Mosque Candlelight Vigil
Friday, February 3, 2017
Danforth-Donlands – Pocket Community: Candlelight Vigil Friday night at the Mosque.
About 2,000 people, including Pocket neighbours and others from the east end and other parts of the city, joined the vigil and candlelight walk at the Mosque on February 3rd. What a touching show of support for the family members of those whose lives ended so tragically in Quebec City and a strong message about solidarity with the Mosque among Muslim and non-Muslim neighbours. Photos will be posted to the PCA website and Facebook page.
Pocket community invited to attend three events at the new First Nations School (formerly Eastern Collegiate)
January 25, 2017
There are three upcoming events at the new First Nations School now located at the former Eastern Collegiate. School Principal Jonathan Kakegamic warmly invites community members to attend these events.
Saturday, January 28th – Round Dance social gathering
Thursday, February 2nd – Open House providing information about the school to parents, potential students, and the community.
*Postponed – Thursday, February 16th – Community Potluck. The Pocket community and other neighbourhood partners plan to collaborate with the School to hold a community potluck.
*The Potluck dinner with Toronto First Nations School and the PCA has been postponed until Spring 2017 due to other school priorities and ongoing construction. We’ll keep you posted!
City Council Motion on TTC Greenspace
December 13, 2016
FYI…Councillor Paula Fletcher is presenting the following motion for City Council’s consideration on Tuesday, December 13th:
City Council, upon the City lands located along the westerly edge of the buffer area located to the west of the TTC Greenwood yards (the lands currently leased to the Pocket Community Association – the “subject lands”) coming into the Operational Management of Parks, Forest and Recreation; and upon the Pocket Community Association releasing the Agreement with the TTC related to the subject lands, approve the regularization of the long-standing use of the southern portion of the subject lands as a dog off-leash area and grandparent the southern portion of the subject lands, in current condition, as an existing non-conforming dog off-leash area; and exclude it from use by commercial dog walkers.
As background, in 2014, the Pocket Community Association signed an agreement with the Toronto Transit Commission to maintain the western portion of the greenspace around the Greenwood Subway Yard (also called the PCA portion of Oakvale Green). The agreement was the culmination of many years of struggle and negotiation to stop the space from being sold or taken over to expand the subway yards.
The PCA’s mandate is to protect the space on behalf of the community – to preserve the lands as a buffer between the community and the subway yards, keep it green, and ensure it is available for community use. Putting the greenspace under control of Parks instead of the TTC is as good a way, or better, of meeting this objective. As such, the PCA is prepared to relinquish its agreement with the TTC if the lands are taken over by Parks. The PCA has not taken a position for or against off-leash dogs.
A group of residents has prepared a petition supporting the motion’s off-leash dog usage. You can read the petition at Survey Monkey If you have questions about the motion, you can contact Councillor Fletcher’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be sure to communicate City Council’s decision after December 13th.
The TTC Pocket Greenspace
November 18, 2016
There’s a lot going on, so we thought we’d update you on all the activity! Please scroll down to see what’s happening in the neighbourhood.
Upcoming Events and Activities:
– Second Exit at Donlands Subway Station – open house to showcase the proposed exit takes place on Tuesday, November 29th at St. David’s Anglican Church from 6:30 to 8:30.
Click here to read the Meeting Notice
– Repair work at Queen Victoria entrance to Oakvale Green Space – the TTC is beginning to repair the fence, including installation of an L-shaped entranceway. This improvement is the result of work by the PCA’s TTC Committee.
– Traffic safety in the neighbourhood – the City has made the bike lanes on Jones more visible, begun painting more noticeable lines on pavement at intersections where cars are to stop, started observing car behaviour at stop signs to make sure the signs are placed appropriately, and ordered “No Entrance to Greenwood” signs to put up at streets bordering Jones Avenue. These improvements are the result of work by the PCA’s Safety Committee.
– Santa’s Frozen Festival – Saturday, December 3rd from 1 to 3 pm at Phin Park. Bring your kids, see what local artisans are selling, and buy your Pocket Toque – a great holiday gift! Brought to you by the PCA’s Events Committee.
– Road mural at Condor and Baird – painted by the neighbourhood at the Pocket Party in September 2016. Thanks Gemma and Rebecca!
– St. John’s Ambulance first aid training – a couple of weeks ago, 14 of your neighbours learned how to use a defibrillator and administer first aid. The training was organized by the PCA’s Neighbourhood Support Committee and subsidized by the PCA. A next step is to determine whether getting a defibrillator for the community would be helpful.
– Repair work and upgrades at Shudell entrance to Oakvale Green Space – pathway has been improved and made more level. Another outcome of work of the PCA’s TTC Committee.
St. John’s First Aid Training
Mural by day
Mural at night
TTC Notice – Work at Shudell Avenue
October 8, 2016
Notice from TTC about work at Shudell Avenue, planned to begin on October 12th
The work is expected to improve the entrance to the TTC greenspace by eliminating erosion onto the sidewalk. The entrance will be shifted to the south sidewalk.
To see the Notice for more information, please click here.
Off-leash Dogs and the TTC Oakvale Green Space
February 23, 2016
Hello neighbours – Please note that City of Toronto by-laws about off-leash dogs also apply to the TTC Oakvale Green space (among other public spaces in the City).
The by-laws are cited in the PCA’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the TTC and the Pocket Community Association (PCA) regarding the TTC Oakvale Green space. The MOU indicates the greenspace is not a dog leash-free area (section 1).
There was a recent complaint to the TTC about dogs running off leash in the TTC Oakvale Green space, and it is possible the TTC or the City will begin to actively enforce the by-laws that require all dogs to be on leash in the area.
When the PCA heard about the complaint, we asked one of the executive members to advise people through the Pocket community Facebook of the possibility the TTC would begin enforcing the by-laws.
Through Facebook discussion about the issue, it became clear there is some confusion about the by-laws and the PCA’s role in the application of the by-laws in the greenspace.
The City by-laws are clear – they do not permit off-leash dogs in the TTC Oakvale Green space. The MOU reiterates this. As such, the PCA has never been in a position to decide that the space is an off-leash area. At the same time, the PCA does not police the space or enforce the by-laws. If the TTC or the City choose to enforce the by-laws, they are able to do so.
Ever since Oakvale Green was established in the 1990s, it was an area that required dogs to be on-leash, as indicated on the TTC signage. This situation was not affected by the MOU. Designated “off leash” areas for dogs can only be established through specific by-laws or in Toronto City Parks. Oakvale Geen is owned by the City of Toronto for the TTC to use and it is not regulated as a City Park.
This information has been communicated to residents and greenspace users on several occasions. It was part of a summary of the MOU posted on the PCA website early in 2014. At a subsequent PCA Town Hall on May 14, 2014, the information was verbally communicated to the approximately 35 participants. In June 2015, a flyer was posted in the greenspace and other parts of the community indicating that the rules regarding dog handling were unchanged: Oakvale Green had been a dog-on-leash area since it was created, and the TTC was clear that the restriction would not change, so the situation was “status quo”.
Further, whether or not the MOU contains the clause, the by-laws requiring dogs to be on leash prevail.
Finally, to be clear, the MOU between the TTC and the PCA covers only part of the greenspace – the portion that runs from Shudell up to the east-west fence bordering the fire station. Its eastern boundary is the green fence separating the TTC yard from the greenspace, and the PCA boundary continues in an invisible line from the northern end of the green fence to the fire station fence (please see the attached map for more information). The greenspace to the east of that is subject to an MOU between the TTC and Oakvale Residents Association (OKRA). Both parts of the space are referred to as the Oakvale Green.
PCA’s Annual General Meeting 2016
February 21, 2016
We had a good turnout for a cold January night and some great butter tarts!
See the Annual General Meeting presentation of the PCA’s 2015 activities & accomplishments:
Report on the Mosque Open House
February 21, 2016
Pocket residents on a tour of the Mosque
A number of Pocket residents have asked about what happened at the Open House at the Mosque last Saturday 13 February 2016. Here is a short report. From my perspective the Open House was a complete success and a lot of relationships were established. This provides a platform for cooperative planning of activities in the future. The good will and friendliness in all directions was delightful and I didn’t experience anything that caused me any concern.
In preparation for the Open House, we held a number of planning meetings, which resulted in the Mosque circulating their flyer to homes north of the Danforth. Additionally, the PCA posted the invitation and flyer in the Pocket Page of Facebook, sent an e-blast to our 400 PCA members, posted the invitation and flyer in the PCA website, and stapled the flyer to Hydro poles and notice boards throughout the Pocket.
Susan McMurray served as greeter to the neighbourhood women and girls at the Sister Entrance and David Smith and Marc van Beusekom welcomed neighbours at the front door. IT WAS VERY COLD. Just ask them !!
The Call to Prayer over the public address system started at 12.45. Prayers began at 1 o’clock, lasting about 10 minutes. During prayers, all the visitors including the women and girls were watching from the balcony above the prayer area.
Then the Imams came upstairs and the proceedings started. A boy recited from memory verses from the Qur’an, and another sung a song about Muhammad’s arrival in Medina, both using the microphone so that people anywhere in the building could hear.
Using the microphone, Susan spoke on behalf of the PCA. She thanked the Organizing committee, said we were happy to help with publicity and commented on the PCA’s conviction about the importance of helping to increase understanding between the members of the Mosque and their neighbours, to promote communication and tolerance. Peter Tabuns, MPP was also at the head table and made a few remarks. Our federal MP Julie Dabrusin was in attendance and made a few comments.
It was Imam Shiraz who served as MC throughout the presentations. When he asked me, as one of the organizers of the Open House, to take the microphone, I thanked the Organizing Committee for not asking me to sing anything (ha ha), then thanked them for organizing the Open House, and thanked David Johnson and Ashraf of Wardrobe for Men for getting the planning for the Open House started.
Dr. Mahmood Chandia, an Imam from England gave a very interesting and spirited speech in which he recognized the tolerance and helpfulness that Canadians are demonstrating, with particular reference to helping the Syrian refugees. Following Dr. Chandia’s comments, another British Imam who has spent a lot of time with this congregation on the Danforth provided some additional commentary.
The food was excellent, and visitors were encouraged to take away booklets which described aspects of the Islamic religion. Then there was a question & answer session under the guidance of Imam Aslam (who has a delightful sense of humour) using the microphone downstairs in the prayer area. Susan reported that 35 women and girls from the neighbourhood were in attendance and David estimated that there were around 70 men from the community present.
The Imams announced that in the next 2 weeks, the plan is to open up the ceiling in the prayer area so that the inside of the dome will be visible from the prayer carpet. Then before long, the Organizing Committee plans to schedule another Open House, and from all their reports, they regarded this visit as being very successful.
Personally I plan to be at the next Open House and hope that lots of local Pocket residents will be able to join us. The main intention of the PCA cooperating with the Mosque is so that local residents will understand what happens there, will form relationships with members of the Mosque and the two communities will appreciate each others’ values and habits. This in turn will enable good relationships and opportunities to work together on projects of mutual interest and benefit.
Invitation to the Mosque Open House
February 13, 2016
The Pocket Community Association (PCA) is pleased to invite Pocket Residents to the Madina Masjid Mosque, 1015 Danforth Avenue, for an Open House on Saturday 13 February 2016. Doors open at 12.30 and the program will start at 12.45 sharp. Visitors can arrive after 12.45 but they will miss some of the proceedings. Visitors can observe a prayer session at 1 o’clock if they wish and we would request silence during prayers.
A representative of the PCA will make a few remarks and an Imam will provide a welcome message and handle questions, answers and discussion. A snack will be served. Women and girls are invited to use the Sister Entrance on the west side of the building. Shoes are to be removed at the door. Please bear in mind that the Mosque is our host for this Open House and local residents are guests. The purpose of the Open House is to promote understanding and cooperation between the Mosque and its neighbours.
If you have any questions about the event, please contact Don Smith (email@example.com) or PCA Chair Susan McMurray (firstname.lastname@example.org) with Mosque in the subject line.
All residents of the Pocket including children are welcome. Please send your RSVP message to Don Smith with Mosque in the Subject line and note the number of visitors you expect to bring. This will enable planning for snacks.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Improving the Walkability and Safety of our Streets
January 22, 2016
After holding community discussion and consultations, the PCA is asking the City of Toronto and Councillor Fletcher to proceed with traffic safety initiatives in the Pocket…
Click here for more information here