On June 26, we released Metcalf’s 2012-2013 biennial report. It describes issues that concern us and ideas that excite us, and outlines the many ways we hope to continue to make a meaningful contribution. (Photo above, from report, by Chris Thomaidis.)

Much of the remarkable work done by our friends and collaborators passes with little attention or fanfare. As we put together this newsletter, we were delighted to be able to highlight a number of exceptions to that rule. I hope you enjoy reading it. I also invite you to download our new biennial report which contains many stories about individuals and organizations pursuing ambitious thinking and audacious goals. And as always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

— Sandy Houston, President and CEO



Moving ideas to action, promise to practice, and communities to collaboration. That’s the theme of our 2012-2013 biennial report. It’s a reflection of what we’ve been focusing on and what we’ve learned over the past two years. It highlights stories about many extraordinary organizations and talented people. Please have a look and let us know what you think.


Metcalf paper impacts migrant workers' issues

Metcalf Innovation Fellow Fay Faraday’s report, Profiting from the Precarious, examines migrant workers’ experiences and analyses whether the existing legal model can adequately protect low-wage migrant workers against recruitment abuse. With Ontario having tabled legislation earlier this year to protect migrant workers, and the federal government announcing reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the paper is providing insightful and timely context to a complex issue.


Creative Strategies Incubator's second learning network

The 2014 focus issue for our Creative Strategies Incubator’s learning network is engaging audiences and building communities. The learning network held its inaugural roundtable in early June. We invite you to read about the participants and their initiatives at Stories from the Inc.

Advisors receive prestigious awards

Congratulations are in order for three Metcalf advisors. Philip Akin, from our Performing Arts Internships advisory committee, was awarded the William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life. From our Creative Strategies Incubator advisory committee, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts awarded Meredith Potter the Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for excellence in arts adminstration, and Chris Lorway received the John Hobday Award in arts management from the Canada Council of the Arts.

Photo by Chloe Ellingson

Congratulations Sabina Ali

The Jane Jacobs Prize is awarded to Torontonians who embody a passion for city building. This year the award went to Sabina Ali, a Metcalf Resilient Neighbourhoods partner and chair of the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee. Her work has helped transform the R.V. Burgess Park into a community hub with a vegetable garden, tandoor oven, weekly bazaar, new landscaping, and a refurbished splash pad.


Canada Day Toronto Star feature on visionary Canadians includes:

Nick Saul — food activist, former head of The Stop, president of Community Food Centres Canada, and long-term Metcalf grantee. Nick discusses the link between food, community, and social justice. “We have millions of Canadians below the poverty line … We need to make enough noise that our politicians start to say, we’ve got to take these things seriously. We also need to move away from the idea of being consumers of food, to being citizens of food.”


Tanzeel Merchant — planner, architect, urban designer, and Metcalf advisor. Tanzeel talks about culture, identity, demographic shifts, and the environmental impact of our dependence on oil. “There’s a disconnect between the choices we’re making as Canadians and the expectations we have … We don’t like the oil sands but we still want to drive cars.” Tanzeel mentions creative ways to lower oil consumption and cleaner ways to extract oil.


People's parks

Former Metcalf Innovation Fellow Dave Harvey, whose paper Fertile Ground for New Thinking: Improving Toronto’s Parks led to the creation of Toronto Park People, has an intriguing article in Toronto Life. It provides a passionate look at Toronto’s parks and mentions Sabina Ali and R.V. Burgess Park (see item above).



Improving neighbourhood opportunities

Congratulations to Danforth East Community AssociationWoodGreen and Scadding Court. Their policy work has resulted in a Toronto City council decision to seek amendments to provincial legislation on the Vacant Commercial and Industrial Property Tax Rebate program. Amendments are designed to stimulate economic growth, job creation, and enhance local retail.


Jumblies opens new home

In March 2014, Jumblies Theatre officially opened their new home. Dubbed The Ground Floor, it’s a storefront in a Toronto Community Housing building in the midst of the new condo development CityPlace. The studio and office space was made available through the Toronto Arts Council’s Space for Art program, with the assistance of (then) City Councillor Adam Vaughan.


Carbon neutral neighbours

Congratulations to Project Neutral for being a Tides Top 10 winner. Their work to transition neighbourhoods to carbon neutrality is having a measurable impact. In just two years, 80% of participating households have reduced their carbon footprint by five tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This is the equivalent of taking one car off the road for each household.


Greening the grounds

This past spring, Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan conducted a design competition for the San Romanoway Towers Revival Project. When the competition began garnering attention from far and wide they decided to expand its scope through a crowdfunding site. The competition, called Greening the Grounds @ Jane + Finch, generated buzz not only locally but in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East.


Porch View Dances

Kaeja d’Dance returns to Seaton Village this summer with Porch View Dances — a festival in which neighbourhood families partner with professional choreographers to tell their stories through dance. The stories spill out from the front porches and gardens of their homes. It’s an exciting example of taking art directly to neighbourhoods and building new communities in experimental and meaningful ways.


Reinventing Growth grants

The 2014 Reinventing Growth grants have been awarded to: Everdale; Ontario Nature; Cornerstone Standards Council; North York Harvest Food Bank in collaboration with Toronto Urban Growers; and Toronto Environmental Alliance in collaboration with Environment Hamilton.


Opportunities Fund grants

The Inclusive Local Economies Program recently awarded Opportunities Fund grants to: ACCESS Community Capital Fund; The Dream Team in partnership with Houselink; Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development; Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council; and Danforth East Community Association in partnership with WoodGreen.


August 25, 2014

Renewal Program ~ Applications due

September 15, 2014

Inclusive Local Economics ~ Letters of Interest for the Opportunities Fund

October 27, 2014

Performing Arts ~ Applications due for Internships

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