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Toronto's Sim Bhullar becomes first NBA draft of Indian descent

Earlier this month, Toronto's Sim Bhullar became the first NBA player of Indian descent when he was signed for a ten-day contract with the Sacramento Kings. The history-making moment might overshadow Bhullar's chops on the court, but as NBA India writer Karan Madhok noted: “Bhullar's most important mission at first is to make the most of the present moment, to make the most for himself as a lover of basketball, adn for the diaspora of basketball-loving Indians worldwide who'll proudly celebrate every moment with him.”


Read the full article here.
Source: The Diplomat.  

Parapan Am Games set to "leave a legacy"

Chefs de Mission from 27 National Paralympic Committees were in Toronto last week for a final meeting in anticipation of August's Parapan Am Games. As the event's Chief Executive Officer of TO2015, Saäd Rafi, told the German-based International Paralympic Committee, the games are poised to "leave a legacy in the Americas." 

The Toronto-hosted Games are set to be history-making, thanks to a few key additions. Among these: a National Paralympic Committee support grant developed to help cover travel costs to and from the Games, and a Parapan American Development Programme to build capacity in sport management, coaching, and developing the capacity of physically and visually impaired  athletes. 

“We continue to be impressed by the preparations for the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games and the efforts by Canada to create a real legacy from these Games that benefits the entire region of the Americas,” said American Paralympic Committee President Jose Luis Campo.

Among the 15 sports included in the Games will be archery, judo, powerlifiting, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and sitting volleyball.


Source: International Paralympic Committee

How Thorncliffe Park's Tandoor oven changed the neighbourhood

It's been a year since the Thorncliffe Park Women's Committee's dream of opening the first tandoor oven in a public park was realized, and the impact is now being seen. 

Sabina Ali moved to the neighbourhoodo in 2008 and she quickly became involved in the community, rallying other mothers and founding the TPWC. "It was the most neglected park, I think, in the city of Toronto," she told CityLab. "I couldn't believe that I was in North America."

But the park isn't like that anymore. Located at R.V. Burgess Park, the oven has created a myriad of positive changes for the neighbourhood and the park itself has been given a new life. It has a playground again, a basketball court, a community garden and a splash pad thanks in no small part to the group's lobbying of city officials to improve the park.

Ali's activism impressed CityLab, who revered her accomplishments. 

"The success of Ali and TPWC shows what a few grassroots activists can accomplish in a relatively short time—especially when they have the patience to do the no-fun work like applying for permits, one of Ali's specialties. It also reveals the organizing power of mothers in a neighborhood that's full of young families," the publication writes.  

Read the full story here
Original source: CityLab

Aga Khan Museum opens this Thursday

The Aga Khan Museum is set to open to the public this Thursday and already international press is taking note. 

"Almost 20 years in the making, the Toronto site is the work of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture which, like a mini Unesco, runs an impressive programme of historic conservation of Islamic architecture around the world and a respected triennial architecture award. The 10,000-square-metre building is the new home for the Aga Khan’s spectacular hoard of Islamic art, more than 1,000 artefacts spanning three continents over 10 centuries, and is the first museum in North America dedicated to the subject," writes the Guardian

The Guardian offers a review and history of the Aga Khan Museum and the neighbouring Ismaili Centre. Both were unveiled last week. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and 77-year-old spiritual leader Aga Khan attended.

The account is quite descriptive.

"The museum is a monolithic shed, its canted walls giving it the look of a gigantic packing box that has been flipped open, with sharply chiselled skylights sliced into its crisp limestone skin. Across a vast pond-studded courtyard, the Ismaili Centre is a cluster of low-slung sandstone buildings, from which emerges a translucent pyramidal roof, ramping up at an angle as if pointing towards the stars. Together, they form an enigmatic complex that has the look of a cosmic observatory, or some mysterious lunar fortress." 

Read the full story here.
Original Source: The Guardian

Watch: Paralympic video debuts one year ahead of Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

In one year, Toronto and the surrounding region will become home to the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and to celebrate the Canadian Paralympic Committee has released a moving video showing three Canadian medal hopefuls practicing for the games.

Featuring 17-year-old swimmer Danielle Kisser, bronze medal winner of the 100 metres breaststoke at the 2011 Games; cyclist Jaye Milley; and wheelchair basketball player David Eng, who was part of the gold medal team at the 2012 London Paralympics; the video harnesses the power of training, hope and passion and turns it into fuel for the forthcoming games. 

Entitled, “Are You Ready?”, the slickly edited video focuses on Parapan athletes as the Toronto Games will feature qualification positions for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. 

"I am hugely confident that Toronto will deliver the best ever Parapan American Games in one year's time," Americas Paralympic Committee (APC) President Jose Luis Campo is quoted as saying. 

"Two years ago, I witnessed how successful the London 2012 Paralympic Games were in Great Britain,” he continues. “I really believe that the Parapan American Games can have a similar impact in Canada in terms of raising the profile of Para-sport and changing perceptions of people with an impairment."

The Pan Am and Parapan Am Games will kick off on August 7, 2015 and will feature 1,600 atheletes from 28 countries and territories. 

Watch the video below.



Read the full story here
Original Source: Inside the Games

Why Toronto is a great city to watch the World Cup

Toronto, with its diverse neighbourhoods and large population of immigrants (we've got roughly 2.6 million foreign-born inhabitants), makes it an ideal place to watch the World Cup, says an article that appeared on cbc.ca. 

“In Toronto you can see an articulation of world events at street level,” says Shawn Micallef, former Yonge Street managing editor and author of the book Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto, in the article. 

"Toronto allows residents to understand and participate in events that transcend their own neighbourhoods— whether it's one of the many city-hosted cultural festivals, or more politically motivated events such as protests at area consulates," the article continues. 

With our Little Italy, Little Portugal, and various other neighbourhoods, Toronto truly is a hub of diverse culture that comes alive during the World Cup. 

Micallef recounts his many experiences during the World Cup finals over the years, and as a neighbourhood enthusiast has amassed one very strong piece of advice, especially if you don't tie yourself down too tight to one country:

“Walk around, find a random bar in the neighbourhood. You can always sit with the home team and, if they win, you get to share in the celebrations,” he says in the article. 

Read the full story here
Original source: CBC

Toronto ranks best place for women in Ontario, sixth overall in Canada

A new report recognizes Toronto as the best city to be a woman in Ontario, and the sixth in Canada overall.

The report, entitled the Best and Worst Places to Be A Woman in Canada, was issued by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and provides an Index of Gender Equality in Canada’s Twenty Largest Metropolitan Areas. It takes "a closer look at how women are faring in their communities," the report says, focusing on the gap between men and women. 

Toronto's positioning as sixth overall shines both a positive and negative light on the discrepancies between women and men in Ontario's largest metropolitan area. 

Where we shine the brightest is in the realm of education. Both women and men were found equally likely to hold high school or university degrees. When it comes to the trades and apprenticeships, however, men outnumbered women two to one. 

When it comes to employment, our employment rates were consistent with national averages, at 66 per cent for men and 58 per cent for women. However, women's access to full-time employment was significantly lower than men's, and 44 per cent versus 58 per cent respectively. The report indicates that the wage gap is smaller than average, but still it women were found to earn 77 cents on the male dollar. 

And when it comes to women in leadership, there's nothing we didn't already know. Men outnumbered women, with three out of four positions held by men. We fare slightly better in municipal politics, with women representing one in three elected city councillors.  

Some good news for the city: Torontonians were found to have higher than average life expectancies regardless of sex, and men and women were equally likely to perceive their health as good or excellent. 

Read the full report here
Original Source: Policy Alternatives

Toronto "the Great White North's gay mecca"

As Toronto prepares for World Pride, taking place across the city from June 20-29, international media is beginning to turn attention to the details that make the city such a valuable and appropriate host.
 
"What’s true of Toronto as a whole is doubly so when it comes to the city’s vibrant gay community. This nexus of queer Canadian culture and history is the place to be, not only for the hometown gays but for the millions of visitors who flock here annually," says a new article that appeared in New Now Next, a New York-based gay pop culture and entertainment blog. 
 
The article names nine things that contribute to the city's liveliness. Among them: the Village, an obvious choice. "The streets are lined with an assortment of gay-owned-and-operated restaurants, stores and bars like Woody’s, Sky Yard at the Drake, Pegasus and Zipperz/Cellblock," the article says.

It also celebrates West Queen West, including shopping along the strip and hanging out in the Gladstone and Drake hotels, appropriate considering the area's branding as "Queer Street West" and its plan to be a social hub during World Pride. 
 
But perhaps most enticing about Toronto's gay community is the support offered by services such as the 519 Church Street Community Centre, the article says. 
 
"The 519 Church Street Community Centre is the beating heart of the Village. With dozens of programs aimed at the complete extent of LGBT life– meet-ups for teens, seniors and everyone in between, queer parenting resources, 12-step programs, support groups, various arts and entertainment options– there’s something for everyone at the center. They even run the Fabernak, a full-scale restaurant that also serves as a training ground for employees (queer and otherwise) to gain both work experience and on-the-job training. If only every city had a 519 Center!"
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: New Now Next 
 

City changes how it identifies priority neighbourhoods

The City of Toronto announced on Monday it is implementing a new system for determining the "equity score" of the city's 140 listed neighbourhoods. No longer will neighbourhoods with low scores be called "priority neighbourhood areas," but rather under the new system it is reframed as "neighbourhood improvement areas."
 
The new system grades neighbourhoods on 15 indicators that include health, economics, political participation, and education, the Toronto Star reports. A benchmark score has been set at 42.89. Neighbourhoods falling below the line will be designated as improvement areas. It includes aspects that were not considered before, such as socioeconomic issues. 
 
"(The new version) allows us to identify and measure how people are doing in our neighbourhoods … then we can go back, year after year, to track progress," Chris Brillinger, Toronto’s executive director of social development, finance and administration, says in the article. 
 
Under the new system, several neighbourhoods previously deemed priority neighbourhoods lost that designation, while others are now considered neighbourhood improvement areas. This means those previous priority neighbourhoods will no longer have access to funding. About $12 million in capital funding has been allocated for these improvement areas, which is on par with funding priority neighbourhoods received eight years ago, but the Toronto Star reports the actual total will be much higher. 
 
Neighbourhoods such as Thorncliffe Park are now considered neighbourhood improvement areas. "The earlier criteria failed to recognize some of the genuine challenges that a community like Thorncliffe faces,” says local councillor John Parker in the article.
 
"Instead of single-parent homes, in Thorncliffe, 'many families are crowded together in dwelling units,' Parker said. 'The new approach tries to address that reality and measure exactly what’s happening on the ground,'" the Toronoto Star reported. 
 
St. Michaels Hospital's Centre for Research on Inner City Health spent the last year developing the 15 indicators for which the listed neighbourhoods are ranked.
 
For more information, read the full story here
Original Source: Toronto Star

New York Times explores our 'Ethnic Buffet'

"…The truth is that what I really like to do in Toronto — besides walking around and exploring — is to eat," writes Francine Prose in the New York Times
 
The travel section ran a lengthy and thorough piece last week discussing our city's vast array of multicultural food offerings and neighbourhoods, comparing it at times to that of New York and noting, at others, that the food is in and of itself enough of an attraction to warrant multiple trips to the city. Beyond this, the article notes that the food in Toronto echoes that of our diversity and heritage. 
 
"One paradox of Toronto is that even as the city enables new arrivals to assimilate into Canadian life — people talk about how a certain neighborhood was originally home to immigrants from one area, who then moved on to a more prosperous district, making room for the next wave of people from somewhere else — its ethnic neighborhoods are strongly evocative of their residents' countries of origin, and the shops (and most notably the restaurants) seem more authentic than they do in other cities to which immigrants have imported their culture and their cuisine," Prose writes. 
 
It explores Kensington and our many Chinatowns, Little Portugal to Koreatown, and points out emerging food hubs in the surrounding area. 
 
"Had I eaten in Little Iran, up in North York, or visited Mississauga, the near-suburb that has become home for a huge variety of Toronto's ethnic groups, and where the food — people kept telling me — was even better than it is nearer downtown? Had I been to Markham, where there was a newer Chinatown, and an Indian neighborhood that outdid the Bazaar?"
 
To which the reporter says, "I'll simply have to do all that, the next time I return."
 
Read the full article here
Original Source: The New York Times

Highlights from TEDxToronto

The fifth annual TEDxToronto conference took place October 26 at the Royal Conservatory of Music. It's one of the largest independently organized TEDx events in the world and, according to a highlight report that ran in BlogTO, approximately 1,000 hand-chosen delegates attended. 
 
Among the highlights listed, a flash mob ukulele performance by the Ukulele Gangsters, which took place at the beginning of the conference.
 
Highlights that would be of particular interest to Yonge Street readers included Darrell Bricker, the former Director of Research for the Prime Ministers office. "Bricker has always tried to use numbers to tell the story behind the scenes. He spoke at length about the manner in which power is shifting from the 416 to the 905, which is redefining both our city and the GTA as a whole," BlogTO wrote. "Another key subject he discussed was the shrinking Canadian birth rate, which is going to make it extremely tough to support the aging population."
 
Also, Joel MacCharles, who has "been helping to foster the farmer's market movement in Toronto. By teaching people the benefits of preserving food and eating locally, Joel has altered kitchens around Toronto with some of his 1,700 articles on food-related topics," the article says. 
 
Also Steve Mann, considered the "father of wearable computers" for his Google Glass-like inventions dating back to the 1970s. "Mann is a believer in wearing personal cameras to ensure his own safety in what he calls sousveillance," BlogTO summarizes. "Mann combined his discussion on safety with the shooting of Sammy Yatim, stating that videos taken by people outside the streetcar were a strong factor leading to the officer being charged. He also believes everyone should be able to record their entire life, because if buildings and businesses are allowed to record us at all times, why aren't we allowed to record them in return?"
 
Not mentioned in the highlight reel was Gabrielle Scrimshaw's talk about how now, more than ever, is the time to pay attention to Aboriginal issues as more than half the Aboriginal population is under 25 and gearing up to enter the workforce. Background on Scrimshaw and her work can be found in this feature Yonge Street ran in Decemebr of last year.
 
The talks will be made available in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the introductory video explaining Toronto's history is a must watch.
 
 
Read the full story here
Source: BlogTO

Chance encounter in Toronto changes man's life, inspires him to help others

A man who got his start in entrepreneurship here in Toronto is speaking out about the very incident that changed his life. 
 
"It was a chance remark by a stranger in Toronto" that inspired Baljit Singh Sandhu to move back to India and start his own business, Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services Limited (WWICS), says an article that ran in the Business Standard.
 
Sandhu had been living in Toronto and working as a land surveyor with Canadian companies after moving here from India. He lived in Canada for 10 years and throughout this time kept meeting people in his neighbourhood who were from all over the world, but were living here as illegal migrants. 
 
"It was due to sheer ignorance on the part of these educated people and silly mistakes in their applications that they were treated as illegal migrants," Sandhu says in the article. He started advocating on their behalf through Canada's special courts for refugees and the court noticed. "One day, an officer asked me why I didn't help the foreign arrivals before they landed in Canada as illegal migrants, instead of wasting the court's time and energy after they arrived," he says. 
 
"It was this remark that was to change the course of my life. I returned to India in September 1998 and set up WWICS in October that year."
 
WWICS conducts seminars to "disseminate information" about jobs, resettlement options, and the "benefits of complete and accurate documentation in migration," the article says, working with aspirants to choose locations that match their skills. The company now has 40 locations throughout India and around the world, including here in Toronto. The article reports that WWICS has helped 100,000 families migrate in its 15 years of operation. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: Business Standard

First immigrants under Federal Skilled Trades Program welcomed

On Friday, Canada welcomed the first permanent residents to stem from its new Federal Skilled Trades Program. The program is "designed do attract and retain skilled workers," Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says in an article that ran on South Asia Mail.
 
Of the new residents is Eric Byrne, originally from Ireland. He received his Ontario trades certificate of qualification last May and "currently works as a plumber for University Plumbing and Heating. He first arrived in Canada through the International Experience Canada program, which provides opportunities for international youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Canada," the article says.
 
"Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming," says Byrne in the article. "I am very pleased that I qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Program as it recognizes the value of my skill set and has allowed me to stay in Canada and integrate seamlessly into my new status as a permanent resident."
 
The welcoming ceremony was held on August 16. The program was launched in January 2013. So far, successful applicants have come from India, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany and various others. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: South Asia Mail 

Ryerson, UoT, York to tour India's higher education

Representatives from nine Canadian universities including Ryerson University, York University, and the University of Toronto will spend this week touring India and speaking with students about Canada's role in higher education. 
 
The tour is in part designed to teach Indian students about opportunities in Canada, and to encourage them to pursue higher education over here. Specifically, representatives are keen on attracting the attention of students with high academic standing.
 
"India is a key undergraduate student market for Canadian universities," says Robert Finlayson of Carleton University and tour director, in the article. "Indian students are sought for their academic strength and their rich contribution to student life on Canadian university campuses. Each year we are seeing more Indian students choosing Canada as their first choice for study - as evidenced by the success of this tour. Indian students are drawn to our universities' common attributes of international reputation for academic excellence, state of the art resources, and safe campuses in welcoming locations."
 
The University of British Columbia, Carleton, Concordia, Guelph, McGill, and Queens also participated. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: Deccan Chronicle 

Upcoming runway show to challenge black fashion stereotypes

Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week may have just ended, but insiders' sights are already set on the upcoming Fashion Art Toronto(FAT), an alternative fashion and art week that runs from April 23-27.
 
It is there Ryerson fashion professor Henry Navarro will debut his "Grey Cincinnati" collection to challenge stereotypes against black fashion's role in high fashion. As reported in the National Post, much of black fashion was previously considered "urban wear," but African-American designers such as Eki Orleans, Ozwald Boateng and Vlisco have transcended stereotypes to becomes standouts on the runway. The models will wear grey "futuristic" garments to symbolize "how beautifully humanity can prosper when not partitioned by colour."
 
"Toronto is a very diverse city, and I am under the impression that people will think that they are not racist because of that," Navarro told the Post. “But I would like to challenge those notions and at the same time expose people to a different perspective or a different way of dealing with race."
 
The collection will move on to the inaugural Black Fashion Week taking place in Montreal from May 15-17. Adama Ndiaye, founder of Adama Paris Fashion Events and organizer of the Black Fashion Week in Paris, decided to "spread her vision of revealing 'the cultural richness of the black diaspora'" by bringing the festival to Montreal. 
 
It will feature creations by 15 prominent international African designers, including Canada's own Joseph Helmer. It is hoped that Black Fashion Week will provide exposure to an underrepresented and under supported segment of high fashion. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: National Post
 
47 Diversity Articles | Page: | Show All
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