Monday, 1 November 2010

Remembering a giant in the fight against Diabetes

On Nov 1, 1920 - exactly 90 years ago, U of T's Sir Frederick Banting gives a lecture outlining a vision of the pancreas that laid the foundation for a breakthrough that continues to save millions of lives each year. At the age of 32, the discovery of insulin would make him the youngest Nobel prize winner in the history of Medicine.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


In case anyone is not on our mailing list - below is the email that went out this morning. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful team, and am touched by the many messages of support coming in following last night's airing of Goldhawk Live on RogersTV. Now on to four more days of non stop hard work to keep pressing our message of Be Healthy, Be Mobile, Be Engaged to close out the most important week of them all!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Toronto Star endorses Bryan!

I am delighted to share the news that the Toronto Star has endorsed our campaign for City Council in Ward 40! In their words:

“Fresh thinking and original perspectives are essential given the financial challenges and broad public frustration left behind by the departing council. More city-builders are needed in office — energetic people capable of co-operation and inspiration.”
"Well-spoken Bryan Heal, a worker at a non-profit agency helping children and youth, deserves a chance to show what he can do."

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Weekend advanced vote is here!

Hi Everyone!

If you haven't already done so, be sure to go out and vote this weekend! Polling locations are being set up in every ward, and Bryan will be joining Ward 40 residents at Holy Spirit Catholic Church to cast his ballot on Sunday.

This is the only weekend opportunity people will have to vote, so we will be pushing hard encouraging as many people as we can to join us in voting early. Here are the three biggest ways you can help!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Final fundraiser as the race heats up!

Dear friends

With advanced voting and debate season under way, the race is heating up in the final weeks! Tuesday's All-Candidates meeting was great fun, a spirited discussion was had, and I was delighted to make my case to an engaged room of residents in the Antrim & Dundalk communities. Many thanks are in order to the Glamorgan school and the Scarborough Civic Action Network (SCAN) for playing host, to all who came out to listen and learn, and to help: Sarah, Ronni, Scotty and Dad - you were a fantastic team to have had on hand!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ward 40: This is what your ballot looks like!

If you are aligned with the public school system ...

If you are aligned withe the catholic school system ...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Labour Council endorsement

Thank you Toronto & York Region Labour Council for endorsing me and our "Be Healthy, Be Mobile, Be Engaged" campaign in Ward 40!

The official Toronto plan estimates that 1 million new people will move to our city, and twice as much to the GTA. Many of these new residents will call Scarborough home. When thinking about how to move people to work, get them to school, and reduce gridlock on our streets - there is no greater economic investment then an expanded TTC that better connects Scarborough to the rest of the city, and integrates seamlessly with transit systems in neighbouring municipalities. It's time for the GTA's municipalities to work better together and compete as an economic region - and that starts with a strong public transit system that connects us all.

In Scarborough, while our population has and continues to grow, there hasn't been a major transit investment since the introduction of the SRT line in 1985. Now reaching the end of it's lifespan, most of us will agree that it has not live up to it's potential. It's nice to have an election where transit is one of the defining issues, and while we all have varying viewpoints with whether we would like to see an expansion underground or above ground - what is not in question is that it is time to upgrade the SRT and extend the Sheppard line east from Don Mills and into Malvern.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sheppard Transit & Upcoming Events

Dear friends

On the heels of receiving high marks from the Public Transit Coalition and an “A” grade from the Toronto Environmental Alliance, I was happy to host a meeting this week on one of the biggest issues on all of our agendas: Transit City, and the proposed TTC plan for Sheppard Ave. Many thanks to all who braved the weather to come out for a spirited discussion on what has been the most contentious issue in our ward. Like many of us, if there is a chance to amend the current plan I will continue to advocate for the Sheppard Line to be built underground – it will be better for users, better for roads, and better for our community. For more info on my views on these and other transit priorities, please visit

Looking forward, we’ve got two more big events coming up next week and if you can spare a few hours – I need all the support I can get!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Advanced weekday voting begins!

Tired of this election? Wanna get it over with already? VOTE EARLY!! Starting today you can vote at your Civic Centre from 10am-6pm on Oct 5, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13.

For more info at the Torontoist:


Glad to see my profile published on our city's best wiki - Torontopedia! Please take a look when you have a moment ...

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

October Meetings & Debates

Dear friends

Fall is here and we've got four weeks before the election on October 25th to spread our message and get out the vote!

There are several events being planned for this final month for you to come out and ask questions, show your support, and share your ideas about the kinds of change you want to see in our neighbourhoods and at City Hall. Be sure to add us to your calendar!


From LRTs vs Subways, accessibility, TTC fares, and how to deliver a lengthy construction project that is respectful of its impact on Sheppard area residents and businesses - the transit plan for Sheppard and how it is implemented will be a defining issue for our Ward in the next term of Council. If you are concerned about these issues and want to learn more while helping develop some practical ideas - then join Bryan at his Community Forum on Transit & Sheppard Avenue Construction!

WHEN: Tuesday October 5th, from 6 PM to 8 PM
WHERE: At the Agincourt Public Library, ground floor meeting room (accessible)

Light snacks will be provided.


Ward 40 Debate at Glamorgan Elementary School

The Scarborough Civic Action Network (SCAN) hosts an All-Candidates debate for residents of Ward 40. Come early for a Voter Education session, or just show up for the debate as Bryan and other candidates answer questions about the hot button issues before us in this election. To make sure your issues get discussed, please submit your questions in advance to Jessica at

WHEN: Tuesday October 12th, Voter Education at 6:30pm, Debate from 7-9pm
WHERE: Glamorgan Elementary School, 51 Antrim Cres

Rogers Cable Live TV Ward 40 Debate

Most undecided voters make up their mind in the final week. Tune in on October 20th as Rogers TV hosts a final Ward 40 All-Candidates Debate in the home stretch! This Live TV broadcast will be hosted by Canadian journalist Dale Goldhawk. To make sure your issues get discussed, please submit your questions in advance to Dale at (indicate your interest in Ward 40) or phone-in live during the program at 416-446-7090. We look forward to hearing from you!

WHEN: Wednesday October 20th, 8 PM to 9 PM (5 days before the vote!)
WHERE: Rogers Cable 63 in Scarborough, Cable 10 in Toronto

SHOW: Goldhawk Live

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

ArtsVoteTO 2010

Our friends at ArtsVoteTO 2010 are organizing a collection of "I'm an Artist, and I vote" photo submissions for the slideshow to be displayed at the ArtsVote Mayoral Debate later this month at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Here is mine ...

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Sept 10 and the end of nominations

And so marks the end of the 2010 voteTO nomination period!

It's been a heck of a ride getting to this point, and I am thrilled to have had the support and encouragement from so many friends old and new.

It can take a whole heap of work and soul-searching to put one's self on the ballot, and I'd like to take a time out to aknowledge Mr Sy, Councillor Kelly and all candidates across Toronto who are contesting in the races for Mayor, Councillor and Trustee. Congratulations to all, and here's to wishing everyone a final 45 days of good debate and successful canvasses in our quest for a more informed and engaged electorate in 2010.


Bryan Heal for City Council
Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A grand birthday weekend!

A great many and heartfelt thanks to all this past 31st birthday weekend. From gifts, cards, messages, bbq's, wonderful evenings out and a lot of help on the canvass - it's been a fantastic past few days with loved one's sharing in a nice balance of both politics and fun!


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Timothy Eaton meeting notes

Thank you Trustee Wong for hosting a lively public meeting concerning the sale of the Timothy Eaton school building and property.

For those who were unable to attend, the meeting featured a powerpoint presentation followed by a question and answer period with residents. Joining Trustee Wong on the panel were Shirley Hoy of the Toronto Lands Corporation, and Andrew Gowdy, the TDSB Planning Manager. After introducing the purpose of the meeting and giving the background rationale for closing the school, the bulk of the meeting focused on what happens next, the role of the Toronto Lands Corporation, how they accept proposals from potential bidders, and where students and daycare attendees who have used Timothy Eaton will be redirected to.


- At the last public meeting, the community was in favour of leasing Timothy Eaton. The TDSB in their June 30th meeting, however, voted overwhelmingly to sell, and authorized the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) to circulate the property to a preferred list of public institutions.

- The child care centre will be relocated to Highland Heights Junior Public School

- Given the large scale residential developments planned for the area (e.g. Bridlewood Mall), some concerns were raised as to whether there was enough school space to serve an influx of residents. TDSB staff explained that the existing secondary schools in the area (Stephen Leacock, L'Amoreaux, Sr John A Macdonald) have the capacity to absorb new students, and are large enough to accomodate additions if enrollment increases substantially.

- The TLC will now proceed to offer the property to the following institutions for a period of 90 days, in order of priority:
French-language public district school board
English-language separate district school board
French-language separate district school board
English/French language college
The university whose head office is nearest to the property
The Province of Ontario
The City of Toronto
The Federal Government of Canada

- In an effort to keep the site in public hands and not sell to private ownership, Trustee Wong informed us that the TDSB approved a motion to bring the property back to the Board if no sale occurs with one of the preferred public institutions.

- If the City is able to secure at least part of the space - several community constituents including residents, non profit agencies and myself are in support of the develop of a 'hub' for needed services that will able to serve the Timothy Eaton area. There are at least two groups who have expressed interest in this idea - a United Way-led consortium of agencies, and a Family-justice group of agencies. Giving the pecking order of institutions, however, for the City of Toronto to be able to make use of the site, any proposal needs to be compatible with bids received from the institutions holding a higher priority status.


If the City is able to secure at least part of the site, I would be delighted to discuss how we should best use the space at or 416-760-2938.

For information regarding the decision to close and sell Timothy Eaton, the surplus process, what the raised capital will be used for, where students will be redirected to, enrollment projections and other TDSB issues please contact our local Trustee Soo Wong.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Big week for Ward 40

With the Bridlewood Mall development before Community Council, the launch of the TTC's customer service panel report, a meeting on the sale of Timothy Eaton, and a vote on rooming house by-laws this Thursday = a big week for Ward 40 issues! 

Regarding the public meeting tonight on the sale of the Timothy Eaton school - all area residents are welcome at the St Paul's L'Amoreux Centre, 3333 Finch Ave East at 7pm to share your thoughts on the future use of the school and the land. For those unable to attend, please visit tomorrow afternoon where I will be happy to post an update.


Bryan Heal
Ward 40 resident and local candidate for Toronto City Council

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Bridlewood development supported by councillors, not residents

Dear Friends

I attended this past week's Scarborough Community Council meeting. Most significant for Ward 40 residents was the afternoon deliberation and vote on the controversial condominium development proposed for the parking lot of Bridlewood Mall.

The series of large buildings has been met with criticism from the community, including myself, who questions whether the Warden-Finch area has the infrastructure in place to effectively support the additional units. Several deputations were made by community members giving testimony to difficulty with city planners near the end of the consultation process, as well as studies highlighting the gaps in services that already exist; that Toronto Hydro currently lacks enough transmission lines for the project; and that developments of this magnitude are more appropriately built around subway corridors. Most compellingly, one woman spoke of Finch Avenue being the busiest bus route in Canada, and of how much difficulty she has getting to and from work everyday - frequently having to wait for 3-4 full buses to pass her before she is able to board. A city that works, is a city that moves. As north Scarborough residents have to wait this long to get to work as it is, the next council should be planning, prior to approving new developments, of how to upgrade transit capacity so that service levels are not compromised as new homes are created.

That the Council voted unanimously to approve the development was not surprising. What was, however, is how poorly the merits of many arguments made by community members were even acknowledged. Councillors will vote as they will, but they need to remember that they serve us, and when a constituent brings forth a legitimate and well-reasoned argument on an important issue - that constituent deserves nothing less than the respect to have their concern openly acknowledge and (if possible) addressed.


For the InsideToronto/Scarborough Mirror article on the issue, please visit the followign url:

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Candidate Surveys

Enjoyed completing the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT) and the Clean Air Partnership (CAP)'s candidate survey on walking and cycling infrastructure. Including ArtsVote2010 and the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), that's 3 report cards we currently await for the fall!

Next up: The Public Transit Coalition on the 23rd. And then the papers!

Looking forward to a fun & busy week ahead of meeting people, and more people :)


Saturday, 14 August 2010

8 ways to help Bryan

Courtesy of our lovely Facebook group ...

Dear Friends

Thank you for your continued support!

It's time to elect someone different.
It's time to elect someone who represents and understands the diversity of our communities.
It's time to support new leadership and elect Bryan for City Council in Ward 40!

Since launching our website, newsletter and Facebook page, we are delighted to have received so many words of encouragement and offers of assistance. If you would consider helping Bryan further, here are 8 things that we all can do to help send our good friend and colleague to City Hall:

1. Share Bryan's website link with your networks -

2. Invite your FB friends to join our page at -

3. Make a YouTube video supporting Bryan

4. Commit yourself to finding 5 people in Ward 40 who did not vote in 2006, to cast their ballots this October!

5. Help Bryan fundraise by making a donation (Ontario residents), sending a letter or hosting a small gathering. Whether it's $5, $750 or something in between - all generous contributions will go a long way in helping to print lawn signs, distribute flyers, and provide support for those needing assistance getting to the polls. Donations of $25 and above are eligible for a cash rebate of up to 75% back!

6. Volunteer with an event. We've got at least two big events in the works, and need all the help we can get!

7. Enjoy walking or cycling on a nice day? Come to Agincourt for a workout and drop some flyers along the way!

8. Save the date on October 25th and sign up to help Bryan get out the vote!

Thank you for all of your support!
--The campaign to Elect Bryan Heal to City Council in Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt

Friday, 13 August 2010

ACORN Tenant vote rally

I took a break from the canvass to attend ACORN Canada's tenant vote rally in St Jamestown.

Congratulations to ACORN Canada for launching this important campaign. While the voter turnout throughout Ward 40 is about 40% - in some building clusters it is as low as 10-15%, and that needs to change in this election and all elections!


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Dave Meslin @ TEDxToronto

Better Ballots is the best thing to have happened to this year's election season yet, with candidates and communities in all 44 wards talking about how to improve elections in Toronto. Let's all congratulate Dave Meslin on his upcoming speech to TEDxToronto, and listen to him discuss the voter apathy myth and current structural impediments to community engagement.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Dorset Park Community Planning Meeting

Had a fun, informative and engaged meeting at 6 Glamorgan with area residents as we begin our strategic community building planning for the next year! Big thank you to the Action for Neighbourhood Change, the DP neighbourhood association and 6 for organizing and playing host.

Aug 6-8 weekend update

Thanks for a great weekend team

We have recruited 30 new volunteers, put in a new print order to help drive the rest of the summer, and have now canvassed almost every storefront in the Ward!

We're looking at holding a fundraiser at a local venue in mid September, to help fuel the home stretch. If you're able to help organize, please join us at


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Review voting places for accessibility

Toronto Elections has posted a tentative list of voting places for public review of the
accessibility features of the locations. The list highlights entrance
locations, and any modifications that are to be made to make the
location accessible on Election Day.

To view the tentative list visit, please .

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Chewing on food as an election issue ...

A re-post of the transcript of Joe Fiorito's article in the Toronto Star, 21 July 2010. For the original article, please visit:

The Canadian Urban Institute gathered together a group of smart people recently, in order to ask why the issue of food did not seem to appear anywhere on the election agenda. A lively discussion ensued, although it wasn’t so much about why food was not on the agenda, as it was about why it ought to be.

Okay, why?

Because there are places in this city where it’s hard to find an unprocessed bite to eat. Because in some neighbourhoods the food bank is more important than the corner store. Because we are too fat. Because our kids think it isn’t food if it wasn’t wrapped in plastic. Because there are a dozen neighbourhoods in Toronto where you can’t walk to the store. Because many of us have no garden, nor any place to put one. And because lots of people have no idea how to buy a whole chicken and cut it up, using some of the meat for the grill and making soup from the rest of it.

You get the point.
A useful question, then.

Of the candidates for mayor, only Joe Pantalone showed up. That tells you something about him, and a little more about the others. The medical officer of health spoke first, about the Toronto Food Strategy. Darlings, I wonder if you knew we had such a thing. I also wonder if you knew that its goals are to protect the environment, promote social justice, foster economic development, support health and celebrate community. None of that sounds like a bowl of pho to me, with a pair of cha gio on the side. Here, however, I should note that my own personal food strategy is to keep it off my shirt. But the merest reason we need a food strategy is that this city buys 7,000 meals a day and serves them up in our shelters and childcare centres.
Our food strategy comes with a set of priorities, among them to eliminate hunger, to connect the city to the country, to develop food-friendly neighbourhoods, and to empower residents.

In plain language, if you can’t afford the lettuce at the farmers’ market, you should grow your own. An aside: The logo printed on the city’s food strategy documents shows fat slices of six different apples, stacked together to form an imaginary apple; of the six kinds, I could only name four.
What a sap?
What a wine sap.

There were more speakers; to them, I merely suggest that speaking from notes is always a good idea, because when you just get up and tell stories off the cuff, you run the risk of . . .
Sorry, my mind wandered.
I have, however, some questions of my own about food and the coming election:
When a developer finishes a neighbourhood, or a renovation in a neighbourhood, why is that developer not compelled to leave a couple of feet of topsoil behind, as opposed to an inch of sod on top of construction rubble?
Why doesn’t the city use some of its land to grow its own food and raise its own eggs and distribute the results in public housing?
Why doesn’t the city push the airport off the island, and reclaim the fields as farmland?
And why didn’t Toronto buy the last Canadian cannery in the Niagara region a couple of years ago, and use it to supply city schools with juice and fruit?
A final thought: in the summer, they teach kids to fish in the swimming pool at Scadding Court. Funny, you can eat what you catch in an indoor pool, but not what you catch from the Humber or the Don.
Why not?
You know who to ask.

Friday, 16 July 2010

More Mayoral candidates than the Media 5

It is unfortunate that of 30+ Mayoral candidates, we only hear of five getting respectable media coverage. Several others have great goals for out city, and in a time where Toronto is facing big challenges - all good ideas deserve to be heard.

This weekend's goal,if you can spare a few minutes: Search online and look up the candidacies of Rocco Achampong & HiMY SYeD

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

What could $30 million do for your community?

Tip of the hat to Councillor Heaps for challenging the deal that has Toronto taxpayers subsidising the property levy's on nine private golf clubs. At next month's executive committee meeting he will be requesting a legal review of this agreement. Sitting executive committee members include:

Mayor Miller; Deputy Mayor Pantalone; Councillor Carroll; Councillor Davis; Councillor De Baeremaker; Councillor Kelly; Councillor Mammoliti; Councillor McConnell; Councillor Mihevc; Councillor Moscoe; Councillor Rae

$30 million could have been invested in our communities, on our infrasture, towards transit or paying down our debt. Let's hope they do the right thing and move this forward.

For the Toronto Star's story on this issue: click here

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Dorset Park Day

While it may be remembered for its G20 shinanigans, the June 26-27th weekend saw the 416 play host to a range of wonderful events and activities. Chief among them in Scarborough was the Dorset Park Day Festival. Held at McGregor Park, the community was out in full force. Not deterred by wind or rain, residents young and old came together and laughed, learned, ate good food and enjoyed wonderful entertainment. Much love is in order to all the organizers for all the planning that went in to the day, and for ensuring a seamless transition when the skies forced us inside. You know it's a good event when people have been there for five hours and still don't wanna go home when it's time to clean up!!! A few pics from the day ...

Scarborough royalty, MC Grimace Love performing for the room

DP Day's co-host asking the crowd when election day is this year

No Limit dancer's getting ready to perform

With Grimace Love after his set

Saying goodbye to Yodit and sending her all good wishes on her journey to Ghana!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Rotary's Canada Day Ribfest!

What better way is there to spend Canada Day than with family, friends, good food and sunny skies?
Many thanks to Rotary International and its Scarborough clubs, the L'Amoreaux Community Centre, partners, volunteers, vendors and entertainers for organizing a fantastic international festival and ribfest weekend. I can say that hands down, I had the best ribs that I've ever had!!!

Scroll down for a few photos from the day

Maker of the best ribs I've ever had ...

Preparing to eat the best ribs I've ever had ...

Eating the best ribs I've ever had ...

Thanks Jen & Cybele for joining me on this fun afternoon!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

NCCT Elections

Thank you Tamil Elections Canada for allowing me the priviledge of observing the recent election of the National Council for Canadian Tamils (NCCT). With several thousand electors participating all across Canada, this was a wonderful display of democracy in action. Special congratulations is reserved for all candidates who put their names forward, and I wish all newly elected representatives all the best in your important work ahead.


For the official media release including the final election results, please visit: NCCT Election results

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Autism Speaks: Support TEAM LUKAS!!!

Update: Walk Now for Autism Speaks raised over 1 million dollars ... Congratulations to event organizers, walkers, sponsors and supporters all!!!

"1 out of every 110 children will be diagnosed with autism. 1 in 70 boys. We need to find out why. We need to find ways to better treat autism and support families. Help us find the answers!"

Sunny skies are predicted for tomorrow's WALK NOW FOR AUTISM SPEAKS event at Nathan Phillips Square. Time still remains to support TEAM LUKAS in their efforts to raise awareness and revenue for this important but underfunded area of research.

To make a contribution, small or large, please click on the donate link below:


Friday, 11 June 2010

Civic participation at the Mennonite New Life Centre

I was delighted to speak this evening on day one of MNLTC's three day course on civic participation and community engagement. Following a day of learning about the Canadian Political System, and the upcoming municipal elections in Scarborough, newcomers listened to Councillor Kelly and I each give a presentation of our perspectives on municipal government and some of the issues at stake for new immigrants in this year's election.

Many thanks are in order to Ye Xia, Adriana Salazar, and the whole team at the Mennonite New Life Centre for organizing the course, for providing us with an opportunity to share our thoughts with new members of the community, and for offering this timely introduction to civics and the election process for all participants.

I look forward to seeing all in attendance out on the campaign trail soon!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Meeting on future use of Timothy Eaton school

Last week, a meeting was held at the St Paul's L'Amoreaux Centre to give Trustee Wong and Councillor Kelly feedback on whether or not the school building and surrounding green space should be sold or leased, and for what purpose. While there were not a lot in attendance, a spirited discussion was had on this issue that all of us are anxious about. Frustrations were expressed as people didn't feel as if the community was given a proper chance to be consulted, given that this meeting was occurring just one week before an important vote. Condo owners and building tenants spoke of additional frustration from not receiving the invitation flyers in their mailboxes like everyone else, and those who knew about it had to rely on word of mouth to get there.

A few highlights from the agenda ...

- There are two properties at stake: The building itself, and the large green space surrounding it (12.3 acre lot in total)

- This coming Wed, May 26, the trustees will decide to either put the property up for sale, or for lease. The room was strongly in favour of leasing the property and not selling it.

- The notion of a high rise development was flatly rejected. The room was strongly in favour of using the building to house needed community services

- Consensus was not reached on what to do with the large green space. Trustee Wong indicated that the TDSB would want to sell a portion of the land to raise money. City staff and Councillor Kelly stated any development would be low lying (1-4 stories high)

- Frustrations were expressed at the process with how the Toronto Lands Corp accepts offers. After the trustees vote, the Toronto Lands Corp will accept proposals for 90 days from a preferred list of institutions. What this means is that if the City (& the community) wants services in that space, the other school boards, post secondary institutions, and the Province must all first take a pass. For a detailed description of the process, please CLICK HERE

For all interested in the upcoming TDSB discussion on this and other issues - the next TDSB meeting is this Wed May 26 at 7pm, and you can watch it live right from your computer, by clicking: TDSB LIVE

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Jane's Walk in Dorset Park

The "Dorset Park Discovery Walk" was the theme of this past Saturday's Jane's walk.

Organized by the local Action for Neighbourhood Change(ANC)office, it was a lovely walk with family, residents and guests as we learned from newcomers, seniors, and the Dorset Park Youth Council about what day to day life in the community, the history of its development since the dairy farms of the 1940's, and some of the changes we'd like to make a reality sometime soon!

A few pics for the album ...

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Better Ballots

The Better Ballots initiative for electoral reform wraps up tonight with its last of four town halls across Toronto. What’s great about this effort is that they are not pushing any one single idea, but are educating Torontonians on a range of practical (tested and working in other cities) ideas for how to improve civic engagement and voter turnout. And then it’s up to us to carry the conversation forward, get involved with the ideas that we think are best, and work our butts off to get one or two improvements passed and in place for 2014!

So here are the 14 Better Ballot ideas currently being discussed (click on the image to make it bigger). Some I’m quite familiar with, others not as much – but I’ve checked off where I currently stand beside each of the ideas being discussed. These are my Better Ballots ... what are yours?


For more information on the Better Ballots initiative, detailed descriptions of each idea, and next steps in this campaign for electoral reform, please visit

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

From town hall to town hall

I’ve been to two town halls in two days, and going to another tonight.

Comparing the Let’s Talk event with TTC riders & workers to The Scarborough Hospital town hall is an interesting study in process.

Sunday’s Let’s Talk event was big, had the resources to promote it well, and post town hall news coverage in all the major networks and papers was just about guaranteed. And the turnout was a couple hundred strong, although a solid half the room were journalists, bloggers, candidates or campaign staff of some kind. But while a lot of good issues were shared and covered, the theme that permeated the whole event was how much customer service is a system-wide issue and that a more meaningful exchange would have been possible had all levels of the TTC been represented on the panel. As an evaluator, my favourite recommendation was by a woman named Vanesse, who said that we should use this as a starting point and come together a year from now to monitor what (if any) improvements have been made. I’ll endorse that plan wholeheartedly, with the suggestion that we all spend some time nudging both the union and the management to share a stage and take our questions together.

Monday’s Scarborough Hospital event was of a different nature entirely. Minimal PR budget; no enraged residents driving the conversation; smaller audience; part of a more traditional strategic planning process. It’s the process that’s worthy of mention, in that this was clearly one step in a well thought out plan to engage a community around a goal. Indeed, no need is the suggestion of a follow up town hall required – they’re already planning one for next year after a series of additional engagement opportunities, accountabilities and benchmarks along the way. As a member of the public, I didn’t learn as much from the other side as I did at Let’s Talk, but connected with some committed people and left confident that this was part of a process where an actual change was going to be made and that a year from now it’ll look a lot different.

Now let’s see what Dave Meslin has in store for us tonight with Better Ballots ... I can’t wait!


Monday, 12 April 2010

Remembering Terry Fox

April 12th, 1980, exactly thirty years ago. I was less than one year old when Terry Fox dipped his leg into the Atlantic before departing St John’s for his marathon of hope. I was too young to follow his journey, I didn’t watch his famous double hop-step every Kilometre on TV, and I don’t have the images of his youthful energy and passion entrenched in my psyche like so many Canadians.

But I remain in awe of him in more ways than one. As a runner who once spent seven months training for a single marathon, I am dumbfounded by what this 22 year old was able to accomplish every day for 143 days. As a public health advocate, I have seen how his legacy has left a pioneering mark on cancer research that will continue to help so many in need for generations. As a human, his spirit and story is as inspiring as any I have every heard.

In honour of this 30th anniversary, the Terry Fox foundation is planning remembrances on the every one of the 143 days that he ran. If you happen to have memories or reflections on Terry (including dates if possible!) please share them with the foundation at

If you don’t, then sometime between now and June, try and take a few minutes and google Terry, the marathon of hope and its continued legacy – and you just might learn that he has impacted you too.


Saturday, 10 April 2010

A Food Strategy for Toronto

Dear Friends

From loving to eat, to needing to eat, affording to eat, and choosing how and what to eat – food is an undeniable pillar of our health, our cultures, and our communities. On a broader scale, the systems, jobs and education that go in to supporting how and what we eat are inextricably linked to the health, environment and prosperity of our city.

In taking a hard look at the Toronto we have, and in imagining the Toronto we want, a city-wide Food Strategy has been under development by a passionate ensemble of hard working individuals and groups. Recently endorsed by our Board of Health, the strategy project will be going to City Council this summer, and Toronto Food Connections is looking for all of our ideas on how best to shape the specific recommendations it will make.

A consultation report is available at , and calls for an initial focus on 6 priority areas:

1. Have high quality and culturally appropriate food options accessible in every neighbourhood
2. Eliminate hunger and reduce the one in ten Toronto households who cannot regularely afford enough nutritious food for their family
3. Empower residents with food skills and information, so that it is easy to learn about where food comes from, and to know how to cook and shop for healthy and affordable meals
4. Making Food and its systems and jobs a cornerstone of Toronto’s new green economy
5. Connecting our city and countryside, so that the GTA’s world class agricultural land and the cities it surrounds can grow in tandem and support each other
6. Embed food system thinking in city government, and help our leaders understand how improving our food systems from farm to fork, can help meet Toronto’s larger goals of being a city that is healthy, prosperous, and green.

As the specific plans on how to achieve these goals are under development – this is the time for all of us to weigh in and ensure that all geographic, demographic, economic, and cultural perspectives are appropriately considered. If you have a few moments, please take the time to review the report and/or send your questions or thoughts on the food issues most important to you and your communities to:

This is an exciting initiative for Toronto – let’s help our leaders get it right!

Local Health Committee member

Friday, 12 March 2010

LIBERATION OF OUR GENERATION: Expressions of Toronto Youth Artists


Are you a youth interested in showing your visual or performance art in a youth exhibit?

We are accepting submissions for our 2010 art show. The deadline to submit is March 15th. Contact us for more info.

For any questions about the gallery, art submissions or performing at our opening event:

sharon @ 416.482.0081 X249
Tara @ 416.482.0081 x236

**Our upcoming exhibit LIBERATION OF OUR GENERATION: Expressions of Toronto Youth Artists is Opening on Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at 40 Orchard View Blvd. This event is free of charge and open to the public!**

The Delisle Youth Gallery was created for the purpose of giving youth a space to express their voices through any form of art and share them with them with the community. We aim to build community awareness and acceptance of youth and youth issues and to foster, recognize and showcase personal strengths and diversity amongst Toronto's youth community.

The Delisle Youth Gallery is a youth-driven initiative and accepts art of any type or medium from all Toronto youth aged 13-19.