Spend more time together – it’s what the doctor ordered

Human connection seems to be on everyone’s minds these days, while we love the independence our devices give us without really realizing it, many of us are craving more time together. The rise of the individual has meant great improvements to individual rights and freedoms yet coupled with the rise of technology, it’s become easy to underestimate the value of community. We think we can go it alone at almost every turn and modern health care has shifted to accommodate these sentiments. Black Creek Community Health Centre (BCCHC) knows that coming together in community can not only mean prevention, it can also be the cure.


They say it up front and often, their vision statement reads: “We envision a healthy, resilient and empowered community where people are connected and support each other”.  Cheryl Prescod, Executive Director of the BCCHC says: “Our mandate is to address individual health needs as well as community needs, we know that if individuals in a community are healthy as a result the community will be healthy”. The Black Creek Family and Health Centre does more than simply acknowledge that community and individual health are intertwined – they live it. This year they held their Annual General Meeting at Black Creek Community Farm with who they partner. They offer a whole roster of programming that includes everything from fitness classes for the whole family to community gardening.


The centre has lots of individual care on offer. Everyone should have a General Practitioner, someone who knows the individual, their history and available supports. The centre can add additional support through some of the unique accessible community programs; programs like dietary instruction and a community kitchen to take that instruction from theory to practice. The holistic approach to treatment means your whole self and your whole family will be taken care of.  The communal approach to healthcare means that people look after each other. People feel less isolated and more connected to the people around them. It’s this connection that keeps the community coming back to Black Creek Community Health Centre. For more information visit them today at one of 2 locations in Downsview, The Yorkgate Mall at Jane and Finch and Sheridan Mall at Jane and Wilson.

Amazing Love

William Ashley started his career as a graphic designer. When he switched to a career in the fine arts, it was a natural step. For many years, he worked with oil paint and much of his early work was wildlife drawings. He was also always interested in photography. William switched from oil to acrylic, believing that acrylic allowed for more versatility in his work. For a while, he found himself painting portraits. His reputation preceded him and commissions started coming. At one point, he was asked to paint a portrait of Mayor Mel Lastman. The Mayor was overwhelmed with the portrait, crying when he saw it for the first time.

William has been working on an inspirational piece for the Jane-Finch community. William and his partner and Marketing Manager, Evadney, are long time residents and advocates in the community. For more than 18 years, William and Evadney ran a food-bank in Jane-Finch. They have also mentored many students and continue to advocate for the people of Jane-Finch. The piece that William has recently been working on will go on display at the Jane Finch Mall where community members can visit and receive inspiration from the positive message embedded in the work. The piece will incorporate some of the great minds that have come from the community, highlighting the accomplishments of the people of the Jane-Finch, including those of famous artists and professionals.

In 2004, William found faith and started featuring Christian scripture into his work. Some of his works can be customized by clients with some even having their photos incorporated in the designs. His work can also be very high tech as he uses the latest digital technology to get the designs just right. On September 28, 2018, William and Evadney will be launching a new brand and are holding an exhibit at the De Runa Banquet Hall in Toronto. Currently, they have a gallery in the Jane-Finch community which is open by appointment. For more details, you can visit www.AmazingLove.ca.

Working with Community

The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN), DUKE Heights BIA and Osgoode Hall Law School organized the March 23 and 24 Creating Opportunities Summit to take a good hard look at what truly makes great communities. In our efforts to find the perfect solutions, we often ignore big problems and make matters worse by doubling down on things that aren’t working. Whether it’s capacity building in marginalized communities, local policy making in neighbourhood improvement areas (NIAs) or just plain racism, no one answer fits all. If the summit had one great takeaway for me, it’s that finding shared prosperity will come through working with community and not for community.  

The summit was an amazing chance for communities to come together with agencies, government workers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, to really drill down and explore community benefits together. The two-day event kicked off with a bus tour that took delegates along the future Finch West LRT route. The route holds much promise for investment where there has been so little for nearly 40 years. There was a short detour to the future Woodbine Racetrack redevelopment, another possible place for community benefits. An incredible “poster exhibit” on community benefits was moved to Day-2 because of the strike at York University and even the strike didn’t put a damper on the success of the event. The bus tour was followed by a celebration dinner at York University’s Underground restaurant. The dinner included a speech from Senator Ratna Omidvar who will sponsor the Community Benefits Bill when it reaches the Senate from the House of Commons.

The conference which took place the next day at Jackman Law Building at the University of Toronto was full of timely information on what community benefits can mean and how they can be achieved. The opening panel discussion included a passionate address from Hamilton City Councillor Matthew Green who has been at the forefront of the community benefits movement in Hamilton. Other incredible speakers included lawyer Anthony Morgan who spoke on racial justice issues in Canadian law and policy. Climate change and its impacts on communities were also covered. There were case studies on community benefits in action and there were new friendships hatched and plans for future cooperation laid out. I’ve only scratched the surface here of all the amazingness that happened over the 2 days – I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year.