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The Regent Park Film Festival

The beauty of film is that it can relay powerful stories and messages which can resonate with the viewer and change perspectives. When those films are coming straight out of your own neighbourhood and represent your voice, that’s power.

The Regent Park Film Festival does exactly that and we were lucky enough to check out the 2014 festival at Daniels Spectrum. Festival Manager, Amanda Pileggi, told us that the festival is not only accessible and open to all, it offers free admission and free child care! She says RPFF is a place where “everyone can connect to storytelling and film” and fosters a deep sense of community and connectivity.

We caught the screening for “Black Men Loving” directed by Ella Cooper, Intersections directed by Snap! A youth filmmaking workshop, and Hope Heights directed by Marc Magnusson in partnership with Manifesto.

Black Men Loving did a phenomenal job demolishing the stereotype of Black fathers by profiling some in Regent Park and across Toronto. Jason Creed, father of four, was one of the fathers profiled and recounted some moving truths of parenting young girls. We also got a real look at a homosexual relationship which, regardless of the endless stereotypes, provides a loving home to their son.

Intersections is project by the RPFF, funded by the Ontario Arts Council. “Professional artists Sheena D. Robertson and Richard Fung worked with youth from the Regent Park and Lawrence Heights communities, who wrote, produced, acted, and filmed all aspects of the production.” It takes the audience on the journey of one kid and shows us how we all connect, or intersect, without even noticing it. It sheds light on stereotypes the kids of Regent Park and Lawrence Heights face and the reality they have to survive in a very clever way.


Hope Heights is about a section of Toronto known as Lawrence Heights. Although the community has seen violence and tragedy, the point of the film explains that the media makes it worse than it actually is. We all rely on the news to tell us what’s happening in the world but sensationalism is compromising the facts. The community doesn’t deny terrible things have happened there but the good outweighs the bad; the people are respectable and the potential is infinite. The lesson we come away with is to seek out truth for yourself; if you didn’t see it with your own eyes, or hear it with your own ears, you don’t truly know.

For more info: regentparkfilmfestival.com

Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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UforChange: Family Reunion

UforChange is an arts-based educational program for young people living in Regent Park, St. James Town, and across the GTA. They just posted a recap video from their “Family Reunion”, where over 70 of their closest friends and allies came together to celebrate the partnership between Prince’s Charities Canada, UforChange and the Wellesley Institute. Watch the video to see what UforChange is all about!

For more info: uforchange.org

Previously: UforChange: Meet Helen & Valen

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We’re proud to present an exclusive release by Toronto’s very own Mustafa The Poet, entitled, “PEACE”. This release is in anticipation for his debut poetry project EP and special event at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas St E), on Wednesday, February 19th, at 7PM.

For ticket info CLICK HERE

If you’re unfamiliar with Mustafa’s work, he’s an extremely talented young man who’s words hold great power. We’ve been fortunate enough to see him speak on numerous occasions, including back in 2011 at the Camden File Project, which we featured here on 1loveto.com. He’s also spoke at TEDxToronto, Manifesto Festival, Nelson Mandela Park Public School, and many more. Listen up and pay attention to what this poet is preaching.


For more info: mustafathepoet.com


UforChange: Meet Helen & Valen

Toronto’s youth need guidance, resources, access and empowerment, all of which UforChange provides. UforChange is an arts-based educational program for young people living in Regent Park, St. James Town, and across the GTA. They recently posted a video where you get to meet Helen and Valen, two alumni from the program. Take a minute to hear their stories, and be sure to share this with anyone who you may think can benefit from the program.

For more info: uforchange.org

Previously: UforChange Arts Showcase

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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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Vivacity is a free, 2-day arts showcase happening July 6-7th, presented by UforChange, an arts-based education program for youth living in Regent Park, St. James Town, and the GTA. The weekend serves as an outlet for youth who’ve attended the program to showcase their skill development to the community. Activities include: short film screenings, fashion shows, theatre production, photo galleries, live music and more.

*This is a Pay-What-You-Can event to help raise funds for Fall programming.

For a full schedule of events visit: uforchange.org

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Paintbox Bistro


Toronto’s Regent Park has never been considered a dining destination. Enter Paintbox Bistro, a colourful new restaurant with a social mandate, that seeks to empower the community through food. At the very least, it’s given Regent Park a cozy neighborhood joint, where the cooking is solid, and the service, sincere. A desire to revitalize the community through social mission and community initiatives takes this restaurant to another level.


Paintbox’s cultivating nature is not unlike the student-run Chef’s House at George Brown College, and the many similar programs across the city that provide training, support, and opportunities to the community. But the mandate is even more ambitious at Paintbox- train inexperienced locals, adopt and promote socially responsible values, and attract others to an otherwise stigmatized community – all while turning a profit. It’s these bold ideals that set Paintbox Bistro apart from other restaurants.


The restaurant itself is charming and lovely, and quaint details -like mini easels to hold up table numbers, and paintbrushes in the flower arrangements – lend themselves to the artistic theme. The dinner menu showcases a comfortable selection of ‘primers’ (appetizers), ‘grand strokes’ (entrées), and ‘finishing touches’ (desserts), all prepared by an in-house kitchen staff of locals and students in training- some never having even yielded a knife prior to this. Nevertheless, technically sound cooking, whimsical presentation and amiable, earnest servers make for a pleasant dining experience, such as has never really been seen before in Regent Park. It’s this kind of recipe for social change that breaks down barriers in a community and brings people together.

www.paintboxbistro.ca | 555 Dundas St. E, Toronto

Posted by Jenelle Antolin

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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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The 6th Annual Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture is taking place September 21-23, 2012.

Launch Party & Art Show: September 21, 2012
Opening night will mark the first opportunity for the public to see the newly-constructed Regent Park Arts & Culture Centre.

Fresh Arts 20 x Manifesto Summit: September 22, 2012
The festival’s second day will be an inspiring array of panel discussions, keynote speakers and mentor classess.

Live at the Square: September 23, 2012
Toronto’s Yonge & Dundas Square will be transformed into a local marketplace showcasing some of Toronto biggest brands, artists, dancers and music.

For more info: themanifesto.ca/festival


Inside Out Project – Toronto

Over the last two weeks, you may have seen some familiar and not so familiar faces covering the walls of our city. These photos belong to a project that’s a part of the Global Art Initiative “Inside Out”. As part of this year’s Manifesto Festival, they brought together 24 photographers to shoot community members and post their images up in their communities, turning the city itself into a gallery. The theme of the Toronto activation was “intergenerational”, looking at the beautiful diversity found across Toronto within our children, mothers, fathers, grandparents and friends. You can find these images in different neighbourhoods including: Regent Park, Eglinton West, Kensington Market, Queen West, Shaw Street, Parkdale, Liberty Village, Eastern Avenue, Jane and Finch, Rexdale and more.

“Public art is a vital form of communication and a critical part of the city’s vibrancy. With pending cuts to public funding for the arts in Toronto we needed to send a loud message to the decision makers that art makes people feel good and brings global attention to our city,” says Che Kothari, Manifesto Executive Director.

About Inside Out
Inside Out is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Everyone is challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. These digitally uploaded images will be made into posters and sent back to the project’s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities. People can participate individuals or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually.

For more info visit insideoutproject.net

To see more photos from the project CLICK HERE.