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Thanks to guest blogger Sarah Brown of the DECAconnects for this post.

The first playoff of our Table Tennis For Tuition Tournament is just one week away.  Don’t delay, register today! Registration closes on Friday May 26th.

Last year we saw some fun neighbourhood spirit with local business teams from Hollandaise Diner, Face to Face Games, Press Books Coffee Vinyl, Melanie’s Bistro and Red Rocket challenging one another to raise money for a good cause. Check out this challenge from Hollandaise last year! Who will challenge who this year? Time is running out…

Many of our lovely local businesses also donated prizes or funds to support last year’s DECA Scholarship! Special thanks to The Firkin, Coal Mine Theatre, Gerrard Pizza, Face to Face Games, E-Clips Hair Salon, Corbin Creative, Ace Awards and LEN. We would love to have your support again this year.

Hollandaise Diner donated proceeds from Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice for a day!

And there are prizes to be won! Father and daughter Team ‘We Can Pickle That’ were last year’s Spirit Prize winners with hand made t-shirts. Pictured below see ‘We Can Pickle That’ Team  starting a round against “Team Red Rocket”.

‘We Can Pickle That’ Team starting a round against “Team Red Rocket”

 

 

Come out and support your neighbourhood and your local business community! The tournaments happen on June 1, 8th and 15th at Stephenson, Monarch or East Lynn Parks from 6-8 pm. The finale playoffs will be held at East Lynn Park on June 22th. Please come to cheer on your neighbourhood teams!

Register your team now! Every dollar helps. If you prefer, we’re also accepting donations.

Learn more about the DECA scholarship.

Saturday, June 10th is our 5th Annual #DanforthEast Yard Sale and this year we’ve partnered with the Danforth Mosaic BIA (the Danny) for one great Saturday!

To sign up or ask questions, visit our website by clicking here

Stories on BlogTO and the CBC are predicting that this could be the biggest yard sale in Toronto. 

If you’re not going to sell, then we hope to see you shopping on June 10. It really is going to be one great Saturday!

Have you done some spring cleaning recently and are looking to donate some unwanted items? Look no further!

This Tuesday, May 16th and Thursday, May 18th, City Councillors along with the City of Toronto are hosting a Community Environment Day!

Tuesday, May 16th (4 – 8 p.m.)
EAST YORK MEMORIAL ARENA
888 Cosburn Ave.

Thursday, May 18th (4 – 8 p.m.)
Ted Reeve Arena
175 Main Street


Pick up free compost for your gardens.

Donate goods to schools and others for reuse.

Drop off items for recycling / disposal.

Note: See posters below to find out what items are being accepted this year.
You can also visit http://www.toronto.ca/environment_days for further details.


Tuesday, May 16th (4 – 8 p.m.)
EAST YORK MEMORIAL ARENA
888 Cosburn Ave.

 * DECA will have a table at this event.  Be sure to come by and say hello!

community enviro day

 

Thursday, May 18th (4 – 8 p.m.)
Ted Reeve Arena
175 Main Street

enviro day 2

 


Give a Tree Some Love

Would you like your children to learn more about trees and how to care for them?  Perhaps you’re someone who just loves the beauty of nature and would enjoy exploring some local parks and their rich tree canopies.  If so, check out this upcoming tour:

10-Tree Tour from Gledhill to Everett
Sunday, May 28th
2 – 4 p.m.

Contact Decaaat@gmail.com for further information.

tree tour

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I met Sal Sabila at the Monarch Park ping pong table this week.

She was sitting on the table. She doe not play ping pong, it turned out. But I brought two paddles, and Sal is always game to try something new.

She’s the winner of this years’s DECA Young Leaders scholarship.

She told me her story, in between trips under the table to collect the ball.

Sal arrived to Canada from Bangladesh six years ago, with her little brother, mom and dad. She didn’t speak any English, but she was clearly a quick learner. Three years later, she enrolled into the brainy International Baccalaureate program at Monarch Park. She’s a math whiz. She got 97 per cent in Grade 10 Principles of Mathematics. She’s going to the University of Toronto next year, to study mathematics and physical sciences. She wants to become a high school math teacher.

The DECA scholarship isn’t for academics though. It’s for community activism.

So Sal told me about the “amazing dream” she had a year ago. It was of a room filled with passionate teenagers, talking about problems and dreaming up ways to tackle them. Big problems: human trafficking, racial inequality, poverty. Seriously.

“People don’t believe me when I say this,” she said. “But it really was a dream.”

So she drafted a poster and put it up around her Regent Park apartment. It said “Youth Council, Regent Park. Come let’s have a passionate talk.” Unsurprisingly, nobody came to that first meeting. But she persisted. In the past year, Youth Gravity (that’s what she called the group) has done some impressive things. They hosted a community potluck with the nearby Native Cultural Centre to mix local residents with their indigenous neighbours. They ran a donation drive for the local women’s shelter, collecting more than 1,000 pieces of clothing. The organized a march on International Women’s Day.

But that’s not all. While she was doing all that in her neighbourhood, she was doing amazing things in ours too, at Monarch Park Collegiate.

She launched the local women’s empowerment club, called 50/50. And she started the mental health club called “Rise Above” because, in the middle of all this activism, she was diagnosed with clinical depression.

 “There’s very strong stigma around anything to do with mental health,” she said. “My community activism was the only thing I’d get out of bed for.”

I could have talked to her all afternoon. But she had to run. She won the Toronto Youth Award for 2016 from the Toronto Police and had a photo appointment at Station 51. As we were packing up our stuff, she asked me if I knew anything about pay equity the wage gap.

“It’s really terrible,” she said, before racing off. “We have to do something about it!”

I think she might just.

Now, the DECA Young Leaders Scholarship is $2000. We’ve committed to raise at least half of that, and Scadding Court Community Centre will kick in the rest.

You can help us do it by finding a partner and signing up for DECA’s second annual Table Tennis for Tuition Tournament, happening in three local parks this June. You will play in one “mini-tournament” at 6 pm on either June 1, 8 or 15. If you win that, you’ll go onto the finals on June 22, at East Lynn Park.

You’ll have fun, meet your neighbours, win some awesome local prizes and help pay for Sal’s books.

So, find yourself a partner and register here.  The entry fee is only $20 for adult players and $10 for teenagers, aged 13-19.

If you want to donate, but don’t want to play ping pong, you can do that too by going here and clicking the “donate to DECA button.”

The world needs more Sal Sabila’s. Let’s help get her on her way, Danforth East!

For this series of blog posts marking our #DECAde, we are looking back on where DECA started, how far we’ve come and where the next 10 years might take us and our neighbourhood. We are including interviews with some of DECA’s founders and other info and tidbits from DECA’s “archives”.  Like this photo from the 2008 AGM at the Earl Haig Library. 👇🏼

How DECA formed

So how did DECA get started? The story is best told through the memories of some of our earliest Board members.  You heard from them in Part 1 of this series about what the neighbourhood was like back in 2007.  Here’s how Peter Schmiedchen, Catherine Porter, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Natasha Granatstein, Alison McMurray and Mary Vallis did something about it. 

AM: East Lynn Park was starting to be more of a meeting place for the families in the neighbourhood but at that time, the playground was a mishmash of leftovers and the swings had 11 coats of paint on them. We desperately wanted new equipment and a shaded sandbox, however funding for parks was a challenging post-amalgamation. I started a dialogue with Parks and Rec and they were able to bring some equipment over that had been languishing in their storage shed. The neighbourhood sent 2 petitions to the Councillors over the years but nothing more was done. The park was being used for a bike theft ring and as a drug dealers’ paradise and the community felt that a better more usable park would make the illegal element feel exposed and force them to move on. In around 2006 after 10 years of asking, we finally got word that we would get our new playground.  Two things happened: the drug dealers moved out and the community came together and wanted to form a community association.  

CP: At first, it was just people on my street and a few friends. Then, someone told me about Mary-Margaret. And someone else got me in touch with Alison McMurray and they came. We had some small group meetings first and then decided to hold a community meeting at Gledhill. We made some flyers — nothing fancy like the ones DECA has now — and put them up. We figured 15 people might show up. More than 100 came. We realized, the neighbourhood was looking for many changes and hungry for ways to help start them.

PS: I remember Catherine Porter stopped me on her bike one day in the alley behind our houses, and we were opining about how we’d love our area to grow into a thriving ‘scene’ like what Leslieville was experiencing. It was evident that, even if we couldn’t open 20 cool restaurants, we could be a huge part of encouraging that growth. Catherine said she’d been thinking of a community group that could help push the neighbourhood forward – I was definitely in. A few months later, we had the first meeting in her dining room to talk about the formation of such a group. I remember that we drank a lot of wine, and talked about things we wished for in the neighbourhood.  

NG: I got on board after the initial meeting at Gledhill, once the original crew decided to expand west to Coxwell. My first meeting was at Cath’s dining room. I meekly raised my hand and said I would write a little newsletter. After a few meetings, many of original people at that meeting had fallen away and it was just the core group. We took turns hosting at each other’s houses while we drafted the charter and by-laws, drank wine and ate chocolate. I don’t remember how I became the Chair to be quite honest. But Cath said she would be vice-chair and we would be a team!  

MMM: I was reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable Miracle” and getting freaked out about food security. So at our 2nd meeting I said, “I want to start a farmers’ market!” Alison said, “Well if we do, it has to be in East Lynn Park!” Cath leaned over and wrote on my paper, “I want to help!” Never met these powerhouse women before in my life and here we were embarking on one of the original catalysts that would transform our neighbourhood!

NG: We spent a lot of time talking about whether to call ourselves a residents’ association or a community association. I advocated for “community” because I liked the idea that residents, businesses and other organizations like schools and churches could all see their place in a community association. It was symbolic of the approach that DECA took in its infancy to be a positive, collaborative force to bring people together. We didn’t form to fight something. We formed to improve our neighbourhood. I think that gestalt is still what draws people to be involved in ways big and small. 

MV: I joined DECA’s board in 2008 and was on parental leave at the time. I needed a project. Someone came to a meeting and mentioned the neighbourhood needed an arts event and the creaky cogs in my brain started turning. I’d been in a few craft fairs and knew how they worked. So I started a committee and a whole bunch of interesting people turned out. Together we founded the Danforth East Arts Fair. It had about 31 tents its first year in East Lynn Park; these days, that number is more than 60. The people who founded DECA were some of the most motivated I’d ever seen. Something would need doing, and they’d do it. The results are all around us, in our beautiful parks, in the community events advertised on bulletin boards, in the air as people say hello to each other and in the beautiful storefronts that now line our strip. 

Fun fact: At the 2008 AGM, pictured above, there were 22 members there, and each one was given an apple to use for voting. (Spoiler alert: The apple voting system did not catch on.)

***

DECA memberships are $10/household to support our community initiatives including our weekly Farmers’ Market, Diversity Scholarship, annual Arts Fair, Pumpkin Parade, Tree Lighting Festival, #DanforthEast Yard Sale, DECA Pride LGBTQ+ group and more! Sign up here.


Grab your umbrellas and join your neighbours on these amazing and informative walks on Saturday!

The 10th-annual Death and Life of Upper Midway walk 

2301 Danforth Avenue, Wise Guys (Canvas Condos), Led by Stephen Wickens (former DECA Board member!)

May 6, 2017, 10:00 AM, 2 Hours

About This Walk:

Learn all about Danforth east of Pape, sometimes referred to as the “Other Danforth,” and how it wasn’t really developed until the 1920s, after the First World War ended and the Bloor viaduct opened. The Other Danforth has always tended to be blue collar and gritty. And while it has seen hard times, especially in the past five decades, the area is on the rebound with rising house prices, new investment, interesting businesses and development proposals..

It’s also part of a larger area that is the subject of an ongoing City Planning Avenues study. How do we as a community maximize the chances that we get the type of change we want? What factors are key to making neighbourhood economies thrive? How do we ensure that our sidewalks become more welcoming, pleasant and useful?

The walk will  concentrate on the history and character of the two main Upper Midway Danforth intersections (Woodbine and Coxwell), as well as the three lost creeks that once crossed this stretch of the Danforth — creeks that still affect the way land is used.

Two bits of reading material that Steve says should help you get the most out of this walk:

http://worldwidewickens.com/?p=756

http://worldwidewickens.com/?p=839

For the full description: http://janeswalk.org/canada/toronto/death-and-life-upper-midway/


Eat Danforth East – A Cross-cultural Food Walk  

2036 Danforth Ave: Royal Beef/Celena’s Bakery/ Moberly Natural Foods, Led by Phil Pothen

May 6, 2017, 1:00 PM, 2 Hours

About This Walk:

Meeting on the north side of Danforth at Moberly Foods (2036 Danforth Ave) the group will spend two hours moving east towards Main Street visiting local shops you may have passed many times before without noticing the culinary delights hidden inside. From injera bread to salted licorice, discover more special treats our neighborhood has to offer. 

From the Jane’s Walk description, this walk will ask the question: Could supporting your local, independant “ethnic” grocer help make the difference between integration and cultural appropriation?

For the full description: http://janeswalk.org/canada/toronto/east-danforth-east-culinary-walking-tour/

For info on other east end walks and walks around the city, visit the Jane’s Walk website!
 

Looking to recycle your child safety car seat(s)?

Keep your seat from going into the landfill and provide employment to those with physical, mental or social barriers…
car seats.jpeg

This Friday at Artisans At Work

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– East End Music Project –
Registration for September 2017 – NOW OPEN!

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A message from EEMP:

We offer fantastic music lessons on a sliding scale based on your income (fees range from $2 to $15 a lesson).  Our teachers are professional musicians and our goal is to give every child the very best music education. We believe music can change lives.

Our lessons are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Secord Elementary School, on the second floor, 101 Barrington Avenue.

We provide instruments, curriculum, instruction from professional musicians, ensemble work, and performance opportunities in piano, guitar, ukulele, percussion, music foundations, and choir.

Read our course descriptions to find out what program is right for your child. You may register for more than one discipline.

Download our schedule and register today!  Lessons are first-come, first-served. Lessons fill up quickly.

Send registration form to info@eemp.ca or deliver it to the office at Secord Public School.

You will receive a confirmation email with your child’s lesson and the first term fee. Your lesson is confirmed when your payment is received — you can pay by email or in-person on Tuesdays between 4 and 7 PM at Secord Public School. We accept all forms of payment.

Note: Registration is for September 2017 – May 2018.

 

DECA Pride free Film Screening – Tonight!


Enjoy writing, meeting new people, and hanging out in a great coffee shop?

Come out to Red Rocket and…

 

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For more information, visit the Shut Up and Write Facebook Page

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