Scarborough.

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Tell us: What are your favourite strip malls in Scarborough?

Whether it’s a current hangout spot or a place you used to frequent, send us photos of your favourite local strip mall.

The dreary days of winter are upon us, though there is the occasional break of sunshine to warm our spirits. While the sun wasn’t out on most of the days I was traversing through Scarborough recently, my heart was warmed by the people I met on my travels.

Take, for example, the Scarborough Museum. I’d been meaning to visit this local landmark for a while, and last week, I finally spoke with Tristan Simpson who’s on the museum’s communications team. I was intrigued to learn about how the museum has become a hub for many newcomers to Scarborough, and that it’s developing programming to help them settle into their new home. My visit reminded me of the value of a community with deep roots, especially when it’s branching out in new directions. As much as Scarborough is a place that’s known to welcome waves of new immigrants, it also has layers of history  — going back to its Indigenous beginnings — that connect us all.

Speaking of community hubs, my next story will look at how Scarborough strip malls form an integral part of the community, serving as a hub for everyone from high school youth to aging seniors. In addition to producing my report, we’d love to feature your favourite strip malls in a photo gallery. Whether it’s a current hangout spot or a place you used to frequent, please send along a photo of yourself standing in front of the mall, and describe what makes it special. Email me your submissions, along with a brief caption and credit information.

Hidden gem

Exterior of the Scarborough Museum.

This quaint heritage site is located along the walking trails of Thomson Memorial Park, which were once the site of farm fields belonging to Scarborough’s first settlers. The Scarborough Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the history and development of Scarborough through its four buildings: the McCowan Log House, the Cornell House, Kennedy Gallery and the Hough Carriage Works. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the McCowan Log House belonged to William McCowan, after whom McCowan Road is named. I hadn’t studied Canadian history as a child, and didn’t know much about the settlers whose names are now part of my daily commute, so I can imagine how a visit to the Scarborough Museum could help newcomers make connections between the community’s past and present.

Let’s meet up

  • Dec. 8. Christmas Bake Sale. The Church of St. Jude is calling all bakers to lend their talents to its annual Christmas bake sale. In addition to baked goods, books and handmade crafts will be available for purchase. Church of St. Jude, Wexford. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Dec. 9. Uncle Neil and Friends Annual Toy Drive. For the past 13 years, Neil Haden has been hosting a benefit concert for the young and the young at heart. Activities include cookie decorating, face painting and a visit from Santa. Last year, the toy drive received close to 34,000 donations. The Newfoundlander Tavern. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Dec. 9. Radio Daze. Relive 1940s and 1950s radio shows, complete with vintage commercials. The cast of Scarborough Radio Theatre will recreate popular American radio sitcoms such as Father Knows Best and My Favourite Husband (the latter show starred Lucille Ball and Richard Denning), as well as the radio ads that ran between them. Scarborough Village Theatre. 8 to 9:30 p.m.

  • Dec. 13. Hockey Night in Scarborough. The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. If you’re looking for a group of people to hang out and talk hockey with, UTSC Hockey has organized its second Hockey Night in Scarborough event. Join in and ask the perennial question: Will the Leafs make it to the next round? Boston Pizza Morningside Ave. 7:30 p.m.

Our next gathering

With the newly elected Toronto city council now in session, I floated the idea of organizing an event to continue discussing municipal affairs in Scarborough outside of the election cycle in our Scarborough Discourse Facebook group. I’m happy to reflect your concerns to local city councillors, but I’d also like you to get the opportunity to speak directly to them about issues that matter most to the community.

I’m looking for volunteers to help organize this event, so if you can offer a venue, assist with planning, set up on the day of or just give ideas, I’d love to hear from you. Please email me if you’re interested.

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