? The article takes a peak at our ‘hood’s history, specifically how our neighbourhood has changed along with the property that is currently Target.  That particular building was once a Ford auto plant which opened in 1923 (and next time you go by it, take a look at the angled roof line, which was a common feature for early 20th century industrial buildings) – and the mall Shoppers World itself was an an addition to the building, and opened in the early 1960’s after the factory had closed.

But the article also muses about the relationship between that location and the historical changes in our neighbourhood, as well as our combined future.  Seems MP Matthew Kellway has gathered a community group to address the needs of the community and how the soon-to-be vacant space might be used to support it best.  According to the article, a number of ideas are being tossed around such as an urban agriculture project, where food could be grown, renewable energy could be generated and a public market space could be opened.

What vision do you have for our neighbourhood, and that space specifically? I’d be interested to have street access opened up to the building (it currently isn’t), so people could enter the building right on Danforth, which would encourage a more vibrant streetscape and walkable community.  Feel free to comment here with your thoughts, or get in touch with our MP directly (through the link above).

Posted in beautification, Business Revitalization, community, Danforth, Danforth Village, history, infrastructure, National | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Fundraiser for BCCS

Join Bangladesh Centre and Community Services (BCCS) on Saturday March 14 from 3-10 pm for their fundraising event called ‘Soup-er Sound’.  For $4.99 you can enjoy different kinds of soups with crackers, bread or a spring roll – $9.99 for all you can eat!


‘Soup-er Sound’ Fundraiser

2670 Danforth Ave, 2nd Floor

March 14, 3pm – 10pm

for more information please call: 416-901-2121 or 647-708-2723

Here is a link to their poster for the event.  And here is a link to their website.

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Toronto Police Service: Missing Girl

Toronto Police Service released at statement on Friday requesting the public’s assistance locating a missing girl.  The girl was last seen in our ‘hood, around Secord and Dawes Avenues.

Sarah Gauthier, age 14, is described as white, 5’9″, 160 lbs., with long brown hair. She was wearing a 3/4-length black winter jacket with a fur-trimmed hood, jeans and a nose ring.

If you have any information, please contact police at 416-808-5400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).  You can also leave a tip on Toronto Police Service Facebook page.   You can also download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

Here is  a link to the News Release.

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Danforth Secord in Toronto Life

Danforth Secordian Nayamath Syed speaks out in GTA magazine Toronto Life about his experiences in our ‘hood, focusing on Secord School’s crumbling infrastructure.

It’s a worthy read, and Nayamath is clear and focused in his description of his experiences. What’s a bit disappointing about the article, I think – and about the broader series Toronto Life is doing this month which they’re labelling under the hashtag #TorontoIsFailingMe – is that it fails to address the positive nuances of what they are calling the ‘inner suburbs’ (I suspect this lack of attention is not Nayamath’s fault, but a decision on the part of Toronto Life! #TorontoIsFailingMe is far more dramatic than #IreallyLikeWhereILiveExceptforTheseImportantDetails).

I, frankly, love our neighbourhood, despite it’s aging infrastructure and the ease with which many decision makers overlook our community’s needs.  I could write a whole book on why this might be, but I’ll leave that for now, only to say that the squeaky wheel gets the oil; and our community has a history of members who might not be as savvy to the inner workings of policy/politics as other more affluent neighbourhoods. And, of course, the article also overlooks the progressive teaching and excellent staff at Secord School that are providing great support to our kids within the decrepit building.

But perhaps this is where articles such as this might help us – if the squeaky wheel does get the oil, then perhaps this is a good, noisy wheel to turn. It’s harder to ignore clear and passionate articulations like Nayamath’s – especially when concerning the health of our children.

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seeking snow shovelers

Neighbourhood Centre, located in the Secord Community Centre on Barrington Ave, is looking for student and adult Snow Shovelers to serve seniors in our community during the winter months.  Shovelers will be compensated an average of $15 per hour/house.  Neighbourhood Centre has been running a snow shoveling program for eligible seniors and other residents since 2003.

Interested?  Call 416-698-1926 or email Rezwan Karim at csoc@neighbourhoodcentre.org for more information.


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Secord Infrastructure – help!

Community members!  Secord School needs your help! Please consider filling in an on-line survey to help Secord get new, permanent infrastructure.

As you may already be aware (and for those of you who are not, listen in), Secord School has infrastructure woes.  Firstly, it has several PortaPacs, temporary buildings that were built on-site over 20 years ago to accommodate Secord’s growing student population.  Trick is, it is becoming obvious that these buildings are not being seen as a temporary solution by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), as not only are the PortaPacs aging, but there are no official plans in the works to have them replaced.  This is compounded by the fact that mould was recently discovered in the PortaPacs – while the problem was dealt with superficially, it brings up important questions about spending money to mend supposedly temporary infrastructure when the community clearly needs a permanent addition to the building to replace the PortaPacs.

As a parallel issue, in 2011/12 a community process was taken to plan for changes to be made to a cluster of local schools including Secord.  Part of the plan involved Secord to become a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school (referred to as ‘K-8’; it currently goes to Grade 5), as well as changes to other local schools.  It was a long process, and at the time the Secord Community was resoundingly behind the plan and having Secord become K-8.  Shortly after this process, the metaphorical feces hit the fan at the TDSB which included overspending scandals on other schools being built.  The Province (who funds all school boards, including the TDSB) stepped in and froze all funds going to capital and infrastructure projects.  Since then, everything infrastructure related has been on hold.  If Secord becomes a K-8 school, it would be entitled to new infrastructure to accommodate the new grades.  There’s no point replacing the PortaPacs to accommodate the current K-5 school, only to have the school convert to K-8 shortly after and spend more money to upgrade again.  A coordinated effort is needed. You can check out these posts here and here  and here if you’d like more information.

Here’s where you come in.  If you feel as a community member that Secord is due for infrastructure upgrades please consider signing a petition by 4 pm Wednesday September 24 – either in hard copy through Secord’s main office located on Barrington at Doncaster (101 Barrington Ave), OR through the Survey Monkey link.  It’s very short.

Tomorrow, Wednesday September 24th is Secord’s Parent Council first meeting and our TDSB Trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher will be in attendance.  The Parent Council is gathering signatures from Secord parents AND community members who are concerned about Secord’s Infrastructure issues to present to Ms Cary-Meagher at the meeting to enlist her help and make change.

Posted in community, health, infrastructure, safety, Schools | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments