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Beautiful City: Billboard Tax

You might remember our post back in April ’09, about the “Beautiful City” initiative. It aims to implement a “Billboard Tax” that holds advertisers accountable for their impact on public spaces. Implementation of the bylaw/tax would increase arts funding in Toronto while opening access to different forms of expression in our public spaces.

Recently the Supreme court of Canada upheld the billboard tax unlocking one of the last barriers to increased funding for the arts in Toronto. This billboard tax was first proposed to the city in 2001 during the Creative City Youth Consultations as a way to enhance art in the public realm and empower diverse voices.

Tonight inside City Hall, artists, city councillors and young people from across the GTA held an art rally in support of the idea of using the billboard tax to rejuvenate arts and culture in Toronto.

It’s still not too late to get involved!

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Amir Johnson x SPiN x The Remix Project

On Sunday, Dec. 23rd Toronto Raptors’ Amir Johnson teamed up with SPiN for a charity ping pong tournament in support of The Remix Project. Amir brought along some of his Raptors friends including Ed Davis and Demar Derozen. In total, everyone who attended helped raise over $1,500 for The Remix Project. If you weren’t able to attend, check out some of the action below.

For more info: theremixproject.ca

Photos by shot.by.cris

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PATHWAYS: The Story of Nike

In a city the size of Toronto, people can often slip through the cracks of the system. Pathways to Education is one answer when it comes to finding support in your own community. Pathways is an innovative, community-based program helping youth in low-income communities stay in school and graduate to post-secondary. In partnership with governments, social welfare agencies, and hundreds of diverse volunteers who share their talent and wisdom, Pathways is helping to break the cycle of poverty and enable strategic, long-term social change. Pathways operates in 4 main neighbourhoods in Toronto: Scarborough, Rexdale, Regent Park, and Lawrence Heights.

Check out “The Story of Nike Valeus”, a Pathways student, who’s found success in both the program and in life.

For more info: pathwaystoeducation.ca

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Documentary: Youth Challenge Fund

The Youth Challenge Fund (YCF) is a collaborative pilot project with the Government of Ontario, United Way Toronto and the community that was created to explore, develop and incubate new approaches to funding and facilitating youth development. The project has created a 27-minute documentary capturing the work being done by the YCF in several of Toronto’s “priority neighbourhoods”. The documentary also highlights personal stories from youth leaders, community allies and institutional partners, all of whom have played vital roles in achieving systemic transformation.


Date: Thursday, Nov. 15th | Venue: St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts – 27 Front Street East | Time: 1-5pm

For more info: youthchallengefund.org

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Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is Canada’s largest and longest running pan-Asian film festival showcasing the works of East and Southeast Asian artists. This year’s annual event includes 8 days of films, workshops, panels and parties. The festival starts today, Nov. 6-11, in Toronto and Nov. 16-17, in Richmond Hill.

The film to watch is “Prison Dancer”, directed by Canada’s own award-winning Romeo Candido. The film was inspired by the real-life dancing rehabilitation program that went viral on YouTube. “Prison Dancer” tells the very personal but yet hilarious stories of 6 Filipino inmates whose group dancing turned a maximum-security prison into a world stage.

Date: Friday, Nov. 9th
Time: 6:45PM
Place: The Royal – 608 College St.

For more info: reelasian.com

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“The Rec” By Darren Anthony

For those of you who were not able to attend Darren Anthony’s fundraiser for his short film, “The Rec”, which is based off his play, “Secrets of a Black Boy”, there is still an opportunity for you to get involved. Darren has now released an indiegogo campaign in the hopes of raising $5,000 to help create his film.

To learn more or donate, visit: indiegogo.com/therec

About The Film
The Rec is a current, edgy story about the secrets of five black men. Set against the back drop of displaced poverty-stricken families in Regent Park, the story centers around Sheldon, a community center worker. Five friends gather inside a community centre about to be demolished, to say good bye one last time to the place they all called home for many years. Sheldon reminisces about what the community centre means to him and his friends.

This short is a forum for urgent commentary about both the disintegration of the notorious low-income housing complex Regent Park and the lives of the young men most affected by it. The Rec gives a gritty, uncensored look at the lives of black men. No subject is taboo, from interracial dating, commitment phobia, gun violence, sexuality, drugs and love. Every stereotype of black men will be critically examined and explored.

Previously: “Secrets In NYC”


Walk This Way #walk4youtharts

Do you believe that investment in youth, arts & culture matters?

Lately there’s been a lot of speculation about the value of investing in young people and the arts. As Toronto’s creative young people whose lives have been positively impacted by our exposure and engagement with the arts, and as those who have the honour of working in the sector and serving our communities – we know just how valuable it is.

It’s time to mobilize. We are calling out artists, organizers, mentors, youth, elders, community leaders, community members, and visionaries to walk in solidarity for youth, arts, and cultural programs. Bring your artistic expression, rally your communities and add to a collective energy as we move down Yonge Street into Manifesto’s Live At The Square – an annual youth arts festival happening that day. Calling out participation from dancers, poets, street writers, emcees, beatboxers, visual artists, documentarians, drummers, percussionists & more – it’s time to write our story ourselves.

WHAT: Yonge Street Walk For Youth, Arts & Culture
WHEN: Sunday September 23, 2012
START: Meet at the North East corner of Yonge & Bloor (2:45PM)
FINISH: Yonge & Dundas Square

For more info: walkforyoutharts.org