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SleepOut

At this moment, there are over 10,000 homeless youth in Toronto. Of those, half come from middle to upper class homes and have been the victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. And unless you experience it for yourself, it’s hard to understand just how ruthless street life is.

Over 74 of Toronto’s top business and community leaders, participated in Sleep Out: Executive Edition, a fundraiser put on by Covenant House Toronto. For what was to be an eye-opening night, they said goodbye to their cozy quilts and plush pillows for cold concrete and a shady alleyway. With just a sleeping bag and a cardboard box, they slept outside to raise funds and awareness about homeless youth in the city. Some of the participants included: Jeanne Beker – Fashion Icon, Annie Young-Scrivner – Starbucks President, Robert Deluce – Porter Airlines President & CEO, Bill Blair – Toronto Chief of Police, MLSE President & CEO – Tim Leiweke

“But it was the loneliness I focused on as I snuggled up in my sleeping bag out there on the cold, hard pavement of that dismal back alley. And as I lulled myself to sleep, I tried to imagine the isolation and despair that so many kids face.” – Jeanne Beker, Toronto Star.

The Toronto chapter of Covenant House was established in 1982 when the late, Cardinal Carter, raised concerns and gained support over the homeless kids who were sleeping outside his downtown office. Today, it is the largest homeless youth agency in Canada and since its inception, has helped over 85, 500 homeless youths through donations which also fund 80% of their operating budget. They provide education, counselling, health care, employment assistance and most important, love, respect and hope.

It seems the number one thing the participants took away from the experience was perspective and even bonds with the homeless kids they came to know. What they gave back, $762,976 in total for Covenant House Toronto.

For more info: covenanthousetoronto.ca

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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The Remix Project: Apply Now!!!

The Remix Project is now accepting applications for the following youth programs:

The Academy of Recording Arts (singers, rappers, poets, producers, engineers, and djs)
The Academy of Creative Arts (graphic/web designers, painters/illustrators, video/film and photography)
The Academy of Business Arts (entrepreneurs, public relations/events, sports, fashion, and music)

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MISSION STATEMENT
The Remix Project was created in order to help level the playing field for young people from disadvantaged, marginalized and under served communities. Our programs and services serve youth who are trying to enter into the creative industries or further their formal education; The REMIX Project provides top-notch alternative, creative, educational programs, facilitators and facilities. Our mission is to help refine the raw talents of young people from across the GTA in order to help them find success as participants define it and on their own terms.

APPLY NOW

For more info: theremixproject.ca

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Canada Braai Day In Toronto

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The pulsating vibe in The Distillery was a palpable pleasure to all who attended the inaugural Canada Braai Day, hosted by CBC’s Dwight Drummond and Anne-Marie Mediwake.

“Braai” is the Afrikkan term for “barbeque” and is a popular pastime in South Africa because of the way it brings people together and keeps the culture thriving. It’s even been given its own holiday in South Africa known as “National Heritage Day” championed by Patron and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Desmond Tutu. In between the live performances and free giveaways, we devoured tons of delicious food and sipped on some of South Africa’s wine.

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Braai is a customary gathering which has transcended throughout to other counties in the world. It is a time for friends and families of all races and religions to get together and enjoy each others’ company.

The South African community is very connected to the city and has created a timeless bond. Toronto stood by them in protest over the massacre of miners in South Africa who were fighting for better wages aiming to break free of poverty; the Toronto’s Children’s Choir was on tour in South Africa this summer and stopped by Nelson Mandela’s hospital to sing a song of blessings for the ailing revolutionary.

That kind of awareness and closeness of community is exactly what Braai encapsulated. We felt so fortunate to be a part of the party but more importantly, recognized and reaffirmed the notion of being proud of your roots and conscious of your culture.

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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The TEDxToronto 2013 conference happened last week with a collection of incredible speakers who had the opportunity to discuss “the choices we make”. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, take a minute to watch this brief Toronto history lesson and visit tedxtoronto.com for more info.

Congratulations on another successful year!

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Welcome To Rawluck

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Gavin Sheppard most notably known as co-founder and CEO of the internationally award winning arts & cultural incubator, The Remix Project has brought to life a new vision for Toronto. As visionary, strategist, writer and executive producer, Gavin has assembled a young creative team which is proud to present RAWLUCK, a multi-media series. The idea is set in Toronto circa 2022, RAWLUCK draws equal inspiration from the great fables of Robin Hood and the very real stories of Mexico’s Zapatista Movement – Rawluck is at it’s core, a series about how citizens and loved ones navigate and rebel against a new world of state-sponsored oppression. Rawluck is also a cautionary glimpse into the not-so-distant future, exploring themes of community, immigration, justice and health care issues in a polarized Toronto.

Told across mediums, episodes of RAWLUCK come in the form of video, stop motion video, still photography and finally illustration. Welcome to the beautiful struggle.

Today marks the official release of the first 4 episodes – the series picks up again with a new episode the 15th of every month beginning October 15th.

Welcome to the struggle.

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WATCH EPISODES HERE

For more info: welcometorawluck.com

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It’s that time of year again…

The 7th Annual MANIFESTO Festival of Community & Culture is back, September 19 – 22, with a collection of events ranging from Music, Visual Arts, Dance, Panel Discussions and more. Once again, 1 LOVE T.O. is proud to be involved in the Freshest Goods Market, where we’ll be hosting another one of our famous pop-up shops along side a variety of local vendors! Make sure you join us on Sunday, September 22 from 12-8pm at Yonge & Dundas Square.

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For more info: themanifesto.ca/festival/2013/

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TIFF x Manifesto

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Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Manifesto have partnered to bring a carefully curated selection of 10 films for those interested in urban arts & culture. We’ve already selected our top two movies to watch: “All Is By My Side” starring OutKast’s André Benjamin as rock icon Jimi Hendrix, and “Made In America” featuring Jay-Z directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard.

For a complete list of films check below. (Tiickets go on sale Sept 1st @ 9am)

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For more info CLICK HERE

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Furniture Bank Toronto

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What makes a house a home?

Perhaps, memories of crazy family reunions around the dining table, snuggling up on the couch watching movies, framed photos trailing the hallways of loved ones and good times. But suppose all you had were stark, white walls surrounding you. No inspiration, no colour, just you in an unnamed space. That sense of emptiness can manifest itself literally into your emotions and make one feel undervalued and hopeless. A house gives you shelter, a home gives you a sanctuary.

Fortunately, there is an organization in Toronto which is on a mission to eradicate those white-wall blues and introduce the sense of integrity and encouragement of a home.

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Furniture Bank is a place where gently used items such as desks, beds and sofas are donated to people in the city who demonstrate a need, such as, the formerly homeless or new immigrants. Clients are referred to Furniture Bank via over 70 partner agencies within the GTA. Furniture Bank Program Manager, Kam Grewal, explained to us how the exchange works:

“A client comes in for their scheduled appointment and is accompanied by one of our volunteer Showroom Guides who helps the client select all of the items they need. They receive their entire order within a week by delivery or within a day by their own transportation. The client gives new life and purpose to their recycled furniture and household goods.”

The majority of those goods are donated by individuals/families and the rest are courtesy of their community partners including, Sleep Country Canada, Indigo and Habitat for Humanity. Every piece is inspected and cleaned to ensure it is suitable to give away. Not to mention, “All donors receive a tax-receipt for their furniture donations, which are based on the fair market value of each furniture item.” says Kam.

They not only help provide a renewed start for those in need, they promote socially responsible practices. “With donations, we are able to repurpose furniture and household goods and therefore, divert these commodities from going into landfills.” explains Kam. In 2012 alone, they diverted 1,526 metric tonnes of solid waste from landfill sites. “A metric tonne of waste is the equivalent of approximately 14 couches. Imagine that in a green space.”

It is something that is easily taken for granted but a furnished home provides a sense of empowerment, a sense of security and a place to live rather than a place to merely exist.

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For more info: furniturebank.org

Photography by Alan Flores

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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DanielsSpectrum

This Saturday, August 17th we’ll be participating in the Regent Park “Own The Block” Community Festival at the Daniels Spectrum building, located at 585 Dundas St East from 3-11pm, featuring live performances, games, activities, art, and local vendors. We’ll be hosting another one of our pop up shops, so if you need t-shirts, sweaters, tanks tops or baby onesies, come pay us a visit!

See you there!

For more info: regentparkarts.ca

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Tucked away in our famous Kensington Market is the 3500 sq ft headquarters for Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture. Kapisanan is a non-profit organization which is youth-led. It serves as a space for Filipino youth to embrace their culture and explore their own artistic talents in art, dance, food and more. They offer community based workshops in hopes of fostering a positive sense of pride and unity for teens and young adults while supporting their dreams and ambitions.

To expose the rest of Toronto to all that the Filipino community has to offer, KULTURA: The Filipino Arts Festival, was born. Co-founder and Executive Director of Kapisanan, Caroline Mangosing says, “There wasn’t a festival that actually celebrated Filipino artists’ work. Other Filipino festivals had beauty pageants and Hawaiian dancing, salsa dancing, and Celine Dion cover songs, no real original artistic work from our community that is wildly and vibrantly creative.”

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KULTURA featured some really cool projects including one called, “Bayanihan” where the concept of “home” is explored and people can actually participate by helping to create a life-size, traditional Filipino hut. After that visitors could check out some street eats at the Philippine Culinary Competition which featured eight restaurants and chefs and attendees voted for their favourite to win. There was spoken-word poetry, an arts & crafts market and more, celebrating Filipino heritage and culture in a fun and delicious way!

When we asked Caroline about her favourite memories at KULTURA she says, “During the first 5 years of KULTURA we always had torrential rains in Toronto. So our outdoor stage was always rained out and we would go into our small performance space in Kensington Market – and it would become a hot sweaty basement jam! That’s what it’s really about, the gathering; the community sharing the work that reflects us in an artful and creative way.

For more info: kapisanancentre.com

Photos by Dwayne Fundano

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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St. James Town Mural Project

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If you live in or near St. James Town, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed the beginnings of a 32-storey mural project taking over the south wall of 200 Wellesley St East. Youth, artists and volunteers from Sustainable Thinking & Expression On Public Spaces (STEPS) Initiative have been hard at work creating Toronto’s (maybe even the world’s) tallest mural. The mural will showcases a giant phoenix flying toward the sky, representing a new and much more colourful outlook for residents of the building and surrounding neighbourhood. The project cost roughly $40,000 with funding from StreetARToronto, Ontario Arts Council, ING Direct and in-kind donations.

We encourage everyone to check it out!

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Just over 1 year ago 1 LOVE T.O. took part in the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (also known as Caribana) with over 300 people on our float, including our US Ambassador Amir Johnson from the Toronto Raptors, plus live performances from Trinidad’s very own KES and Toronto’s own Kardinal. Here’s a quick look back at our experience ‘on di road’.

PHOTO GALLERY

Big thanks to our partner Roots Canada!

Previously: Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2012

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