Metcalf Story
50th Anniversary City-Building Grants Announced

Metcalf is 50 years old this year, and to mark this anniversary we have made a small number of special one-time grants designed to celebrate and strengthen our city.  Over its history, the Foundation has made sustained contributions to the vitality of our urban life, most recently by focusing our efforts on enhancing the vibrancy of the professional performing arts, addressing issues of poverty, and ensuring the ecological integrity of our natural and working lands.

Building on this tradition, and our long and close relationship with Toronto, we invited a small group of organizations to give us their best city-building idea.  We were and are interested in the potential inherent in unleashing ideas not possible under ordinary circumstances.  How “city building” was defined was entirely up to them, we asked only that each organization’s approach reflect their unique mission and contributions to our landscape.

We are delighted to announce the following four grants (totaling $852,000).  These special grants are in addition to the Foundation’s usual grant programs.  We are confident that these dynamic initiatives will advance Toronto as a vibrant, just, sustainable, and creative region.

East Scarborough Storefront, a partnership of residents, community groups, and social service agencies in the dynamic, low-income neighbourhood of Kingston Galloway Orton Park, will build an eco-food hub that will act as the foundation for a range of environmental and food-security focused initiatives.  With creative leadership from local youth, architects, and designers the Storefront’s building will be transformed resulting in, amongst other things, a commercial grade kitchen, composting systems, new green spaces, and a rainwater management and irrigation infrastructure.  The eco-hub will be a model of how linking economic justice, green issues, and food can contribute to community wellbeing, neighbourhood renewal, and a stronger urban fabric.

Theatre Passe Muraille will present an exciting slate of events designed to break down the walls between the theatre and its surrounding neighbourhood.  This city-building initiative is grounded in the belief that institutional arts organizations need to change the type of engagements that they have with audiences – going out into the community and building relationships with people who might not attend traditional theatre performances.  To this end, over an 18-month period, artists will create and perform work with the general public on the streets and community spaces around the theatre building, on public transit, in taxi cabs, walking and dancing down Queen West, and in many other locales.

Sustain Ontario, a province-wide, cross-sectoral alliance that promotes healthy food and farming, will undertake “Good Food Ideas to Feed a Hungry City,” an initiative aimed at engaging the broader public in a discussion about sustainable, socially just food systems.  Using social media strategies and locally based events, Sustain will advance a series of ideas about how Torontonians, in partnership with rural communities, can work together towards a food system that is healthy, ecological, equitable and financially viable.

Diaspora Dialogues Charitable Society, an organization that supports the creation and presentation of new fiction, poetry and drama that reflects the diversity of Toronto back to residents, will engage Torontonians in a conversation called “Deeper Dialogues,” a new series of art + ideas events that explore how to strengthen Toronto.  At the heart of the series will be a public consultation project with MASS LBP called Future City, in which a group of randomly selected Torontonians, in partnership with artists, curators, cultural commentators, and social justice advocates, will spend a year discussing and envisioning their ideal Toronto, culminating in a collaboratively-created art and performance installation.  Through a parallel series of moderated conversations and artistic presentations in partnership with the Literary Review of Canada, Luminato, Harbourfront Centre, Evergreen Brick Works, and others, these public events will explore the wide range of ways we can intertwine social justice, sustainability, and culture to create a more liveable city and world.

Media Coverage

Queen Street Diversity Celebrated in new Theatre Passe Muraille Project
The Globe and Mail, Ari Altstedter
December 9, 2010

Metcalf Foundation activities are continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our response here.