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BBLOORDALET IMES Neighbourhood news worth repeating

www.theblooordaletimes.wordpress.com

APRIL 2015 VOLUME 3 ISSUE 3

IMMINENT OVERPASS TRACK PROMPTS PUBLIC CONCERN BY CHELSEA ALPHONSO

chelseaalphonso5@gmail.com

Like it or lump it, Metrolinx says the Davenport Community Rail Overpass is happening. Tension was high at a public information meeting held at New Horizons Tower on April 1. Metrolinx and Bloordale residents came together at the request of the Bloor Improvement Group (BIG), and much was voiced as result. According to a letter sent out by Metrolinx to ten thousand households in the area, “Metrolinx…is planning to build an elevated rail corridor that follows the current GO Transit route between Bloor St. W. and Davenport Rd..” The Overpass is part of the Ontario Government’s promise to invest $15 billion to transit expansion in the GTHA. In creating this new railway, the “Davenport Diamond”, which is one of the busiest train track intersections in North America, will be removed to help alleviate conflicts in schedules between commuter and freight trains. Metrolinx hopes to contribute to a region-wide plan to alleviate road congestion by increasing commuter rail service. The GO service that currently runs in the morning and afternoons would have an increase frequency, running every 15 minutes. Manuel Pedrosa, the Manager of Community Relations, and

Elise Croll, the Director of Environmental Programs and Assessment at Metrolinx ensured community members that they “really want to do a much more robust process of engaging people [in the community].” The emotionally charged meeting was full of local residents and business owners who wanted answers. The process Metrolinx is undertaking for this project is one that they have never done before. They are making an effort to engage the community early on by way of meetings. Metrolinx also plans on eventually creating a Residents’ Reference Panel. Although the 36 member panel will not have any say in whether or not to go forward with the building of the bridge, they do have the opportunity to influence many aspects of the project including: the public use and space, design of the bridge, ensuring the space reflects the residential community it is in, ways to improve connectivity in all directions, the best ways to integrate this infrastructure into the community, how to ensure the space is safe and inviting as well as ideas for keeping the space active so people want to use it. Pedrosa ensured residents that this will be a “collaborative process.” But residents weren’t easily convinced. Local artist Richard Mongiat believes the process Metrolinx is undertaking is simply a public

Commuter trains just like this one will soon be passing over the neighbourhood on an elevated bridge. Photo courtesy Creative Commons

relations stint to get good media and get ahead of the negative response. Mongiat who was engaged in the process of consulting the public regarding the noise walls for the Georgetown line, said that very little of the communities’ ideas were implemented and he feels the process with this infrastructure will be no different. “I wish Metrolinx would pay more attention and actually do a true consultation with the residents in this neighborhood because this is going to affect us,” said Mongiat. Community members hesitant to put their trust in Metrolinx echoed Mongiat’s feelings throughout the meeting. Dyan Marie, a local artist and

founding member of BIG, has put forward five suggestions that will help mitigate the impact from the construction of the infrastructure. The suggestions include introducing a stop, keeping green space and endowment program for maintenance. But these are not the only issues pressing on residents’ mind. Community members voiced their concern with the issue of diesel trains being used and the pollution that would cause. While Marie is hopeful that a resolution can be met, she is firm that “there is nobody anywhere that wants this gigantic bridge.” Metrolinx will have the final names for the panel in the upcoming weeks with a public roundtable meeting held on May 12.

AN AREA FIVE YEARS IN THE MAKING BY EVAN PRESEMENT

presementevan@yahoo.com

As the fifth anniversary of the Junction Triangle Naming Project passes, the community is thriving and growing like never before. In 2009, community activist Kevin Putnam, along with some of the other local residents decided that the then nameless area needed a name. This idea gave birth to ‘Fuzzy Boundaries’, a project which allowed residents to vote on a number of names, many of which were submitted by locals themselves. “We recognized this as a community building exercise,” said Putnam. “A good place to start if you want to improve your neighborhood is to make sure it has a name that everyone can kind of grab on to. “You give it a name, people take ownership of a place that they identify with.” Putnam said that there were over 200 names that were submitted. Some of the entries included: The Rail District, East Junction, The Rail Path, The Wedge, Perth...

see FIVE YEARS page 2

INSIDE BLOORDALE VACANT STOREFRONTS TO BE FILLED A local residents’ group lobbies for pop-up shops in the ‘hood

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LOCAL RESIDENT TO HAVE IDEA AIRED ON NETWORK TV An opportunity to create the soundtrack of their lives

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PORTRAIT SERIES TO PROMOTE LOCAL BUSINESS Storefront owners on Dundas St. W. get an added push

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02 The Bloordale Times April 2015

News FIVE YEARS

from page 1

...Park, and a name that was associated with the area in the 1970’s but had since gone out of use – The Junction Triangle. “[The name] had been popularized by a group of residents who had been fighting environmental pollution from some of the factories,” Putnam said. “Once that group stopped their efforts, the name fell out of use.” With these suggestions in mind, voting was set up. Paper ballots and ballot boxes were set up around the area, while a place to vote online was created as well. It was important for the community to have a name that was theirs. “We wanted to get in front of property developers who impose some phony village name on the area,” said Putnam. “There’s enough phony villages in this city, we didn’t want to become another one. There’s a much higher buy-in if it’s resident led than you know, being imposed from some outside corporate interest.” In the end, the majority of the vote went to naming the area ‘The Junction Triangle’. From a geographical standpoint, the area is literally shaped like a triangle, sandwiched

between two sets of train tracks to the east and west and Dupont and Bloor streets to the north and south. In the five years that have passed since ‘Fuzzy Boundaries’, the community has actually started to make a name for itself. “There’s lots of new developments happening, there’s lots of new residents moving in… The neighborhood, with the help of social media, has really kind of come together.” Putnam said. He said that there are more community volunteers and active community groups than ever before, and believes that there’s something that “links us all together.” “The place has become friendlier, people know each other,” Putnam said. “it’s not uncommon to walk down the street and people just say hello to each other as you pass.” In the past, because it used to be an industrial neighborhood, Putnam said that the first thing you’d see or hear in the mornings would be trucks coming to pick up workers or people pushing carts full of scraps from the old scrapyard. “Most of that blue collar labor force is moving out of the neighborhood,” Putnam said. “It’s becoming much more of a neighborhood more than an industrial place.” Another benefit of living in the Junction

Triangle, Putnam said, is the opportunity to get into the housing market. “This is a neighborhood that’s on a subway line and close to good transit and shopping,” he said. “[the area] is still, relative to other houses, on the lower end of the market.” In terms of just plain old feel, the neighborhood has that down pat as well. “It’s always going to be a little rough around the edges,” Putnam said. “I think that still holds a lot of appeal to people.”

Over five years, the Junction Triangle has sustained growth while maintaining its rustic charm. Photos by Even Presement


The Bloordale Times April 2015

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News

BLOORDALE RESIDENTS’ GROUP LOOKS TO FILL EMPTY STOREFRONTS The Bloordale CIA, teamed up with city-wide cause Vacantful, is making meaningful strides toward filling up some of Bloor St.’s empty spaces BY DOMENIC LOSCHIAVO

domenic.loschiavo@hotmail.com

A group of local business owners and residents have teamed up with Vacantful, an online referral system that connects vacant marketable spaces with potential renters. A public meeting held in late March at Duffy’s Tavern covered a variety of topics and possible issues. Some of which included businesses looking to open up popup shops, grabbing real estate assistance to help the process, searching for spaces that are available to the group and notifying landlords of the idea of bringing popups to their location. Dan Milford-Warren member of the Bloordale Community Improvement Association (CIA)

said roles have been spread out throughout different members and it is now time to take action. “Gay Stephenson from Vacantful and Ghazaleh Etezal came and talked about their experience, said Milford-Warren. “We basically left off with basic knowledge of what could be done and determined that we would meet again in a month for a sort of next-step meeting.” The process has begun and the meeting became the first step toward a positive movement for the group and residents. “Now we’re just striking out on committees and find out if there is any business owners or property owners who are willing to let a young Andy business come in there for a couple of months, check it out, try it out, see if it’s profitable and then they can re-

negotiate for a market level rent,” said Milford-Warren.

“We want to support this community every which way. By allowing some people who perhaps don’t have larger budgets to fill these spaces, we’re trying to facilitate that deal.” Harrison Mazis Owner of Duffy’s Tavern A walk along the Bloordale strip will reveal a lot of vacant buildings and abandoned store units. Judy Land of the Bloordale CIA said the discussion of bringing popup shops to Bloordale began about a month and a half

ago and the first few steps of the process is underway. “We met with Vacantful and the DECA (Danforth East Community Association) people,” said Land. “We sort of did a shout out to people saying this is what is going on, come meet with us and we just sort of just sat and listened to what they did and how they went about their business and we are just going to take their knowledge and make it work here.” “The Goal is to have any of the vacant buildings to have either a temporary business that may turn into permanent businesses,” she said. Many residents have also taken part of the leadership to change Bloordale for the better. Owner of Duffy’s Tavern Harrison Mazis said the important part of the

operation is to fill up unfilled properties and remodel the look of those stores for possible popup shop locations. “Just expanding the neighborhood and making it more beautiful. It’s important not to just be looking at it like the mercantile side of things,” said Mazis. “We want to support this community every which way. By allowing some people who perhaps don’t have larger budgets to fill these spaces, were trying to facilitate that deal. It’s not just going to be about money. It’s not going to be about mercantile or consumer. A lot of it is just the representation of what we want Bloordale to be.” Property owners are already in talks with Vacantful and the first popup shop could make its debut as early as this spring.

EIGHTH ANNUAL JANE’S WALK TO HIT BLOORDALE STREETS AND BEYOND BY EVAN MILLAR

evan.james.millar@gmail.com

Over 100 cities worldwide are about to quite literally stop and smell the roses, and it’s all thanks to one Toronto-born event. Next month marks the eighth annual Jane’s Walk festival, a series of walking tours that aims to promote the exploration and discussion of local areas and neighbourhoods. Named after city planner and journalist Jane Jacobs, the weekend festival will span May 1-3 in honour of her birthday, with numerous free walks taking place in a variety of neighbourhoods across Toronto and hundreds of other cities across six continents. “It’s important for recognition of legacy that people have contributed to a neighbourhood,” said Marcie Ponte, Executive Director of the Working Women Community Centre. For Ponte, this year’s festival meant a chance to appreciate the shopkeepers that help make the area special. The result is the Rosina Shopkeeper Project, a walk that honours Rosina Peluso, a Mediterranean shop owner who died

suddenly two years ago in the fruit market she ran on the corner of Bartlett Ave. and Bloor St. W. for 43 years. “There are a lot of shopkeepers, many of whom were immigrants who were closing up shop. We needed to find a way to recognize them and to give them some appreciation,” Ponte said. A second walk on May 3 will encourage store owners to speak about their experiences and also serve as an award ceremony for 41 veteran shop owners. “Each will be getting a plaque with their name on it, the name of their business and the year it was established,” she said. “They will be permanently mounted on the tree guards along Bloor St., hopefully in front of their shops.” Architectural historian Alec Keefer will also lead a walk simultaneously that will explore the history of the physical buildings along the same stretch of Bloor St. W.. The Bloordale area will also host two other walks that focus on telling compelling personal and local stories. Lead by Helder Ramos, coordinator of the Dundas West Business Improvement Area,

Anatomy of a Street Festival will explore the ins and outs associated with creating his Dundas West Fest, now in its third year. The walks themselves are a crucial part of understanding our city, according to Ramos. “We tend to think of Toronto as a sort of utilitarian place, a place to work and then on the weekends you escape,” Ramos said. “Jane’s Walks sort of makes you realize that around you you’ve got all kinds of interesting stories that are just waiting to be told.” The Bloordale Village will also host WALK HERE, an exploration of the small businesses and cultural institutions that run between Dufferin St. and Lansdowne Ave.. “The idea was to celebrate our finally completed new streetscape that was finished last fall, but there were many outstanding small details that needed to be approved or completed,” said Marie. “This was the ideal time to celebrate that as well as to draw attention to the diversity of our Bloordale history and stores.” For a full listing of Jane’s Walks in Toronto, visit http:// www.janeswalk.org

One walk, titled the Rosina Shopkeeper, will take place on Bloor St. W., just west of Christie St.. Photo by Evan Millar


04 The Bloordale Times April 2015

Feature ~ News

LOCAL FILM BUFF JESSICA BERRY GIVES TAKE ON NEW FILM ‘WHILE WE’RE YOUNG’ BY JESSICA BERRY

myyearatthemovietheatre.tumblr.com

While We’re Young Running Time: 97 minutes (translation 1 hour and 37 minutes) Writer/Director: Noah Baumbach Actors: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried and Charles Grodin The Review: Time is a funny thing. It doesn’t stops for anyone or anything. It is the tool by which employers measure salary, companies measure billing, families measure milestones, lovers measure relationship status. There are more metaphors about time than any other noun known to man (okay, I made that up, but there’s a boatload of metaphors revolving around time). Time Is Money, Time is a Gift, Time Is A Circus, Always Packing

Up and Moving Away, Time Is On My Side, Time Is the Only Critic Without Ambition, Time To Make The Donuts; you get the picture. When we were young, time seemed to stand still, school years chugged along like an endless eternity, 30 seemed light years away, and the world was our oyster. And then you turn 45… and things start to happen. You realize you are no longer in the chic, sophisticated 35-44 buyers demographic, and you left the drinking-my-face-off-whilestarting-a-career-and-looking-fortrue-love 25-34 demographic a long time ago. You are now in that demographic group they don’t even bother wooing anymore. Your hair turns funny colours, or just decides to quit and fall out. You have to hold menus, driver’s licenses and business cards at arm’s length just to read the

“fine” print. Pain begins radiating from places you never thought could ever feel pain; and worst of all, people start calling you sir and ma’am… But when did this happen?? You don’t feel like a grown up. Noah Baumbach hits a home run with his film about time and growing up. While We’re Young perfectly touches upon every 40-something’s innermost fears, doubts, regrets and shortcomings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t connect with everyone. You would think this comedy about a forty something couple, who begins hanging out with a twenty something couple to feel alive again would connect with both young and old, but it doesn’t. And I am okay with that. Baumbach flies very close to the sun in this straight forward dramedy insinuating that maturity in today’s modern world reveals too much of

the wizard behind the curtain. But with this revelation comes bitterness, longing and shattered dreams. He likens maturity with the loss of hope, freedom, enjoyment, wanderlust and the fun of the process. Sadly, he is right. When was the last time you had a “Street Beach Party”, or had an egglaying chicken in your super cool loft in Bushwick? When was the last time you were able to enjoy something worry free that was truly fantastic? This is the gift of youth, and we fail to see it in today’s world blinded by long hours, debt, rules and fear. While We’re Young shows us what we were like in our 20s with vivid, exciting and beautiful imagery; then slaps us back into reality with the image of ourselves played by Naomi Watts and Ben Stiller, who by the way are so realistic in their performances I felt like I’ve known them my entire life. This is the gift Noah Baumbach gives us as a writer/director. He is the son of two film critics, and you can tell. If you have never seen a

film written or directed by Noah Baumbach, then you haven’t lived. The Squid and the Whale introduced the world to Jesse Eisenberg. Frances Ha introduced the world to Greta Gerwig. But more importantly, the gift Noah Baumbach brings to the screen is life. His films are a realistic, majestic journey of comedy and tragedy; the very essence of life. Baumbach himself is a 45-year-old divorced father, who is clearly having the same thoughts I am. Time is a weird thing. When you sit down and think about it, you become very aware of how fast it truly moves. This personal and realistic portrayal of a married couple in While We’re Young struck a chord with me. It made me think, inspired me and surfaced old regrets, all while making me laugh. This is truly a witty gem of a film, but only if you are in the “right” demographic group. Overall Grade: 4 1/2 stars *Scoring System is based on a 5 Star System

FUTURE TTC PLANS FOR WEST QUEEN WEST HAS COMMUNITY UP IN ARMS BY GREG CHOW

greg.c27@hotmail.com

The West Queen West planning study took place on March 30 in front of a rowdy audience of cyclists, store owners, parents, and other commuters at a jam-packed Senhor Santo Cristo Catholic school gymnasium. This community open-house style gathering marked the first time the Bathurst St. to Roncesvalles Ave. plan was presented to the public.

The overall project will be contingent on a series of feasibility studies done in regard to movement on both sides of Queen St. between Bathurst St. and Roncesvalles Ave.. The focus will be narrowed on ways of improving flow of traffic with the help of the TTC, Toronto Parking Authority, Transportation Services, and Toronto Cycling. The reason this meeting was called was to address and answer public concern about the flow of movement in one of the most con-

gested and most walked areas in all of Toronto. In addition, city council has made it a priority to consider the visual livelihood of one of the most diverse and colorful neighborhoods in Queen West. “Elements include what defines the character of the street, developing a vision for future developments and recommending changes if necessary to construction sites,” said City Planner Avery Carr. A comparison between the projects that happened to the St. Clair

West streetcar line and what lies ahead for Queen West seemed to give quite a number of attendees the shivers. Fortunately for the public, some light was shed on what seemed to be the unknown. “Our main focus will be the introduction of the new streetcar line,” said TTC spokesperson for planning Daisy Chen. “By 2016 Queen West will be expecting to have them and other improvements like 24 hour lines, Sunday service streetcar lines, and ten minute or better busses at

certain parts.” For drivers, mobile updates for the Green P parking app will be made available as soon as summer 2015. The new add-ons will include a mobile payment and plan system. This process will allow drivers to find, reserve, and pay for parking before hitting the road. For more detailed information on the plans for West Queen West, the city of Toronto website will have a full outlook in the upcoming months.

T HE

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The Bloordale Times April 2015 05

Letters from your political representatives COUNCILLOR ANA BAILÃO

416-392-7012

As you will have heard during the recent municipal election, the Smarttrack transit plan was a central campaign promise by newly-elected Mayor John Tory. This proposal would use existing GO train lines to provide local transit service to Toronto residents – intending to deliver more transit, faster, at a lower cost. In Ward 18, conversations about the opportunities available through the Georgetown Corridor have been going on much longer. This rail corridor has a tremendous impact on our community, yet, there has been almost no benefit to local residents living nearby. Electrification, additional stations, fare reduction and fare integration are all part of my ongoing advocacy to ensure that the

MP ANDREW CASH 416-654-8048 Since my election in May 2011, I’ve been fighting for fairness for the increasingly large group of workers in our city, a group I call Urban Workers. Now, measures I introduced in the House of Commons as part of this fight are finally going to be debated. Urban Workers are people who work freelance or contract-to-contract jobs, are self-employed, work part-time or are in unpaid internships. Quite simply, they can’t access permanent, full-time work, and consequently, Urban Workers have little to no access to workplace pensions, benefits or job security. They are graphic designers and taxi drivers, office cleaners and clerks, carpenters and contract teachers. They are artists, personal support workers, entrepreneurs and cashiers. According to a recent report released by McMaster University and the United Way, nearly 50% of Torontonians find themselves in one of these precarious employment situations. Our labour laws and practices haven’t kept pace with the changing reality of work in Canada, and too many workers are being left behind. In the fall of 2013 I introduced the National Urban Worker Strategy bill in the House of Commons. If passed, the National Urban Worker Strategy would force the federal government to take action to address the changing nature of work in Canada, and to implement a comprehensive strategy to improve conditions going forward. Some practical measures include: cracking down on the misclassification of employees as ‘independent contractors,’ preventing the misuse of unpaid internships, ensuring temp agencies adhere to existing labour laws, addressing the lack of additional benefits (health, dental, drug) for many Urban Workers, examining ways to address other factors which compound precarious employment including lack of affordable housing, childcare and transportation, extending unemployment benefits to more Urban Workers while improving access to Employment Insurance, updating taxation practices by studying options such as income averaging for those with fluctuating incomes, and making sure everyone has access to a liveable pension. I am so happy that we will finally have the opportunity to talk about these issues at the national level when the National Urban Worker Strategy comes up for debate in the House of Commons in May. This is going to be a tough fight, and we’ll need all the help we can get. To sign the petition in support of the National Urban Worker Strategy or to learn more, visit andrewcash.ca/urban-workers.

interests of our community are at the forefront of any discussion of the Georgetown Corridor. I have made this case to TTC on numerous occasions in order to highlight the need for local service on the Georgetown line. This includes a successful motions to add additional stops along the corridor and supporting fare-integration. The Smarttrack plan is a further opportunity to move these important issues forward. I was therefore pleased to be involved with a motion that was approved at Executive Committee to not only accelerate the Smarttrack study, but also add a new station to Dundas West! I have also ensured that community consultation has an important role in this study process and I look forward to having this important issue discussed in our community. Highlighting the local importance of this issue to our commu-

nity, I am also organizing a Transit Townhall with TTC Chair Josh Colle and Deputy City Manager, John Livey. This meeting will be held on May 13th at New Horizons at 6:30pm. I look forward to discussion our shared transit goals at this meeting and hope to see you there!

Ward 18 Transit Town Hall May 13th, New Horizons Tower 6:30 p.m. Hope to see you all there!

MPP CRISTINA MARTINS 416-535-3158 Housing is an issue of crucial importance, both in Davenport and across urban areas in the province, which is why I’ve been advocating for co-ops and other rent-gearedto-income (RGI) housing providers in recent months. I’m proud that our government recognizes the significance of housing, and that the benefits of a stable housing situation cascade into every aspect of an individual’s life. That’s why it was wonderful to host the Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Poverty Reduction, Hon. Deb Matthews, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Hon. Ted McMeekin, in Davenport last month as they announced that Ontario is allocating $587 million to municipalities over the next two years as part of our effort to end homelessness. Of this funding, $223 million will go to programs in the City of Toronto. This investment is part of the province’s Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI), a 100% provincially funded program that is designed to give municipalities the ability to address local housing priorities, and the particular needs of families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the community in the most appropriate way. CHPI lets municipalities create programs under four service categories, including: emergency shelter solutions, supportive housing programs, homelessness prevention, and other services and supports such as food banks and community transportation. The flexibility allowed by CHPI means that municipalities are able to respond quickly and responsibly to people’s housing issues as they arise. While funding streams may have been rigid in the past, CHPI means that municipalities’ service managers can now allocate funding for the local programs that need it most. For example, funding that had previously been used for emergency beds in shelters can be reallocated by these service managers to supportive housing programs if necessary. As of March 31, 2014, CHPI funding has helped over 33,100 individuals and families experiencing homelessness obtain housing, and has allowed another 83,800 individuals and families at risk of homelessness remain in their homes. These are impressive accomplishments, and the announcement last month of the funding allocations for the next two years means that cities can plan ahead and set priorities in advance. CHPI funding is part of our government’s goal to address homelessness by focusing on housing first solutions, instead of relying on shelters. It supports our Long Term Housing Strategy and our plan to eradicate poverty and end homelessness in Ontario. Cristina Martins, MPP Davenport 1199 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON M6H 1N4 cmartins.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org @CMartinsMPP To subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, please visit: http://cristinamartins.onmpp.ca/ Enewsletter


06 The Bloordale Times April 2015

News Feature

BLOORDALE LOCAL LAUNCHES TV SHOW TO AIR WITH BELL MEDIA BY SAMANTHA SINGH

samanthasingh21@gmail.com

Would you like to sing about your life story? The Toronto Song Project is a new TV series on Bell Local dedicated to sharing Torontonians’ stories by creating the

Photo courtesy Steve Diguer

soundtrack to their lives. The show provides singers with the opportunity to professionally record their song and reveal their story on camera. An essential part of the show is long-time Bloordale resident Steve Diguer who is the director, composer and writer for

the artists. He worked alongside his friends Marie Masse the producer and Nadine Valcin the co-director. “A lot of people who have a story don’t necessarily have the writing skills or the song writing skills and this is a way to sing about their own lives,” said Diguer. “They’re used to singing other people’s songs.” He has many years of experience with television production and composing music. At one point, Diguer went to live in Los Angeles to take a break from television gigs to write music. On a student visa, he proceeded to work with several managers and songwriters. One exercise stuck with him, he was instructed to ask a series of biographical questions to a person and then write a song about their life. “It was something I did with a friend of mine and it came remarkably easy and it was actually really fun to do. It was really flattering for her and it was really fun for me,

and then that kind of put the seed in my brain,” said Diguer. When Diguer returned to Toronto he wrote up a TV show proposal about the exercise. He heard that Bell Local was searching for Toronto based projects and that’s when it all fell into place. “I thought oh my gosh, I could make this show just about Toronto,” said Diguer. “Like just go looking for people in Toronto, find their story and write them a song. So I pitched them that show and they took it and then we got to work.” To find the four Torontonians in the pilot episodes – Maddie Cristiano, Martha Williams, Kevin Skerrit and Russell David, Diguer and Masse sought out choirs, attended local churches, called homeless shelters and took to social media to broaden the search as wide as possible. Diguer is passionate about getting Torontonians unique life stories out, so that people can con-

nect with one another. The first four pilot episodes represent the diversity of Toronto by exhibiting people of different ages, cultural backgrounds and identities. He took the time to build relationships with each individual to discover what kind of song they would like to create and how they would like narrate their story. “If you check out the episodes, they each have really compelling stories,” said Diguer. “It’s stuff that really goes to your gut. Just being able to express that part of yourself in a song is just the most wonderful thing, and it becomes yours.” Episodes of Toronto Song Project can be found on online on Bell Local on demand and Fibe TV on channel 1217, as well as the Toronto Song Project Youtube channel. Torontonians who would like more information on how to audition for the project can visit website http://www.torontosongproject. com

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The Bloordale Times April 2015 07

News

LOCAL DRUMMING PROJECT PLANNED FOR LULA WORLD PARADE BY JALISA MASSIAH

jalisa1@live.com

Come one, come all! Lula lounge associates have created a new initiative that involves local residents in a community-drumming project. The Lula World parade, set for June, is planned to feature seven different drumming groups featuring local residents. With the Pan Am Games also in mind, Tracy Jenkins and Alex Bordokas created a catalyst to unite a culture that Lula lounge has shared with drumming artists for 13 years. “It’s a project to bring together the different drumming groups that are in Toronto,” said Jenkins, Co Artistic Director. She said the drumming project will allow different groups to play together, but in a new way that highlights the activities they are working on. Torontonians with a drumming background are encouraged to join in the parade and drum along with the bands. “It’s pretty complicated stuff, so to start with no drumming background would be a challenge. But we might have some people who try to do that,” said Jenkins. Through talking with the other groups,

Rick Lazar, artistic director of this project and Leader of Samba Squad, have come up with arrangements pertaining to song selections. “They’re very simple arrangements for these groups, it involves all the groups and all their instruments,” said Bordokas, Producer on the Lula World festival. “With arrangements that allows everyone to take part.” “The different drumming traditions would use different instrumentation, so they’ve had to really strategize about how to make the arrangements,” said Jenkins. “It’s like how do we put Surdo part (the big bass drum in Samba) on the Alafia (the bass drum in Maraberto), so we kind of switch it over this way,” said Bordokas. “It kind of sounds different, but were gonna make it work, it becomes this holy unique drumming experience made in Toronto.” Instructional YouTube videos will be provided, so that anyone who wants to participate can do so without attending the rehearsals. Jenkins added the videos will be a tool that leaders of the groups can use to get their band ready. Rehearsals will be held on April 30 and May 5, each at Dufferin Grove Park.

It was thought that this would be a one tim- across the border. er, but Jenkins said “it’s taken a life of it’s own.” The Lula World parade will take place on “People are really enjoying working togeth- June 6 at noon. er; the individual musicians are bringing a lot For more information about Lula World, of energy and inspiration to the project, “she please visit http://www.lulaworld.ca/festival said. “We’ve already had interest from other presenters in having this big drumming group perform at their events, so I think [the drumming project] will have a life of it’s own,” said Jenkins. Bordokas said one challenge that all artistic groups face is funding. “We’re asking a lot of people to give up their time, but we want to eventually put on the best show we can and value everybody… we’ve been busy finding the means to make this happen,” said Bordokas. “And give it a longer life.” One supporter of Lula World is the CBC. “They will be here filming and at DuWest Fest and they gave us some great support last year for Lula World and DuWest Fest,” said Jenkins. She said they have artists coming Alex Bordokas and Tracy Jenkins. Photo by Jalisa Massiah from Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, right

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The Bloordale Times April 2015 09

Health & Wellness

STAY ACTIVE TO KEEP BACK HEALTHY DURING PREGNANCY BY SONYA HAMILTON

drhamilton@bloorwesthealthcentre.ca

After such a long harsh Canadian winter, signs of spring are finally all around us – green peeking through the grass, buds on the trees, and happy glowing pregnant moms to be! As a Webster trained chiropractor, I work with many pregnant women and often get asked questions about how to reduce the risk of back pain during pregnancy. Remaining active and healthy during and after pregnancy is one key way to keep your back aligned, and fortunately with High Park so close by, there are a number of community led groups who meet and exercise in the park. The last trimester of pregnancy can be a very exciting and anxious time, and is unfortunately also when low back pain is most likely to make an appearance. It has been estimated that 50% of all pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy, however only 21% seek consultations with their physician or chiropractor1. Back pain during pregnancy arises

from mechanical, hormonal, and circulatory changes in the body. As your body works to adjust to the changes in your mechanics and a shift in your centre of gravity, your muscles and ligaments can work overtime to keep everything moving in proper alignment. With the hormone relaxin increasing in the body, ligaments and joints have greater laxity, and as a result can become much more sensitive to strain and dysfunction. The most common region to feel pain is in the sacroiliac joint area of the pelvis, which can lead to low back pain, hip, buttock, and sciatic nerve pain. Misalignment of the joints of the pelvis can result in tighter surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscles, and can also restrict your baby’s living quarters. There are things that you can do to manage your low back pain, for a more comfortable pregnancy, and gentle exercise is an important piece of the puzzle. Chiropractors, particularly those of us who are trained in Webster Technique, can work alongside you to help you move with ease through all stages of pregnancy and postpartum. The Webster Technique, is a specific

biomechanical analysis and chiropractic treatment protocol, which aims to assess the areas of dysfunction in your pelvis, with the goal of improving function, decreasing pain, and creating a more aligned and comfortable environment for the baby. Chiropractic is safe and effective throughout pregnancy, and can bring some great relief from pain and discomfort. As health and wellness professionals, chiropractors can also recommend customized and safe exercises and help you return to normal biomechanics during and after pregnancy. Keeping your core strong will help support your spine at any stage in life, but most importantly during pregnancy. Your glutes muscles also are important in keeping your pelvis stabilized and moving well. There are great benefits to participating in gentle exercise such as swimming, yoga, and other low-impact exercise. If you prefer the group atmosphere, consider one of the many awesome local groups out there, such as those on Meetup! It’s important of course to discuss which options might work best for you with a healthcare provider. Dr. Sonya Hamilton is a local chiroprac-

ASK YOUR BLOORDALE NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR - DR. JENNIFER BAER BY DR. JENNIFER BAER

Got a question? health@drjenniferbaer.com

They tell us spring has arrived. But it’s shoots and leaves are slow to unfurl this year. That just gives us more time to think about capitalizing on Ontario’s brief asparagus season. Available locally for just about two months peaking in May & June, be sure to get your asparagus on this spring! Spring is naturally a time of cleansing for the body. We start to move away from heavier meals and cooked foods, to more fruits and salads. This increased water content and influx of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals are abundant in plant foods) support the body’s natural detoxification pathways. Asparagus is high in an amino acid called asparagine which helps to rid the body of waste – as evidenced by the strong smell it produces in your urine. Asparagus also acts as a natural diuretic – helping to rid the body of excess fluids. And it’s potent antioxidant and antiinflammatory compounds serve a protective function in the body. Asparagus is versatile – it is

lovely steamed until bright green and tender crisp (which also helps to maintain its nutritional content), but can hold up to light grilling or roasting too. Throw some on the BBQ for a super quick and easy side dish. A few years ago I had a revelation upon trying a raw asparagus dish – sliced thinly on the diagonal and tossed generously with olive oil and lemon juice and a sprinkle of coarse salt or parmesan. Those same ingredients merge beautifully served hot tossed with pasta. Here’s a lovely recipe for a spring brunch – or light lunch or dinner when paired with a salad and some quinoa or roasted sweet potato. If you don’t have garam masala on hand, try a little nutmeg. Finish with a dessert featuring fresh Ontario strawberries and rhubarb for the quintessential spring meal! Baked Eggs with Ricotta and Asparagus (serves 6-8) 10 large eggs 1 large red onion, halved and very thinly sliced 5.5 oz spinach, washed, dried and roughly chopped 2 cups asparagus, woody ends snapped off & trimmed to 1 inch lengths

2 tsp olive oil 1 tsp balsamic vinegar 1 tsp maple syrup 2-4 Tbs grated parmesan (optional) 400 g fresh sheep’s milk ricotta 1/4 tsp garam masala S+P Preheat oven to 375F. Heat large pan over medium heat, add 2 tsp olive oil. Sautée onion until well browned, adding balsamic vinegar & maple syrup half way through. Lightly spray or brush bottom of large pie plate with grapeseed or coconut oil (for use at higher heat) and spread onions out in even layer. Top with layer of ricotta, then chopped spinach, and finally asparagus. In large bowl beat eggs with seasonings and pour evenly over the layers. If desired, top with fresh grated parmesan, and bake in the centre of your oven for 35-45 mins until eggs are set. Jennifer Baer, is your local Naturopathic Doctor, trained chef and Reg-

tor with a special interest in helping others to regain control of their own physical wellness through education, exercise, and rehabilitation. She practices at Bloor West Health Centre, and is available to come and speak with your group on health promotion topics. http://www.drhamilton.ca. Further reading: 1Borggren CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007;6(2):70-74.

Dr. Sonya Hamilton, Chiropractor.

istered Holistic Nutritionist. An expert in digestive health, she enthusiastically promotes wellness and prevention through a nutritious diet, positive at-

Dr. Jennifer Baer, Naturopathic Doctor.

titude and active lifestyle. For more recipes and information about her training, programs and services, please visit: http://www.drjenniferbaer.com


10 The Bloordale Times April 2015

Community Column

OPINION FROM KUSHNIR: THE PROBLEM IS HATRED, NOT RELIGION BY MICHEAL KUSHNIR

michael@ensemblesocial.ca

Earlier this month, many of us spent time with loved ones in childhood country homes, around dinner tables, or in houses of worship. And by coincidence this year, two great celebrations – Good Friday and the first night of Passover – took place on the same day. Growing up, my folks were not very religious. I was raised in a secular, liberal Jewish family; our shul focused on a pragmatic approach to preserving traditions while living fully integrated lives. This agnosticism toward religion extended to politics: voting was a civic duty, and good, upstanding values always trumped party colours or policy.

Passover is more than reading the haggadah over a meal. The word seder means “order” – the story of Exodus is retold in a certain order, and the meal is part of the story. The idea is to symbolically relive the experience of bondage under cruel Pharaoh, the struggle and trials of the Hebrews’ resistance, and the invariable sweetness of eventual deliverance and liberation. Later in life, I learned of the Holocaust. The concept that I would have had my labour forcibly extracted from me in order to feed an industrial death machine – one that literally and figuratively existed to murder me and my peoples – would always bring me back to Moses’ calling. Beyond occupying the same part

of the year, Passover and Easter share several themes. Both holidays explore the question of sacrifice and service in the name of a greater good. They also explore questions of human morality, and what can happen when human rights remain a luxury for the few. Most importantly, both holidays serve to remind us of the darkest aspects of the human heart – and what can happen when hatred is allowed to chip away at humanity. In Canada, we sometimes look beyond the horizon and question how deplorable acts can be committed in the name of the Almighty. In the past weeks, we’ve seen the vile murder of hundreds of students in Kenya owing to their religious beliefs. Closer to home, the State of Indiana dealt a blow

to equality for both women seeking control over their own lives and LGBT Americans, hearkening back to the era of Jim Crow and second-class citizenry. I can understand why organized religion may suffer from some bad PR, but religion itself is not the problem. Religious groups have fought for justice on many fronts: the Vatican remains steadfast in its opposition to capital punishment, Methodists and Jews fought against poverty in the Great Depression, Baha’i have stood against war after war, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. found his great calling in the Church. These tragedies happen when we strip people of the fundamental rights granted to them by virtue of being human. Whenever some-

one’s humanity is cast aside, it is an offense against the dignity of every single person on this planet. And while we are lucky to live in Canada, where human rights remain a cornerstone of our democratic tradition, these offenses still happen much too often, in the form of racism, misogyny, transphobia or poor-shaming in our own city. My first taste of social justice was in between bites of gefilte fish and matzah ball soup, and once again this year, I’m personally reminded of why equality is important. So now, with our stomachs settled and our spirits rested, let’s reflect on the meaning of these springtime holidays, and use them as inspiration to return our country to the caring and just society that made us great.


The Bloordale Times April 2015 11

News

BLOORCOURT STOREFRONTS TO BE HONOURED FOR LONG SERVICE BY TONIA VENNERI

toniavenneri@hotmail.com

The death of one of Bloorcourt’s most respected shopkeepers has inspired a new project that aims to celebrate businesses along the Bloor

strip. Executive Chair of Working Women Community Centre, Marcie Ponte and community member Ann Ball started The Rosina Shopkeepers Project as a way to recognize stores that have helped shape

Lisa Hill of Callas, Hills Florist- Longest continuous operating est. 1933. Photo courtesy Ann Ball

the community for over 25 years. The project is named after Rosina Peluso, a shopkeeper of 43 years on Bloor St. W. who died in 2013. Peluso’s strong presence in the community is what got sparked the idea for the project. “It was a sad day for the neighbourhood because we had lost this matriarch and she was a pillar of the neighbourhood, and then Ann and I got talking about how the street’s changing, and that a lot of people like her who’ve been here for so many years are leaving... we wanted to figure out a way to commemorate that,” said Ponte. The Rosina Project has become an all-round community initiative with the help of the Bloorcourt Business Improvement Association (BIA), the Toronto Public Library, city councillors and local shopkeepers. Forty-one stores that have served the area for over 25 years have been identified, and each one will be presented with a plaque to

commemorate their hard work. “So often you walk by these places you never think about whose inside? What does it take to do that? So I think we wanted to put a name to the stores...they put their heart and souls into these places,” said Ball. Chair of the Bloorcourt BIA, Antonia Yee has been an active contributor within the project, and said she hopes the project will inspire newcomers of the strip to be as successful as their predecessors. “From the BIA perspective we want that sort of continuity,” said Yee. “We have a whole new generation of people coming in, and we also we want to build up a longer lasting community.” The project has garnered a lot of buzz throughout the area, and the women say they will continue to provide plaques as stores reach their 25 year mark. The rich history among the Bloor strip has been greatly anchored by the dedicated

shopkeepers, and they wanted to capture that within the community. “It’s legacy,” said Ponte. “Legacy of what’s been here, what’s built here, what’s going to continue here and what we’ll celebrate down the road.” In addition to the plaques, former Toronto Poet Laureate, Dionne Brand has written a poem for Bloor St. W. that will be embossed on cement benches at Bloor and Dufferin streets. There will also be two Jane’s walks in honour of the project. On May 2 Alec Keefer from the Architectural Conservancy of Toronto will lead the “Building Bloor” walk at 2 p.m., followed by a night of celebrations with music and dance lead by Toronto filmmaker, musician and novelist Dave Bidini at St. Michael the Archangel Church. The “Keeping Bloor” walk is on May 3 at 2 p.m. Plaques are expected to be in front of stores at the start of the Jane’s Walks.

PORTRAIT SERIES PUT IN PLACE TO PROMOTE DUWEST BUSINESS BY AMANDA TUZI

amandatuzi@gmail.com

What started out as a personal project to expand and improve a photography portfolio has now turned into a Dundas West portrait series. Miguel Arenillas, a freelance photographer who moved from Peru to Toronto five years ago, is the brain behind the project. “Every time I would walk down Dundas West, I notice so many cool little stores, which are small

independent stores that have a little touch of the owner,” said Arenillas. “I really loved that and I decided that it would be perfect for my location project.” Arenillas, who is represented by production and studio agency Hermann & Audrey, spoke to his team at the studio about his series and they decided to build this project into something bigger that will help improve, promote and advertise Dundas West businesses. Aesthetic independently owned businesses are his subjects, ranging from from restaurants bars, bou-

Tom Bielecki, “Cafe Bar Pasta” - 1588 Dundas St. West.. Photo courtesy Miguel Arenillas

tiques, bike shops, to lounges. “What I want to show is the person who builds the business and the business itself. So it’s not just about the person and it’s not just about the store, it’s about the whole combination,” said Arenillas. Once the series is complete, the pictures will be displayed in gallery shows and functions to help network and feature the photo subjects. “For the business owners it helps them with their promoting their business for free and for me it helps me with my work, my portfolio and

getting some advertising, so both sides benefit from this,” said Arenillas. Arenillas also contacted the Dundas West BIA (Business Improvement Area), who were very interested in the photographs. Once the series is complete the BIA will promote the series by posting them on their website or by creating little advertising campaigns. So far Arenillas has photographed a variety of owners like Paul Emery in his bar Communist’s Daughter, Byron Dill in his restaurant The Libertine, and Nicole Manek in her

Nicole Manek, “Life of Manek” - 1504 Dundas St .W.. Photo courtesy Miguel Arenillas

boutique Life of Manek. Arenillas expects to finish the project with 20 or 30 different owners by the end of May. Although it’s just a personal project, he hopes that by having Hermann & Audrey as well as the Dundas West BIA involved, it will help get other local store owners to agree to be part of the project. For her part, Manek believes the project will be a great way for more people to know about her business. “I’ve been there for three years, and almost every day at least one person walks in and says ‘This is my first time here, I’ve never been here, I just heard about you’, so I feel like if more people could know about us that would be awesome,” she said. Not only does this series promote the area and its businesses but it brings the Dundas West community closer. “I think the series is incredibly meaningful for the area because it shows that we are actually a community now, you know that there is interest in looking at all of the business owners and all of the people on Dundas together as a whole,” said Manek.


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The Bloordale Times Vol. 3 Issue 3 // April 2015  

The 25th edition of the Bloordale Times Newspaper.

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