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Scarborough Community Renewal Organization
January 2017
Happy New Year Scarborough!

SCRO started off the New Year with deputations to Toronto Council advocating for funding to four priority areas that can advance our economy.  These are related to public transit, a Living Arts Centre, planning studies and a Scarborough-specific economic development plan. Additional details can be found later in this newsletter. SCRO will continue to advocate for these initiatives throughout the year. Over the next few months, our efforts will focus on: 1) developing a new website that will connect Scarborough stakeholders, promote the Scarborough Advantage and advocate for Scarborough renewal; 2) kicking off a membership campaign to expand our reach; and 3) planning an Annual General Meeting to showcase what we have been up to and encourage Scarborough residents to get involved.
We are also attempting to feature more guest speakers at our meetings. Here’s a couple upcoming meetings you are welcome to attend.
  • January 23rd, Suburban Planning Committee Meeting, 7pm, Toronto Police Service 43 Division, 4331 Lawrence Avenue East. The meeting will feature a presentation from the organization “Connect Scarborough” about their advocacy efforts to advance public transit in Scarborough.
  • February 22nd, Arts, Culture, Tourism & Sports Committee Meeting, 6:45pm, Location TBA. The meeting will feature a presentation from Karen Stintz, CEO of Variety Village, about the upcoming Invictus Games.  
Attending an SCRO committee meeting, is a great way to learn more about our organization and explore how you can get involved.
On January 15th, SCRO volunteer Reka Sivarajah was recognized for her contributions to our Scarborough community by the Hon. Tracy MacCharles, at her New Year’s Levee. Reka was instrumental in the launch and creation of organization. Importantly, Reka always recognizes great opportunities to promote good news stories about Scarborough. On of Reka’s many contributions to our organization is coordination of our newsletter. 
Image: Reka Sivarajah (left) was recognized for her volunteer work with SCRO by the Hon. Tracy MacCharles (right), MPP for Scarborough Pickering East. Reka also won the door prize!

We welcome any news or events in Scarborough to share through our e-newsletter. We are also looking for student editors to report on upcoming events, sports, entertainment and academic initiatives at Scarborough high schools. We can credit volunteer hours.
To get involved with SCRO or submit an article, please email
Dr. Jennifer McKelvie
Interim Chair

Scarborough Community Renewal Organization
This E-Newsletter Includes:
SCRO's Planning Committee Wants to Get Your Ideas for Transportation Improvements to Scarborough Centre
The City of Toronto has launched a new project to study improved transportation options for Scarborough Centre (see map of study area below). The first public meeting was on November 29, 2016 at the Scarborough Civic Centre. This study is a Transportation Master Plan that will identify transportation improvements to accommodate anticipated changes that will come with development and public sector investments. This includes well-connected and safe transportation networks for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who travel to and through the area. As a part of this public consultation, there will be a Local Advisory Committee (LAC), consisting of residents, resident association representatives, businesses, landowners, and interest groups. Members of SCRO's Suburban Planning Committee (SPC) are sitting on this committee.
Map of the Scarborough Centre on the Move Study Area 
The purpose of the LAC is to act as a 'sounding board' and provide input to the project team prior to the next two public meetings. While the LAC does not have any decision-making authority, it will have the opportunity to comment on the project team's work at key milestones. The SPC wants to ensure that its feedback at the LAC meetings are reflective of the needs and interests of the local community. It is holding an open meeting and wants to get your ideas. Everyone is welcome!
  • Do you drive, cycle or walk to and through the Scarborough Centre area?
  • How can the City improve the transportation network and infrastructure in this area?
  • How can this area provide more connectivity, walkability, and safety for all of us?
Join SCRO's Suburban Planning Committee Meeting on:
 January 23rd at 7pm
Toronto Police Service 43 Division
4331 Lawrence Avenue East, Scarborough
For questions about this meeting, please email Mimi Lau at

Please visit the City's project website at for more information about the project and the public meetings.
SCRO's Speaks Out on Toronto's Budget
By Carol Baker, Interim Outreach and Events Chair and Jennifer McKelvie, Interim Chair, SCRO

The City has begun public meetings on the 2017 budget. There have been a number of meetings held in Scarborough this month where individuals and organizations were able to express their views on the 2017 budget to members of the City of Toronto Budget Committee. SCRO attended and participated in two meetings.

Public Deputation Meeting on the City of Toronto 2017 Budget

On January 5th, the City held Budget Committee public presentations, including deputations. Jennifer McKelvie, Interim Chair of SCRO shared four priorities that would help renew Scarborough. John Stapleton, Interim Board Member and Interim Social Development Committee Chair of SCRO also shared highlights from his report, "The Cost of Poverty in Toronto" and was featured in the Scarborough Mirror article “Residents speak out on 2017 city budget at Scarborough Civic Centre”.
Image: John Stapleton at the public presentation / source:

SCRO shared four priorities at the meeting:  

1.      Ensure there is adequate funding for the necessary engineering and geotechnical studies for both the Scarborough Subway to Scarborough Centre and the Scarborough Crosstown light rail transit line to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus in the 2017-2018 budget. Scarborough needs a fully integrated transit system. SCRO is asking that Toronto Council ensure there is adequate funding for both the Scarborough Subway and the Scarborough Crosstown LRT in the next budget.

2.      Include $2.5 million over two years for a feasibility study for a Living Arts facility in Scarborough.  The Scarborough Living Arts Centre was planned for in the City of Scarborough's pre-amalgamation 1984 "Five Year Arts Plan" but it did not advance post-amalgamation. We envision that the facility will be a combined museum, art gallery, theatre and concert performance space located in Scarborough that will meet the needs of all Toronto residents.  We strongly feel that a Living Arts Facility will stimulate growth of eastern Toronto’s arts and cultural communities, serve as a vehicle to re-brand Scarborough, create jobs and be a cultural and entertainment hub for all Toronto residents.

3.      Include $1.5 million for a planning study over one and a half years for Scarborough Centre. This study would look at land availability and land use designations on how to develop Scarborough Centre in a way that will promote establishment of corporate headquarters, business incubators and start-ups, as well as other employment opportunities. This would also include looking at how the lands could be used for new City of Toronto municipal buildings. Our organization has and will continue to advocate for the City of Toronto to show leadership by bringing an additional 3000 municipal jobs to Scarborough. Some of these could be in new municipal buildings in Scarborough Centre.

4.      Include $500 thousand over one year for a Scarborough specific-economic development plan. This plan would provide a cohesive Scarborough-specific economic development vision goals and objectives and its development would involve comprehensive public consultation. We strongly feel that Scarborough needs a vision for economic growth and we feel that measurable targets for business attraction and expansion and job creation should be established. It is time for Scarborough to shift from a retail economy to one that is more diversified and includes more professional, technical and manufacturing jobs. The economic development plan should align Scarborough’s workforce with a local strategy for economic growth and job creation. We need a plan for creating opportunities for the skilled, talented and passionate workforce of Scarborough in Scarborough.

Councillor Michael Thompson’s Budget Town Hall 

On January 18th, Carol Baker, Interim Outreach and Events Chair of SCRO also shared SCRO’s economic development priorities at Councillor Thompson’s Budget Town Hall. While it may seem out of place to some for SCRO to propose that the City allocate monies for  projects that will create employment opportunities and a Scarborough-specific economic development plan at a time when the  City is making cuts to its budget, investing in Scarborough and making it the economic hub can and should be precisely what we should be focusing on at this time. Increasing City revenues through economic investment should also be seen as an important budget objective. That point was well taken at this Budget Town Hall.

At that meeting, Councillor Thompson clearly laid out the work he and others are doing to create regional employment opportunities for Scarborough residents, especially in sectors other than retail where jobs are higher-paying and more secure. To successfully strengthen our regional economy, it is critical that stakeholders such as developers, planners, business, and community organizations and individuals collaborate and co-ordinate their efforts.

Civic engagement is needed to Renew Scarborough and we encourage residents to participate in public meetings to share their experiences and views and provide input into decisions, which have a direct impact on our quality of life. While participation does require sacrificing one’s time and energy, having a say in matters that directly affect the day-to-day lives of your families and fellow community members is well worth it.

Click here for more information on the Toronto 2017 Budget.

Canadian Tamil Congress' 10th Annual Pongal Dinner
The 10th Annual Pongal Festival dinner held on January 14th by the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC). The event had special significance as it was the first major event in 2017 after the recently passed motion in Canadian Parliament declaring January as “Tamil Heritage Month".  The theme for the dinner was “Canada 150” to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.

This annual dinner showcased the contributions, achievements and artistic talents of the Tamil-Canadian community and also celebrates "Thai Pongal", a festival that traditionally marked the start of a new harvest, similar to Thanksgiving. The dinner, which draws about 1000 guests and attendees is the largest event of its kind in the community and serves as a testament to Canada's strong multicultural spirit.

Left to right: Jennifer McKelvie, Interim Chair of  SCRO, Mayor John Tory, Janise Smith, Interim Board Member and Communications Chair of SCRO (Photo: Jennifer McKelvie)

Some of the SCRO board members joined the celebration dinner. Their support is exemplary of SCRO's values with respect to multiculturalism and inclusivity.

The CTC is a non-profit organization with members across Canada. Headquartered in Toronto, CTC strives to be the voice of Tamil-Canadians and represents the community's concerns at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. This non-partisan organization upholds Canadian values of equality, human rights and multiculturalism.

Scarborough and Rouge Hospital Announces Enhanced 24/7 Community Crisis Support
At Scarborough and Rouge Hospital (SRH), a quality patient experience comes first. Affiliated with the University of Toronto, SRH consists of three hospital sites (Birchmount, General, and Centenary) and five satellite sites in Scarborough. SRH delivers a broad spectrum of health services to one of the most diverse communities in Canada, including a full-service Emergency department at each site, advanced maternal and neonatal care in state-of-the-art birthing centres, and specialized paediatric services. SRH is home to a number of regional programs serving the central east Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and beyond, including nephrology, cardiac care, vascular surgery, and vision care, and is recognized as a centre of excellence in orthopaedic surgery, cancer care, and mental health.

SRH's Regional Crisis Program, a telephone crisis support line and crisis support team will be enhanced with the funding of $500,000 from the Central East Local Health Integration Network. This will enable crisis line callers to speak with a dedicated crisis worker immediately 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here for more information. 
Scarborough Businessman Donates $2M to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
University of Toronto Scarborough Campus' (UTSC) Tamil studies program is expanding thanks to Ravi Gukathasan, a UTSC alum and CEO of a Scarborough-based company - Digital Specialty Chemicals. This is a great example of how businesses can give back to their community to stay true to the fact Scarborough is a "world within a City". Scarborough is proud to have philanthropists who went to school and do business in Scarborough. Click here for more.

Photo Source:
Photo Credit: Ken Jones
Axis Music: A Gem of a Program in Scarborough
By Harriet Eisenkraft, Board Member, Axis Music

With its mandate to provide equal access to music education, Axis Music has been doing just that – and more – in Scarborough for the past seven years. The program gives free violin, cello and piano private and group lessons to children and youth who live in Toronto Community Housing. Professional musicians facilitate the program. Participants also attend concerts, perform throughout Toronto and engage in workshops with professional artists. Axis Music lends all participants their instruments free of charge, which they are allowed to take home for practicing. Most activities take place at The Hub, Mid-Scarborough, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, in the Eglinton East-Kennedy Park neighbourhood.

Axis Music founder and director, Judith Manger, started the program in 2010, knowing that although there is true potential among young people in Scarborough, access to arts education and resources is limited for low-income families. Axis Music holds its participants to a high standard: participants are required to practice at home five days a week and attend all workshops. They “develop a strong work ethic, focus, attention to detail and collaboration skills. These skills will be beneficial in any area of study they pursue in the future,” says Ms. Manger. The program has 18 participants and a growing wait list.

The participants range in age from six to 17 years, with many of them in the program since its inception.  Moreover, the parents and guardians of the children get involved by attending lessons, workshops, recitals and performances, and monitoring progress at home.

The adults have also become a part of the Axis Music community and they enrich the program not only by supporting their children’s progress, but also by hosting and providing refreshments for the social events that occur throughout the year.
Axis Music’s funding now comes from the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils and individual donations. The group’s board members, luthier Quentin Playfair and Ms. Manger complete tasks for the organization on a volunteer basis, including marketing, instrument repairs and administration.
At its most recent end-of-year celebration in December, 2016, Axis Music premiered a music video that the children and youth created collaboratively with guest artists, called “Watching the Clouds Go By”. Participants also performed for the assembled guests, which included their families, donors, volunteers and some members of the media. 

Click here for media coverage of the organization.

Top-right: Participants Kayla, Zahra, Monidipa (left to right) (Photo : Chloë Ellingson)
Above: Participants, Families and Teaching Artists at Spring Recital, June 2016 (Photo: Kurtis Elton).
For More Information about Axis Music:

Judith Manger, Founder and Director
Three Theatre Groups as Theatre Scarborough
Theatre School is a coalition of three community theatre groups who perform at the Scarborough Village Theatre, located at 3600 Kingston Road (at Markham Road). While each of the three theatres have their own history, "[t]oday the three groups work together more closely than ever, sharing resources to provide the Scarborough community with high quality entertainment and affordable prices". (Source:
Now Playing 
The Drawer Boy - January 13-28, 2017
How far would you go to hide the truth of a painful past? Canadian playwright Michael Healey asks this question in a beautiful, captivating, play which was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Best Drama. Sent to visit a rural Ontario home to research farm life, Miles soon discovers that not everything is as it seems at the quiet farm of Morgan and Angus. As Miles learns more about Angus and Morgan, their quiet life on the farm soon becomes threatened by a past that is too painful to remember, but is impossible to forget. Based on the landmark event that created the documentary play, The Farm Show. Click Here For More Information
Top left and top right: cast and crew of The Drawer Boy.
Bottom left and bottom right: Audience and fans of The Drawer Boy.
Photo Credit: snapd Scarborough.
Upcoming Shows
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - February 9 - 25, 2017
Two con men, a beautiful woman and the elite of the French Riviera collide in this sexy and irreverent farce. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the popular 1988 MGM film, is sophisticated and suave with a good dash of mischief. This hysterical comedy features a delightfully jazzy score by David Yazbek (The Full Monty) and was nominated for a staggering 11 TONY Awards (2004). Click Here For More Information
Tartuffe - March 10 - 25, 2017
It is 1699 in Paris and Tartuffe, claiming to be a religious man, is living as a guest in the home of Orgon. His true goal is to acquire his host’s fortune and to seduce his wife. Most of Orgon’s family can see through Tartuffe’s pretense at holiness. Orgon, however, is completely fooled and offers his so-called “friend” all his property and marriage to his only daughter. It is up to Orgon’s faithful wife, Elmire, to expose the evil of their hypocritical house guest. Click Here For More Information
EVENT: Free 'After 5' Event Hosted by Scarborough Business Association on Jan 25 
An evening of networking with complimentary appetizers, a tour of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre and a complimentary pass to use the TPASC facilities and amenities. First 2 hrs of parking are free and $2 for parking after 2 hrs.
January 25, 2017, 5pm - 7pm
Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre
875 Morningside Ave, Scarborough

Please register here.
EVENT: Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra's Special CD Launch Concert "A Canadian Panorama" on Feb 4

The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra will launch “Canadian Panorama,” its first commercial CD, on February 4, 2017 in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.

The launch concert will feature music from the CD, a group of wonderful Canadian compositions that the SPO commissioned 2 years ago for a wind ensemble of 13 players. This group features 2 flutes (including a piccolo), 2 oboes (including an English horn, 2 clarinets (including a bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 1 percussion player and a string bass. Seven of the pieces in this concert come from Canadian composers: the SPO’s Ronald Royer will premiere his Travels with Mozart, Variations on a theme from The Magic Flute; Howard Cable’s McIntyre Ranch Country, based on Canadian cowboy folk songs from Central Canada; Alex Eddington’s Saturday Night at Fort Chambly, based on French Canadian folksongs; Chris Meter’s Fundy, a Tone Poem, inspired by the Bay of Fundy and East Coast Celtic music; Jim McGarth’s Serenade for Solo Clarinet and Wind Ensemble; John S. Gray’s Allemande for Eleven; and Alexander Rapoport’s Whirligig. Rounding out the concert will be Beethoven’s Octet for Winds, Op. 103.

Adults – $30, Seniors (65 and over) – $25, Students with ID – $15, Children under 10 – $10


Get your tickets today!

Phone: 416-429-0007
Tickets available at the door as well 

EVENT: Scarborough Business Association's Networking Events on Feb 8 & 22
February 8, 2017, 7am - 9am
JC's Grill House
1686 Ellesmere Road, Scarborough
Free underground parking available

Come out and enjoy hot, delicious buffet breakfast and hear from Dave Hardy, President of Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited. He will talk about how to envision Scarborough a a future economic powerhouse.

$25 for members and $35 for non-members (includes HST)
Get your tickets here or by contact Sherri Somerville at 416-972-6482 or
February 22, 2017, 5pm - 7pm
Nova Ristorante
2272 Lawrence Avenue, Unit 2, Scarborough

Great people. Great conversations. Great businesses. No better way to network than to come out to this 'After 5' event at Scarborough's first Italian restaurant.

Free for members and only $10 for non-members
Complimentary appetizers and cash bar included.
Get your tickets here or by contact Sherri Somerville at 416-972-6482 or
EVENT: Dinner and a Song on Feb 25 and Beyond
With the possibility of Toronto's Hugh's Room closing, Scarborough's Dinner and a Song (DaaS) has emerged as the City's pre-eminent entertainment venue. DaaS has an active schedule of concerts on tap for the first half of 2017, thanks to continued great support from the Scarborough Rotary Clubs and TD Bank. Seven shows are currently scheduled from February 25 to June 1. The next Dinner and a Song with Jay Aymar and Jennie Thair is on:
February 25, 2017, Doors at 5:00, Dinner 6:00pm, Concert 7:30pm
Miller Lash House

130 Old Kingston Road, Scarborough
The New Year kicks off with Sault Ste. Marie native Jay Aymar. Singer-songwriter, storyteller and true road warrior, Jay has released seven albums since 1993 and plays 150 concerts a year, across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Needless to say, we are thrilled to be able to have him perform in Scarborough. Jay’s latest release is particularly close to our hearts at “Dinner and a Song”, as it was recorded live, right here in Scarborough, at Church of the Holy Trinity in Guildwood on February 7, 2015. “The Chicken Came First” is a unique offering; it includes a 13-song live CD and a book written by Jay.
Jay is a tremendous performer, who shouldn’t be missed. We are in for a special treat, however, on February 25. Jay will be accompanied by pianist Jenie Thai. Born in Thailand, but raised near Edmonton, Jenie is classically trained, but has also studied jazz and contemporary music. Her music combines classical technique, jazz harmonics, and a life-long appreciation for blues and folk, to produce a unique charm as a singer-songwriter on the on the Canadian folk, roots, and blues music scene. She has released two recordings, “Lady Flower” in 2011 and “Only the Moon” in 2013. Jenie has been nominated for several awards and was a semi-finalist in the 30th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2014.
Book your tickets today!

Tickets $55 (concert and three-course meal).
Phone: 416-208-5195

Great performers will be putting on shows for March and beyond. Check them out too!

Irene Torres – March 9 & 10, Aioli Bistro
David Gogo – April 9, Stone Cottage,
Apryll Aileen – April 20, Aioli Bistro,
Tim Williams – April 30, Stone Cottage,
Georgian BayMoonfruits – June 1, Aioli Bistro
Landmarks that Create Scarborough's Identity
In our last newsletter, we featured an image of a landmark in Scarborough without disclosing its name and asked folks to name that landmark. The answer is Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

"A legacy of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) is co-owned by the City of Toronto and the University of Toronto." Its vision is "[t]he Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre is recognized for providing world-class experiences in sport and recreation, for all, for life". 

Coincidentally, the Scarborough Business Association is organizing a free event that provides a tour of the TPASC. It includes complimentary appetizers and 2 hours of free parking. Click here to learn more. 
Image Source:
Can you guess the name of this landmark?
Tell us via @RenewScarboro.

If you know of other landmarks that we should feature in this section of the newsletter in future issues, please email us at
Image Source: / Jamie Bradburn
Other Scarborough Newsletters
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