In 2017 we were fortunate to receive funding from Ontario 150 for a Community Celebration. Our Celebration was a year long series of events bringing Canada’s oldest and newest Canadians together through a series of occasions created by our community.

Our series of events included the creation of a mural by students of Rose Avenue Junior Public School, the creation of 20 banners celebrating Canada 150 hung permanently within the community, a James Walk throughout St. James Town, a 150 seedlings celebration for gardeners, a cultural collage festival and a Canada 150 Plus celebration held in partnership with Rose Avenue School. In addition, we organized 3 trips to take newcomer residents out of St. James Town into other communities in Ontario as a means of broadening their Canadian experience, showing parents and children Canada is far more than their immediate experience. We were fortunate to be able include some of newest neighbours who are refugees from Syria and Somalia.

Canada 150 Plus Celebration

The Canada 150 Plus day ceremony held in partnership with Rose Avenue School included an opening ceremony by Indigenous members of the community, a variety of indigenous and newcomer dance, music and song completed with multi cultural offerings of food. Awards were presented for the Canada 150 banners which hang throughout the community.

Canada 150 Banners

In the hopes to beautiful St James Town, Community Matters Toronto through St James Town Arts developed an contest to encourage artists from all ages within St James Town to participate in an art contest.

The art would be hung up on light poles throughout the community. Ideally the art was put on light poles on Ontario Street north off of Wellesley ST to Rose Ave School. The St James Town Arts Banner Project 2014 (Feb-Apr) is a community art project providing local residents & artists an opportunity to create art banner designs for outdoor display. The project includes Modern art workshops and at the end of the project selected banner design will be printed to be displayed throughout the neighborhood.

This year’s project had over 80 art submissions from a wide variety of cultures and community members – raging in ages from 10-75 years of age. The focus was to get more artists to submit from the Indigenous community within the community of St James Town and surrounding area.

The project also focused on getting Rose Ave School students to participate in particularly the JR ESL grades 4-5 which had all of the students send in their art work.. The other class that submitted to the project was grades 4-6 in Rose Ave School. Most of the students are new immigrants and from a variety of different countries. The theme this year was Global Neighbours. This idea came about after a discussion on the diverse community within St James Town. This year’s project also wanted to have more of a diverse group of artists. This is the first year to have 3 Indigenous artists and a 75 year old artist who is originally from India.

The winners were picked by a committee of artists, community members and CMT staff.   The decisions where based on not just the quality of the work, but if they were community members with a focus on diversity. 20 art pieces were chosen.

Rose Ave School had a celebration on June 10th for the Canada 150 celebration. It was decided that the program would announce the winners of the outdoor banner project and display the top 4 winners of the contest.

The call out was successful, given the number of diverse communities that were represented in the project. All artists came from St James Town and Cabbagetown.

The artists were asked how it felt to see their work being displayed on outdoor poles their comments were varied: most said it made them feel god that lots of people can see their work. Some felt shy about their work being up on display outside. A couple of the youth were very excited that their art work was on display and wanted to show their friends and family what they had accomplished. One of the artists said that this project made her feel like she wanted to do more art. The 75 years old South Asian artists said that she has finally being acknowledged as an artist.

Rose Avenue Mural

We participated with Rose Avenue and Inner City Angels to contribute an additional mural to the series of murals which cover Rose Avenue Junior Public School. The teme of this mural was How Whales Change Climate

Jane’s Walk

Our Jane’s Walk was held in partnership with the Jane’s Walk organization. Including 5 stops for discussion, it was conducted by 4 members of the community each with different heritage and began at our Neighbourhood of Nations Mural.

The Neighbourhood of Nations mural celebrates the people and cultures that have passed through St James Town and east downtown Toronto. It was painted in 2016 and is located at the south end of 650 Parliament St, just south of Bloor.

It is an artistic collaboration between three artists: Catherine Tammaro, whose ancestors include indigenous First Nations inhabitants of the Toronto area; Michael Cavanaugh, descended from early European settlers, specifically Irish immigrants and famine refugees of the early 19th century; and Poonam Sharma, one of the many contemporary newcomers in the neighbourhood from South Asia and the Middle East.

Joining the three lead artists were three youth artists, Hawk, Sarah and Gulnar, who worked alongside them in an intergenerational, cross-cultural collaboration. The Neighbourhood of Nations mural has been made possible with generous support from the Toronto Arts Council, The Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation, The McLean Foundation, St James Town Arts and Community Matters Toronto.

Journeys Outside St. James Town

In July we celebrated with our Cultural Collage event celebrating all of the cultures and talent that reside in St James Town

Annual General Meeting

We introduced governance of Community Matters and had our neighbours participate in our Annual General Meeting