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South Scarborough becomes city's first official cultural hub

It can sometimes seem that all of Toronto is a cultural hotspot of some description. From Dundas Square to the Ossington Strip, King West to Leslieville, things seem to be forever percolating.

But the city of Toronto wanted to systematize it, and in the process perhaps expand our notion of what, and more importantly where, a cultural hotspot could be.

So, on the recommendation of the city's Creative Capital Gains report, community cultural co-ordinator Andrea Raymond-Wong and others are establishing what she is calling "a rotating cultural hotspot in the city of Toronto," enabling the city and its citizens to focus on art, culture, and community.

The first of them is in South Scarborough.

"In part, it's about celebrating and marketing some of the things that are already happening," Raymond-Wong says. "There's already a wealth of creativity happening in Scarborough. There's a philharmonic orchestra, and you've got a lot of local businesses, it's a neighbourhood of strip malls, a lot of independent businesses, and there are a lot of green spaces."

Note the mention of strip malls as a positive. This bodes well for the program.

Launched May 2, the program has a budget of about $150,000 for each hotspot, in addition to what Raymond-Wong refers to as $200,000 worth of leverage from partners and sponsors.

In Scarborough, the initiative includes the creation of two gateway murals by Mural Roots, art in storefronts in the Crossroads-Danforth BIA by Kalpna Patel, a writing program for seniors that will result in a published anthology of their work and the Next Project, which aims through talks, workshops and other programs to foster the talent of the next generation of Scarborough artists.

The program runs until October, at which point Raymond-Wong says it will rotate to somewhere in Etobicoke.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Andrea Raymond-Wong
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