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Scarborough Discourse potluck brings community together 🍲

From rajma-rice and samosa-inspired spring rolls to pineapple tarts, our community potluck showcased the delicious diversity of Scarborough.

I always get a little nervous before our events. You put the invitation out there and watch the RSVPs go up…but you really never know until the day of, whether people will actually show up.

Fortunately, you came through! On a sunny Thursday evening, more than 25 people attended our community potluck at Warden Hilltop Community Centre. We hosted the potluck to celebrate the work that Scarborough Discourse has done so far, and to show our appreciation for people like you — our growing community of supporters. We also discussed our spring campaign, and asked attendees to share, in video testimonials organized by Centennial College journalism students, what they love about Scarborough and why they care about community-powered storytelling.

Centennial College journalism student Trevon Smith interviews Scarborough native Alana Cameron.

The food options were also deliciousOur tables showcased a generous spread that included rajma-rice, daal, samosa-style spring rolls, lo mein noodles, Mexican bean dip and tortilla chips, and, of course, pizza 🍕We also had some sweet options, including homemade pineapple tarts and chocolate chip cookies. The dishes were lovely, but even better were the many conversations I had with our loyal supporters whom I now think of as old friends, as well as some new faces.

I also heard about cool new initiatives in the community. I can’t wait, for example, for Daniel Rotsztain’s plazaPOPS project to take over the Wexford Heights BIA this summer. PlazaPOPS is meant to highlight the potential of pop-up community gatherings in privately owned spaces, such as strip malls. The project will temporarily transform these spaces  — often thought of as eyesores — into thriving hubs of activity, and will encourage people to reimagine them as community hubs. Daniel has been posting about plazaPOPS in Scarborough Discourse’s Facebook group, including a call for volunteers for a public-life study next week.

Community members chatting at Scarborough Discourse’s community potluck.

I also talked about the transit series we unveiled last week, particularly the lack of public transit options in some local neighbourhoods, with some attendees. Fortunately, Warden Hilltop Community Centre is steps away from Warden station, but there are many other places in Scarborough that aren’t as accessible. Our venue also got some long-time residents reminiscing about Warden Woods, which used to be at that same location.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, I’d still love to hear your feedback about the work we’ve done so far. Send me your thoughts on our transit series or any stories that have struck a chord with you since Scarborough Discourse launched back in October.

This type of community-powered reporting takes a lot of time and resources. If you value journalism that reflects Scarborough’s culture and resilience, please contribute to our campaign — whether that’s a monthly, annual or one-time commitment. Help us spotlight real stories.

Support us now

#BePartOfIt

Scarborough Discourse’s spring campaign ends tomorrow. We’re still a long away from meeting our goal of getting 1,000 supporters by June 15, so we need your support. Your contribution — whether that’s a monthly, annual or one-time commitment — will help my colleagues and I tell real stories that actually matter to the people of Scarborough. We don’t believe in putting our work behind a paywall, so if you find value people-powered journalism, support us now. I’d also love if you shared this page with your friends, and told them why you support Scarborough Discourse.

Spotlight

Shafia Shaikh (second from right) loves the sense of community in Scarborough. “The way people mix and integrate, celebrate difference — there are very few places like this within this city that exist. The people make it amazing,” she says.

Although Scarborough has started to get a lot of positive attention, especially when it comes to our thriving arts community, Shafia Shaikh, 27, says there aren’t enough resources being invested in this part of Toronto.

Shafia, who grew up in Scarborough and still considers it home, is the founder of the E.W.o.C. Project (Equity for Women of Colour), which creates small-scale murals throughout Toronto. The project also highlights the complex narratives of women of colour, and challenges stereotypes about them.

“Even in terms of transit, we have yet to see new transit projects take on in Scarborough. But the existing system is in bad shape. The RT is in serious need of maintenance, for example,” Shafia tells me, adding that locals still find ways to thrive and build community despite being overlooked.

In the community

In our second community poll, the topic of housing affordability captured the most votes. During in-person conversations with residents and on our Scarborough Discourse Facebook group, I regularly heard your concerns about soaring rental and property prices, gentrification and invisible homelessness in local neighbourhoods.

The Scarborough Civic Action Network is facilitating a community consultation and housing forum on Tuesday, June 17 to discuss the current housing situation in Toronto, as well as solutions to inform the city’s HousingTO 2020 – 2030 Action Plan. The event takes place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Scarborough Civic Centre.

You can register until June 17 via email or by calling 416-321-6912 x 409. TTC tokens and a light meal will be provided to those who register.

#ScarbTransitTales

As part of Scarborough Discourse’s ongoing investigative series, we want to highlight your transit experiences. In my conversations with residents and attendees at our second Story Circle, you told us about some of the barriers you face while commuting, so my colleague Anita and I would like to reflect these challenges in our coverage.

Please send us your photos of delays, crowding, bus bunching and other frustrations from your daily commutes. If you want to showcase your love for Scarborough transit, that’s cool, too! Either way, share your stories on social media using the hashtag #ScarbTransitTales, and be sure to tag @TheDiscourse.

Let’s meet up

  • June 15 and June 16. Hippo Awareness Weekend. Did you know that despite their enormous size, hippos are awesome swimmers and can hold their breath for up to five minutes underwater? Learn more fun facts about these animals, and the importance of conserving hippos in the wild. Toronto Zoo. 11 am to 3 p.m.

  • June 16. Father’s Day at Scarborough Museum. Father’s Day gifts can be tricky. But you can’t go wrong with a leather keychain made with love by you! Snack on lemon biscuits and drink lemonade, while participating in activities, such as scavenger hunts, crafts and other family-friendly games. Scarborough Museum. 12 to 5 p.m.
  • June 18. Tamil Community Townhall on Cuts to Public Education. Attendees will discuss the impact of the provincial government’s proposed cuts to public education. They’ll also brainstorm ways to advocate for Scarborough’s Tamil community, especially for those residents who may not be fully conversant in English. The town hall will be conducted in both Tamil and English. Scarborough Civic Centre. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

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