Sherbourne Health Centre: Mosaic News - Fall/Winter 2018 Edition

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Fall/Winter 2018

Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of Mosaic News, Sherbourne Health Centre’s newsletter. Subscribe to receive biannual updates on our diverse programs and services.

Sherbourne named ‘2017 Family Practice of the Year’! Big news for Sherbourne! We’re excited to announce that Sherbourne has been named ‘2017 Family Practice of the Year’ by the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP). This coveted award celebrates the accomplishments and hard work of members of a family practice in delivering comprehensive services and continuity of care to clients, and making meaningful contributions to the health and well-being of its communities. (Continued on page 2)

In this issue 2

Sherbourne’s Family Practice award / Strategic plan creation


SOY goes out-of-province / Safety & services for refugees


The Infirmary turns 10 & gets a new name

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Our new Health Bus arrives! Volunteer spotlight / SOY hosts its 18th Bowlathon


Pie campaign flourishes again / Donating over the holidays


Co-piloting a healthy cooking program


A client-led needs assessment / WINK breast cancer screening


Parenting Network’s new team/ Focus groups for trans clients

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Trans health care at Sherbourne Cervical cancer promo in St. James Town / Looking ahead

A note from the President & CEO... “Winter greetings! As we prepare for the crisp air and frosty months ahead, we also take time to reflect on the spectacular year we’ve had. In this issue, you’ll see it’s been an exciting time at Sherbourne, with pivotal milestones like ARC’s 10th anniversary and the launch of our new Health Bus. We’ve also driven initiatives to support harm reduction, cancer prevention, and newcomer and trans health, just to name a few. Underscoring these efforts , we’ve been named Family Practice of the Year’ by the OCFP – the perfect way to mark the end of another rewarding year of hard work. With a new strategic plan in the works, we’re all set for a bright and hopeful 2018!” – Hazelle Palmer, President & CEO, Sherbourne Health Centre

Sherbourne’s ‘Family Practice of the Year’ Award continued... The big announcement came during Family Doctor Week in Canada, which celebrates the role of family physicians in keeping Canadians healthy. “We’re thrilled by this great honour,” says Laura Pripstein, Medical Director at Sherbourne. “It’s a true testament to our primary care team’s ability to work across populations and programs, and support, influence and collaborate with every area of Sherbourne.” Sherbourne’s nomination was submitted in March for the ‘large practice’ category of six or more physicians. Our interdisciplinary primary care team is recognized for its healthcare leadership in medical and nursing care, chronic disease management, mental health, community support, health promotion,

outreach, nutrition, and administration. This award, which Sherbourne received at the November 23rd 2017 OCFP Honours & Awards event, also highlights our commitment to learning and teamwork. We work hard to be culturally competent and practice from an anti-racism, anti-oppression framework that is respectful and ‘queer-positive.’ We collaborate with staff and community partners to create programs, services and outreach that are tailored to the needs of our clients. “I’m so proud of all our staff and what they bring to their work every day,” says Hazelle Palmer, Sherbourne’s President & CEO. “This award is for everyone at Sherbourne, and shows how our dedicated providers are at the very heart of our primary care team.”

Sherbourne builds next Strategic Plan Sherbourne’s strategic planning process is well underway. Over the summer, clients across all Sherbourne programs and services participated in a survey and focus groups to tell us what we do well, and where we could do more to meet their needs. Our staff, volunteers and funders also gave extensive feedback through surveys, interviews and working sessions. The new plan will build on the strengths we have developed in our first 15 years, to stay relevant and help our clients shape their path to wellness as our neighbourhood


changes. The plan, along with refreshed values statements, will be launched at our Annual General Meeting in summer 2018.

This summer, an online survey and Client Engagement Forum solicited client feedback on Sherbourne’s current and future states.

SOY goes out-of-province

Express gains leadership skills at Winnipeg youth conference SOY’s Express group is a weekly drop-in for LGBTQ newcomer, immigrant and refugee youth. During the year, several youth from Express engaged in leadership roles through other activities outside the drop-in such as their annual bake sale for SOY’s Bowlathon, and in this case, a trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba to attend the Youth Action Gathering (YAG) organized by the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Youth Network in April. Six youth spent a few days with nearly 200 other newcomer youth from across Canada, learning about issues affecting newcomer, immigrant and refugee youth, sharing their own experiences of being LGBTQ and newcomers, and connecting with many LGBTQ newcomer youth from other provinces. Youth learned about the concept of Indigenous solidarity as a necessary part of being settlers in Canada. Two of the youth also co-facilitated

SOY Express takes a tour and the group stops to strike a pose in front of the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

a positive spaces workshop. This was all complemented with sightseeing around Winnipeg and being invited to a potluck by Winnipeg’s own LGBTQ newcomer program.

Refugees find safety & services at Sherbourne This year, the world has been shocked by reports of severe persecution of LGBTQ people in the region of Eastern Europe, including apparent imprisonment and torture of gay men. It was widely reported in the media that our Government intervened to bring individuals from that region to Canada and out of harms way ... But have you ever wondered, when refugees arrive in Toronto, what happens next? Sherbourne supports newcomers to Canada who are often fleeing dangerous situations like natural disaster in Nepal, the war in Syria, or human rights abuses. Our health services, alongside programs like SOY Express, respond to ‘waves’ of newcomers from all over the world when they land in downtown Toronto, providing accessible, culturally sensitive care and supports. In this case, our LGBTQ

health team organized a special welcome and intake day for twenty refugees, with Russian language interpreters, to provide a safe, welcoming space for our new community members to attend to their health and settlement needs. Says Carolina Berinstein, Sherbourne’s Director of LGBTQ Health, “News stories draw attention to certain refugee situations, and a lot of people are moved to wonder how they can support LGBTQ refugees after they land in Toronto. We see many LGBTQ individuals from places in the world where persecution and maltreatment have taken a toll on their health. Our clinical services and groups like SOY Express strive to recognize the intersections of a person’s LGBTQ identity and place of origin, while supporting them to achieve their health goals.”


The Infirmary turns 10 – & gets a new name!

[From left] ARC staff Henry Ramnath and student Gabriella Joyette greet guests at the gift table; ARC Program Director Melanie Oda addresses the crowd with opening remarks; ARC staff Stacy Harris and Nicola Lee enjoy the festivities with event guests.

On May 31st, Sherbourne held an Open House Event to celebrate the Infirmary’s 10-year anniversary. To mark this milestone, the program also relaunched with a fresh, new name: Acute Respite Care (ARC).

Melanie Oda, ARC Program Director. “We created a service delivery model that really supports the complex needs of our clients, including trans people in Ontario, so they can have a successful recovery in the community.”

ARC offers 24/7 care to individuals who are homeless, under-housed or socially isolated, and in need of a safe place to recuperate from an acute medical condition, illness, injury or surgery. The new name ‘ARC’ distinctly signifies what the program offers to our clients, and reflects its values of hope and a journey toward recovery.

Other highlights included a mix & mingle, remarks and recognition, an open-floor for Q&A, and a cake cutting. Just like ARC, the event welcomed a dynamic, diverse community through its doors, marking an exceptional day of celebration.

The Open House was themed “Growing together from the roots of our past,” and brought together over 75 guests, including clients, community members, service partners, agencies, donors, volunteers and staff to celebrate ARC’s unique service. Guests embraced the opportunity to learn more about ARC’s philosophy of care, which focuses on medical care, as well as critical social determinants of health that impact people’s well-being. The program’s evolution and impact was honoured through a retrospective timeline and a photovoice display featuring clients and staff. Attendees also enjoyed guided tours, including ARC’s new care space for people recovering from transition-related surgery (TRS). “We’ve increased our capacity to provide focused services for specific clients,” says


Acute Respite Care or “ARC” embodies the program’s interim care model, acting as part of a greater whole. The arc reflects the collaborative effort at the centre of our programming. While the keystone of an arch must be strong to support the arc, it cannot do its job if the other sections are not in place. This is also the case with the care we provide, the success of which depends on community supports and a client’s commitment and willingness to work towards their desired outcomes while staying at ARC.

Sherbourne’s new Health Bus arrives! With new stops & services rolled out in November

[From left] Members of Sherbourne’s management and Board, Rotarians and Councillor Wong-Tam launch the Health Bus with an official ribbon cutting; The Health Bus is unveiled; Program Director Chantel Marshall and physician Erin Rogers demo medical equipment onboard the bus.

On September 14, 2017, Sherbourne Health Centre hosted a special event to celebrate the evolution and relaunch of the Health Bus program, and mark the arrival of our brand new, third-generation The Rotary Club of Toronto Health Bus! With over 10,000 client visits each year, the Health Bus has been serving the health and wellness needs of our local Toronto neighbourhoods for over 20 years. To honour the program’s legacy and unveil the new vehicle, Sherbourne welcomed over 100 guests from The Rotary Club of Toronto and its Charitable Foundation, Sherbourne clients, staff, volunteers, donors, community members and supporters to celebrate with us. Special guest speakers included Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam of Ward 27 and Peter Love, President of the Rotary of Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation, both of whom highlighted the impact of the Health Bus as a critical health resource in the city. Attendees enjoyed fantastic weather, tours of the new bus, music and refreshments, an information table, and a video highlighting the Health Bus’s evolution throughout its 20+ years of service. Thanks to everyone who joined us to help celebrate this momentous milestone and the ongoing success of our Health Bus program!

On the streets this November The new Health Bus officially hit the roads this November, supporting homeless, under-housed and other individuals who face barriers to accessing health care. An interdisciplinary team comprising a nurse practitioner, mental health counsellor, program workers, and other specialized health and service providers have been working hard to deliver expanded services to clients at coordinated stops. While working with local agencies to ensure it meets the needs of the surrounding community, the Health Bus made its first stop on November 8th at Maggie’s, a sex workers support service, to chat and connect with clients. Additional stops also took place at Maxwell Meighen, a homeless men’s shelter, and St. Felix Centre, a downtown multiservice community centre. Integrated care on the Health Bus focuses on primary care, mental health support, health education, screening and referrals. This includes the treatment and monitoring of illnesses, HIV, STI and Hep C testing, harm reduction supplies and overdose prevention, diabetes education and screening, counselling, and referrals to community supports – all vital services to ensuring we continue to bring care directly to our clients and community.


Volunteer Spotlight

Christine has been a dedicated Sherbourne volunteer for seven years. Twice a week, for two hours each day, she supports our Health Bus program by putting together harm reduction kits, including safer injecting and smoking kits. Prior to volunteering at Sherbourne, Christine was living with Hepatitis C and constantly tired due to the medication she was taking to treat her condition: “At home, I used to just sit there and have no energy because of my Hep C medication. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. Volunteering at Sherbourne gave me another purpose. I got my energy back.” After hearing of Sherbourne from friends, and through her motivation to leave the house and get active, Christine decided to get involved. She continues to stay committed to her work: “I volunteer here because it gives me experience, and helping others is very important. Also, the staff here don’t shove you to the side when you have a problem. They listen to what you have to say, and give you advice.”

Christine Health Bus Volunteer

In addition to gaining more energy, Christine’s volunteer time at Sherbourne has brought additional health benefits. Two years ago, Christine got connected to Sherbourne’s Hep C program and she is now cleared of Hep C. Says Christine, “Volunteering at Sherbourne is important to me. It’s changed my whole life.”

Bowlers ‘Strike it up for SOY!’ Participants hit the lanes at SOY’s 18th annual Bowlathon Saturday, October 21st was another huge success and a glorious day! Supporting Our Youth (SOY) staff, family, friends and community took to the lanes at Bowlerama West to ‘Strike it Up for SOY’ and raise funds at this year’s SOY Bowlathon 18. With the help of event-goers and SOY’s community, the Bowlathon raised a total of $30,000! With 18 teams lined up, participants exercised their bowling skills with some friendly competition, and grooved to musical beats under the sparkling disco lights. Bowlers also enjoyed a lunch buffet, photo booth and a host of awards and prizes, including best costume, most creative team name, and a team spirit award to recognize the hard work and enthusiasm of everyone’s fundraising efforts. A huge thank you to our community, staff, youth and workplace teams, and event sponsors for your dedication towards SOY and the health and well-being of LGBTQ youth in our community!

Did you know…


Bowlers “have a ball” at the SOY photobooth and let loose on the lanes at Bowlerama West.

Flourishing pie campaign offers a ‘sweet course’ for the fall dinner table pumpkin-pecan pies were beautifully baked, packaged and sold with love at Sherbourne and MTCC. And the results were tremendous! Sales doubled from last year, raising a total of over $8500!

The MTCC pastry team, Enterprise CarShare and Deloitte Canada donate their time and skills to sell pies for Give Thanks, With Love.

On Friday, October 6th, Sherbourne held its 2nd annual Give Thanks, With Love pie campaign in support of SOY’s Monday Night Drop-In for homeless and under-housed LGBTQ youth. In partnership with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), 350 tasty apple-

The campaign’s success was a huge team effort: The MTCC pastry team began filling pie orders at 3 am on Friday morning to ensure the tasty treats were ready to be picked up that day. With the help of Enterprise CarShare, the pies arrived at Sherbourne fresh and steaming out of the boxes! Our trusty, energetic Deloitte Canada volunteers also assisted in selling and handing out pies throughout the day. Thank you to MTCC, Enterprise CarShare and Deloitte Canada for donating your valuable time and skills towards Give Thanks, With Love, and to our campaign supporters for generously showing your love of our youth community!

It’s the season of giving! Can’t think of the perfect gift this holiday season? Well ... we have one for you! Make a donation to Sherbourne to honour an important person in your life. When you make a Tribute Gift online, you can send a personalized card letting your loved one know that you have made a gift in their honour. Your special person will be so touched to know that instead of a new pair of slippers or gift card to the mall, their present will have a much larger impact. A donation this holiday season truly makes a difference. The clients that we serve face very serious challenges and barriers in accessing health services – we strive to provide support to meet the many needs of our clients so that they can thrive and grow. You can help! Make a Tribute Gift or other donation at:

“The donors have definitely invested wisely. If it wasn’t for ARC, a lot of us would still be lost, and may not even be alive.”

“The care I received at ARC was topnotch. I want people to know that if they want a place like Sherbourne to stick around and keep offering topnotch care, then please think about giving a donation.”

Acute Respite Care (ARC) Clients Sherbourne Health Centre


Healthy Eating is a Skill for Life Sherbourne co-pilots new healthy cooking program for newcomer youth In August, Sherbourne piloted a new healthy cooking program with Sojourn House, a neighbouring organization that provides emergency shelter and transitional housing services to newly arrived refugees. Stephen Conroy, a youth social worker with Sojourn House, approached Sherbourne because he was looking for leadership and support around healthy eating education as part of Sojourn House’s Skills for Life program.

[From left] Collins from Uganda and Mohamed from Tanzania serve salad and chickpea burgers on whole wheat buns with tahini yogurt dressing.

It’s very common for healthy eating to fall low on the priority list, especially when faced with the hurdles that come with leaving your home country. It’s important to show the youth that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, expensive or complicated. The aim is for them to feel more empowered to prepare simple, healthy and tasty meals own their own.” Christina Tran Community Dietitian Newcomer Health Team at Sherbourne “Before our partnership, many of the youth were spending more money on take out foods than they would have liked,” says Stephen. “This was a concern because they do not have a lot of money and the majority of the foods they were buying were unhealthy.”

took part in four weekly sessions to learn basic concepts such as the healthy plate model and budget-friendly recipes. The open-style facilitation helped foster a “togetherness” that allowed youth to participate without feeling embarrassed if they lacked particular skills.

With guidance from Christina Tran, Community Dietitian on Sherbourne’s Newcomer Health Team, a tailored program was developed that focused on building the knowledge, skills and confidence of newcomer youth in healthy eating and food preparation.

After completing the program, the youth felt more confident in trying new things in the kitchen, cooking together in their units and ordering in less. The future goal is to have all youth in the Skills for Life program attend four weekly sessions with Sherbourne’s community dietitian.

“Many of the youth at Sojourn House arrive alone, without family or social supports,” says Christina. “I was grateful for the opportunity to teach the youth some basic healthy eating knowledge and skills that they can utilize as they transition to independent living.” The pilot group included 6 youth from Syria, Eritrea, Yemen and Azerbaijan. Participants


Says Stephen: “This pilot project has helped create inclusiveness for the youth to build friendships and share in the learning process, while gaining the necessary skills of both nutrition and food preparation.We are very happy with the start of the partnered program and we hope to continue building on its success.”

Clients lead community-based needs assessment Sherbourne and St. James Town Community Corner (“The Corner”) have had growing requests by clients and local residents for harm reduction services and programming. Through a Toronto Urban Health Fund grant, Sherbourne launched Project Capacity, a needs assessment designed to gain client input about the harm reduction needs of priority groups who access services at Sherbourne and The Corner. The project was led by Sherbourne clients, who were selected through staff nominations, an open job call and an interview process. The team of four Community Assessors and one Peer Lead ran focus groups and surveys from December 2016-May 2017. A staff program coordinator also managed leadership training and data collection and analysis. The team interviewed a diverse group of clients, including newcomers, women, youth, men who have sex with men, and Indigenous,

Two-Spirited and LGBTQ people, to help assess gaps in services that address the risks associated with substance use. There were 46 focus group and 50 survey respondents in total. Community Assessors presented findings and recommendations to staff and clients, including increasing distribution and visibility of safer drug use and Naloxone kits; increasing harm reduction and overdose training for staff; and expanding community outreach. While Project Capacity has helped to inform a consistent harm reduction approach across our programs and services, it has also proven valuable for client and community engagement. As one Community Assessor noted, “We shared the space and shared the air.” This positive experience allowed clients, as leaders and participants, the opportunity to collaborate on critical work in an equitable, open environment.

Breast cancer screening for WINK participants Sherbourne’s Women in Need ‘Klinik’ (WINK) provides health services and support to some of Toronto’s most marginalized homeless and street-involved women in a weekly health clinic and breakfast drop-in. Due to significant health access barriers, such as inequities in access, discrimination in healthcare settings, and putting food and shelter needs before

[From left] Sherbourne’s Urban Health Team members Erin MacMillan, Lisa Norton, a WINK client, Medical Director Laura Pripstein & Linda Hazard participated in the WINK Mammogram Group Visit.

health concerns, many WINK members had not been actively screened for breast cancer. In collaboration with St. Michael’s Hospital, the WINK team arranged two group mammogram appointments on July 7th and 14th. For each visit, the WINK participants enjoyed lunch at Sherbourne, and watched a video on the importance of breast screening and what to expect during the mammogram. The group then travelled to the hospital together, accompanied by the WINK physician, nurse and mental health counsellor to help provide intensive support and a less intimidating experience. Mental health services were available to discuss the screening results and any related concerns. In total, 11 women were screened for cancer. Malignant cells were found in one woman and surgery was immediately booked, increasing her chances for a successful outcome.


New team and a new direction at the LGBTQ Parenting Network We would like to welcome Aruna Boodram and Charles Little to our team at the LGBTQ Parenting Network! They are facilitating a Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (QTBIPOC) consultation and program assessment by and for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Aruna is a graduate and current facilitator of the Queer & Trans Family Planning Weekend and upcoming Mommies & Mamas 2B courses. She is a Paralegal at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario and community organizer. She is also a consultant and facilitator specializing in anti-oppression, consensus, facilitation and strategic planning.

He is a foster parent and is passionate about working with families experiencing intersecting oppressions.

Charles is a graduate and current facilitator of the Daddies & Papas 2B and Queer & Trans Family Planning Weekend Intensive courses. He was a placement student at SOY from Sheridan’s Social Service Worker Program.

The QTBIPOC project kicks off in November and will run throughout summer 2018 to work with communities and implement recommendations. For more information contact

[From left] Charles and Aruna spend time preparing for their consultation session in Sherbourne’s LGBTQ Parenting Network.

Focus groups provide insight into safe spaces for trans clients From July 11-17, Sherbourne partnered with the Trans Health Expansion Working Group to coordinate a series of three focus groups for trans feminine, trans masculine and gender diverse service users.

identified several general themes for review, including: ideas for new programs and services, client engagement and advocacy, program awareness and education, and feedback on Sherbourne policies.

The primary goal was to build a safe space for clients to share aspects of their physical transition and mental health and well-being needs for providers to consider for service delivery and program implementation. This also provided an opportunity for Sherbourne to check in on the progress of our ongoing work to expand trans health services for clients.

An evaluation report was presented to Sherbourne’s Trans Health Expansion Working Group, and future key recommendations will be presented to departments and teams across Sherbourne’s community.

About 30 participants came to the three sessions. The data analysis and feedback


Thank you for everyone’s time and commitment on this project – most notably our trans feminine, trans masculine and gender diverse service users, who generously gave their time and lent their voices to this important work.

Trans health care at Sherbourne Sherbourne’s services for trans and gender-diverse communities start at home in Toronto and extend across the province with partnerships like Ontario’s Trans Health Expansion and the work of our community health promotion programs, like Rainbow Health Ontario.

Sherbourne welcomes Toronto Trans Coalition Project

Update on Ontario’s Trans Health Expansion

We’re pleased to welcome the Toronto Trans Coalition Project (TTCP) to their new office space provided by Sherbourne. The TTCP will be continuing their work to improve social determinants of health for trans and genderdiverse communities.

The Trans Health Expansion (THEx) is Ontario’s partnership between Sherbourne Health Centre, including Rainbow Health Ontario, and Women’s College Hospital and the Centre for Additional and Mental Health to improve access to transition-related surgeries in Ontario.

TRS surgical summary sheets now available Sherbourne clinicians created TRS Surgical Summary Sheets to facilitate discussion about TRS between primary care providers and patients.

These are now available at www.rainbow, and cover 8 different procedures: breast augmentation, chest reconstruction, clitoral release, hysterectomy and BSO, metoidioplasty, orchiectomy, phalloplasty and vaginoplasty.

Earlier this year, the THEx released the Transition-Related Surgery (TRS) FAQ, a resource document for clients and providers that has already been downloaded over 400 times. Intended for persons considering TRS in Ontario and their supporters, the TRS FAQ is a guide to the assessment and referral process for Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Approval for OHIP funding. More recently, the THEx presented at the October 2017 Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health Conference, where a community member who is part of a project committee joined representatives from each partner organization to speak about the THEx’s work and progress to date. Attendees shared their thoughts on the opportunities and challenges of building a public hospital system TRS program.


Peers, paps & health promotion Raising awareness about cervical cancer in St. James Town

Nepali-speaking Health Ambassador Laxmi facilitates a workshop in Nepali.

This spring, the Newcomer Health Team implemented a community-based approach to raise awareness of the importance of cervical cancer screening and prevention in the St. James Town community among newcomer women. Guided by our Health Promotion Specialist, nine newcomers participated in training workshops on cervical cancer screening, prevention and outreach. Four were selected as Health Ambassadors who represented communities with lower screening rates and relevant linguistic capacity.

The ambassadors facilitated group education discussions in their respective languages with St. James Town residents. From April to July, ambassadors held 10 group discussions with 130 individuals. Residents said these sessions reduced fears about pap tests and cervical cancer, clarified misconceptions and improved their understanding of risk factors. Many participants who had never been screened before said that they were now motivated to get their pap test. Many were also inspired to “spread the information to others” and “tell new friends about where to go for a pap test.” In the fall, three low-barrier pap clinics were offered to these participants and others at Sherbourne and The Corner in St. James Town. Client feedback showed that the provision of childcare, flexible clinic hours including evenings and weekends, and friendly, language-based support from the Health Ambassadors all created easier access to the clinics and positively impacted clients’ experiences. Thanks to CIBC for funding this initiative and other cancer support projects at Sherbourne.

Looking ahead

“This initiative involves peer-based education and outreach, which are effective strategies in promoting health. Peers have a deeper knowledge of the cultural contexts, understand the challenges with re-settlement for newcomers, and people trust them.” Sehr Athar Health Promotion and Systems Specialist at Sherbourne Health Centre

Looking ahead Sherbourne will once again be participating in Raising the Roof’s toque campaign, launching December 4th! On Toque Tuesday, February 6th, we’ll be selling mittens, caps and newly designed toques in Toronto subway stations

Have feedback? We love hearing from you! Email

to raise funds for Sherbourne’s programs and services that support homeless people, including LGBTQ youth. To buy items or volunteer for Toque Tuesday, contact Catherine at

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